frequently asked questions
Host Family FAQs
Twinn Palms Homestay is a housing management service dedicated to providing comprehensive services to students, host families, schools, and overseas partners. Twinn Palms provides Homestay Coordinators to closely work with our host families to ensure that our students have an enjoyable and safe experience while in the United States. Our coordinators also recruit, manage, and provide support to students, host families, and schools to ensure a rewarding and successful experience for all involved.
Twinn Palms prides itself in providing our students with host families from a variety of backgrounds. We prefer our host families to be flexible, open-minded, aged 26 or older, and represent the diversity of the United States. Our families are of varied: economic, religious, racial, and financial backgrounds. Our most successful hosts are ones who enjoy experiencing new things, meeting new people, and building relationships with their students.
Yes, a comprehensive background check is required by law for anyone 18 years of age or older who will be living within the same home as our students.
No, we do not require a credit or employment check for you or your family members.
Yes, a valid driver’s license or identification card and proof of auto insurance is required for everyone 18 years of age or older who will be living in the home.
Each student received an F-1 Student VISA. The school where the student is attending issues an I-20 Form (also known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status for Academic and Language Students). This form states what school they will be attending and how long their stay in the United States will be.
- Providing your host student with a safe, supportive, and loving home for the academic year (or for however long your student will be with you).
- Welcoming your host student as a member of the family and encouraging students to participate in all aspects of family life
- Providing your host student with his/her own private bedroom, a desk, dresser, closet, chair, adequate lighting, and a quiet place to study
- Providing your student with all meals (except school lunches when provided by the school)
- Providing transportation to and from school and all school-related activities
- Provide wireless internet connection
- English must be the primary language spoken in the home
- Encouraging the exchange of ideas and providing students with exposure to the cultural and social environment of your home and neighborhood
- Providing the love and understanding a young person needs to enjoy a successful academic and social year in the United States
Yes, all students have medical and accident insurance provided through Twinn Palms. Students and host families will receive an insurance card and a brochure detailing the policy coverage when they arrive in the United States.
Yes, your student will be required to provide English competency scores which may result in a status of: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced English speaker. Additionally, he/she will be taking ESL courses during his/her academic year.
Yes, you do not need to have an underage child in your home to be a host family.
Yes, you will be providing a list of all pets that are a part of your family in your host application.
Yes, students are expected to have their own spending money for personal expenses such as toiletries, clothing, non-school related activities, and entertainment.
- Three meals every day (excluding lunch during school days, if provided by the school).
- Snacks (including snacks that you allow them to buy from the Asian market).
- Dinner out with the family.
- Activities, if it is a family activity
- Toiletries (what you would normally buy for your family, anything outside of that is their responsibility)
- All fuel to get to and from activities and school. The student should not pay for rides.
- All costs related to laundry.
- Costs to pick up your student at the airport or to return them to the airport.
- Reasonable Christmas gift if the student stays for the holidays.
- All clothing needed/wanted but your student’s uniform
- Any school supplies you want above the required ones for school
- Any meals he/she eat out with his/her friends
- Any activities your student decides to participate in outside of family activities
- All travel expenses related to trips back home to China or any other traveling he/she does without you and your family
- Any special items that he/she wants outside of the normal things that you provide, especially if they are more expensive than what you would normally pay for
- His/her own cell phone, supplies, and phone charges
- Any extra reading or studying books he/she wants to buy outside from the required ones for class
- If you and your family take a vacation, your student is responsible for their part of the trip: plane, host, admission (like to Disneyland). If he/she doesn’t want to go with you, then other housing arrangements need to be made while you are gone.
You are primarily responsible for getting your student to and from school as well as activities. Your student may also take the bus or be driven to school by a family member or a friend with a valid driver’s license. Students who live close to the school may choose to walk or ride a bike the school.
No. Your student is not allowed to drive while he/she is in the United States. Twinn Palms does not guarantee any student that he/she will have the opportunity to get a driver’s license. Host families may not permit their student to drive their car for any reason.
Absolutely, your home is your special place, we want both your family and guests to be comfortable. Hosts who are open to accommodating both male and female students experience better occupancy rates. There are places on the application where you can list your specifications and your Homestay Coordinator will do his/her best to accommodate your requests.
We generally do not recommend more than two students of the same gender in your home at the same time. Both students must have their own private bedroom, access to a bathroom, and a quiet place to study.
Students will generally attend for a full academic school year, which is 10 months, August through May. However, some students elect to start in January for the spring semester. Most students go home during their 2-week Christmas break. All students return from their two month break during June and July.
First impressions are very important. We highly recommend that you spend time showing your student around your neighborhood. Some students might want to open a bank account and take care of a few basic shopping needs. Please make sure you spend time introducing your student to your home and explaining how the appliances work. We recommend providing tips to stay safe and you explain your family’s emergency procedures. The first week is an ideal time to take care of these items since the first few weeks they are in school can get pretty hectic.
Yes, all required guardianship documentation will already be on file with Twinn Palms and you will receive a copy for your records.
Normally our students go back home during the two week Christmas break and the two month summer break. However, your student may elect to stay during the Christmas break. At which point, we would request that you provide him/her with a reasonable Christmas gift.
Your Homestay Coordinator will be your contact throughout the duration of your student’s stay. Your Coordinator is required to submit monthly reports on every student he/she supervises. You will be working very closely with your Homestay Coordinator to conduct scheduled visits, discuss/resolve issues that may arise, and provide training as necessary to both you and your student
If for some reason you cannot reach your Homestay Coordinator, we invite you to contact your Regional Manager or the Twinn Palms National Office. The Twinn Palms office has a comprehensive support system in place who are available to assist you with any concerns. Furthermore, there is a 24/7 emergency hotline that will be provided to you upon your student’s arrival.
Our experience is that most issues that may arise are a result of miscommunication, unrealistic expectations, or cultural misunderstandings. The majority of the time these misunderstandings can be resolved with open communication and mediation between you, your student, and your Homestay Coordinator. If, after careful deliberation and mediation it is determined that the issues cannot be resolved, your Homestay Coordinator will place your students in another home within the same school district (whenever possible). A student may not change families without approval from their Homestay Coordinator, as any new host family must be fully screened and vetted in compliance with our program regulations.
All students are required to sign and abide by the Twinn Palms Code of Conduct to abide by all program rules. If a student is having trouble abiding by the rules or struggling academically, your Homestay Coordinator will step in, assess the situation, and make recommendations on how to rectify the behavioral or academic issues. Your Homestay Coordinator will contact his/her Regional Manager on a case by case situation if further disciplinary action; including a warning, probation, or more serious consequences, are necessary. Students are well informed of the disciplinary procedures prior to their arrival and are expected to abide by the program rules at all times.
Yes, you will be compensated for your time. A monthly stipend will be paid to each family for ten months: August/September through May/June. Your Homestay Coordinator will let you know the amount of your allotted stipend since it varies per region.
You will receive your monthly stipend on the 7th of each month via paper check or direct deposit, whichever you choose. The first and last month will be prorated as needed.
No, monthly stipends are considered non-employment income and Twinn Palms will issue a 1099 Miscellaneous Income Statement to all Twinn Palms host families at the end of each fiscal year. While we are not tax specialists, we recommend that you keep detailed records and receipts of all expenses associated with the care of your student so that your tax preparer can take advantage of any applicable deductions.
The first visit will be by your Homestay Coordinator during the application progress. The second visit will be by your Regional Manager a few months into your student’s stay in your home. The Regional Manager will ensure that your home environment remains the same as described in the host family interview conducted by your Homestay Coordinator.