Welcome Host Families!

Welcome! Thank you for your interest in serving as a host family for one of our language exchanges. This program would not exist without the participation of the Albuquerque Academy community. Serving as a host family, will, without doubt, enrich your family in many ways. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for opening your home and your hearts to a student from another part of the world.

Host Family FAQ

List of 11 items.

  • How long are these student exchanges?

    These are generally between two and three weeks.
  • What are the dates of the exchanges?

    While we are able to pinpoint the semester in which exchanges will occur each year, the exact dates are usually harder to know in advance as groups attempt to find the best fares, and visa applications and school cultures may slow the process. We do our best to find out this information as early as possible.
  • How do you match prospective students with prospective families?

    All incoming students are asked to complete a “Student Profile Form” which includes general demographic information as well as specific answers to questions regarding their interests and hobbies. We do our best to find a good match between our exchange students and host families (matching ages, gender preferences, and any stated preferences.)
  • What are the responsibilities of a host family?

    Host families essentially incorporate the exchange student into their lives for the duration of the exchange.
    • Transportation: Host families will be responsible for transporting their exchange student to and from school every day. Usually, exchange students will be paired with an academic host during the school day, allowing the host student some flexibility in their involvement with the exchange student at school.
    • Meals: During the school week it is assumed that students will eat breakfast at home before coming to school. If your exchange student wants to eat breakfast at school, he/she must pay for it. For lunch, students eat in the dining hall with our students and do not need any money to do so. You will provide them dinner (with the exception of noted allergies, please do not feel you have to prepare anything different for your exchange students than what you would prepare for your own family. This is intended to be a full immersion, and being faced with unfamiliar foods is an integral and important part of the authentic experience).
    • Weekends: This is your time with your student. Do with it as you wish. What the students need is to spend time with your family. This is the “authentic” experience. If you feel like doing something special, that is great, but please do not feel pressured to do so. In the past, families have taken students on hikes in the foothills, rides on the Tram, ice skating, movies, walks along the Bosque or to the zoo. If you would like ideas, feel free to contact any of us and we can tell you what has worked – and what hasn’t.
  • How do we pick up our exchange student?

    Depending on the exchange, your student may arrive by bus or by plane. In the former case, the host family group will meet at the Academy North parking lot at a given time, ready to welcome the incoming group of exchange students. In the case of groups traveling by air, host families meet at the Albuquerque International Sunport to greet their students. Families typically come armed with welcome banners and balloons.
  • What happens on the first day of school for the exchange student?

    You will receive a packet of information and calendar of events for the duration of the exchange visit. Typically, you will be asked to guide your student to a meeting (usually in Administration Building #A!10 or the Elkins Room) at 8:00 a.m. on the first week day following the arrival of your group. Your own host student will then be free to go to class, while the exchange student will be paired with an academic host who will be there to help them during the school day. You will need to make clear arrangements with your exchange student regarding pick-up locations and times for after the school day.
  • What happens to our exchange student if our own child has an after-school activity (e.g. cross-country practice)?

    New Mexico State law does not allow us to include exchange students in collegiate sport activities. However, your exchange student can stay on campus and watch your student engage in their activities or go to the library until you are ready to take them home.
  • What about the school-sponsored trips for the exchange students during the school week?

    There will likely be one or more group trips for the exchange students during their stay. These may take place during the school day or after school. In general, these trips involve only the exchange students, and you will be given information about drop-off and pick-up times. The cost of any such planned outings will be covered by the school, such as the Rail Runner tickets. Exchange students should bring their own money for souvenirs, etc. You can help your exchange student by making sure that they bring appropriate clothing for these outings (warm clothing for sledding, for example) as well as providing them with water and snacks, if appropriate.
  • Will our exchange student have homework to do while our own child(ren) work on theirs?

    Homework loads may vary depending on the exchange student and the exchange itself. We are working to include specific student projects for the exchanges that would involve independent work. However, sometimes our exchange students have extra time during the school day to work on assignments, and they may therefore find themselves with less homework to do in the evenings. In the past families have encouraged their exchange students to watch television, read a book, play cards with younger family members, and write in a journal, etc., while their own children complete their homework. (Encourage your student to “disconnect in order to connect.” Try to help your student engage in all things “Albuquerque” rather than spend hours on a computer or phone connecting back home.)
  • What do we need to do at home to prepare to host an exchange student?

    If possible, you may want to empty a drawer or two and make closet space in the room where your exchange student will be sleeping. Also put out a towel and washcloth, etc. to help him/her feel at home. The students are typically very reluctant to ask about washing their clothes, so you may want to offer to do this/show them how to use your machine.
  • Any other useful tips?

    PASSPORTS: If your exchange student has their own passport with them (sometimes these are all kept by their chaperones), then ask to store it in a safe place for them during their stay.

    DRIVING: Licensed student drivers may transport exchange students to and from school and school activities. For all other events, and weekend activities during the day and evenings, exchange students may only be driven by host parents and guardians.

    CONTACT INFORMATION: Be sure to make a card (even laminated) for your exchange student, with all your contact numbers and information that he/she can have available at all times.

    MEDICAL ISSUES: If your student has a cold, cough or some minor illness, you can contact Academy’s nurse, at 858-8876 during school hours. In the evenings and/or weekends, take your exchange student to a nearby urgent care or emergency room. They all have medical insurance. Any charges you may have to cover will be reimbursed. You can give your exchange student over-the-counter medications just as you would your own children. Please note any allergies before doing this!

    MONEY: Ask your student how much money they are carrying and help advise them about what is reasonable etc. (We have had students who have brought large sums of cash with them in the past, and obviously you want to help them make good decisions about what to carry with them).

    PHONE TREE:  We will use the host family directory. Please make sure your information is correct.

    Finally, remember that your exchange student is likely to be pretty nervous. This group ranges in age from 12 to 19 years old. Most students have probably never traveled without their mom and dad, or other family members. It may take some work to get them to settle in. Don’t give up! And please call if you have any concerns.
Need to speak with someone?
Call or email Adda Tewolde, Coordinator, Global Languages Exchange (828-3272) or the Albuquerque Academy Parents' Association (AAPA) Language Exchange Chair Donna Hsu (238-0335).
Albuquerque Academy is a private, coeducational, college preparatory day school serving middle school and high school students in grades 6 through 12, located in Albuquerque, NM.


6400 Wyoming Blvd NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109-3899
ph: 505-828-3200