How to Become an Overnight Host
Thank you for your interest in hosting visitors with WorldOregon! Hosting is one of the most rewarding and meaningful ways to support WorldOregon’s mission of “connecting Oregonians to the world”. Your hospitality and generosity mean so much to our visitors. We are excited to get you and your family set up to host! We welcome hosts of all backgrounds and all family compositions— we are proud to showcase the diversity of cultures and lifestyles in Oregon.
The majority of our youth exchange programs are sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with a national program sponsor organization. The goal is to provide leadership development and cultural exchange opportunities for future leaders from around the world, while building mutual understanding and friendship across cultures. Participants for youth exchange programs are selected by the U.S. embassy in their home country through a competitive application process based on their academic achievement, leadership potential, and commitment to serving their community. While they are in Oregon, youth will attend skill-building workshops, visit local organizations, meet with local peers, and develop a project of their own to take back to their home communities. All activities are focused around a central program “theme”. Examples of recent youth program themes include dialogue and reconciliation, civic engagement, social entrepreneurship, and multiculturalism. Another important goal of these programs is to learn about U.S. cultures and history— living with a host family is the most important contribution to this goal.
Occasionally, we also have opportunities for adult visitors to stay overnight with host families. These programs are similar in format to the youth exchange programs described above, and the same hosting expectations apply.
Participants will meet at our office (1207 SW Broadway, suite 300) each morning, and participate in program activities from about 9 am - 5 pm Monday through Friday. They will have most weekends and evenings free with host families.
Hosts are expected to:
- host the visitors for the duration of their time in the Portland area (rather than part of the time). Hosts may choose to welcome one or two visitors. If you choose to host two visitors, they will be of the same gender identity.
- incorporate the visitors as much as possible into their daily family life—for example by cooking and eating together, spending free time together, and sharing each other’s cultures.
- provide a separate room with an individual bed. If you choose to host two youth visitors, they can share a room, but must have separate beds.
- provide access to a bathroom (can be shared).
- assist with transportation, either by giving the visitor a ride to and from our office, orienting them to the transportation system, or riding with them on public transportation. (Note: different programs may have different transportation requirements, so be sure to note transportation availability on the host application.)
- offer a safe, hospitable, and welcoming environment.
- complete all of the steps below for becoming a host.
- attend a host orientation.
- follow all provided hosting guidelines. We will provide a complete list of hosting expectations when a staff member comes for the home visit, and review any additional hosting guidelines with you at the host orientation.
Steps to Becoming a Host
1. Complete the Youth Host Application
Please download and complete the Youth Host Application and return to Laura Lyons, Youth Leadership Coordinator, as soon as possible to begin the process of becoming a host. A typed signature is acceptable for both documents. You may return these documents by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to: WorldOregon, ℅ Laura Lyons, 1207 SW Broadway, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97202
2. Provide information for a criminal background check
We are currently required to conduct criminal background checks annually for anyone who is 18+ year of age who will be staying in the home while the youth exchange participant is staying in your home. Once we have received your application, we will send you instructions for how to submit your information for the background check through our online portal.
3. Schedule a Home Visit
When you return the Youth Host Application and Expectations Agreement, please provide a day of the week and a general time of day (morning, afternoon, or evening) when you and your family will be available for one of our staff to come by for a brief home visit. The purpose of the home visit is to meet all family members in person, to see the hosting environment, and to answer any additional questions you may have about the program and about hosting. We are currently required to conduct a home visit annually for all youth programs.
That's it! If you have any additional questions about the program, please get in touch with Laura at: email@example.com