International Student Host Family Info

In the fall of 2013, St. Vincent-St. Mary welcomed our first students from China. The program has benefitted our school in many ways. The students expose our STVM community to international perspectives and opportunities. Essential to the success of this endeavor is our host family program. The Chinese students live with STVM families throughout the school year. We would like to invite you and your family to participate in our exciting program!


  • Each hosting family receives one tuition waiver for the school year
  • A stipend of $1,000 per semester is provided to help with expenses
  • Host family orientation before the student arrives
  • Host family get-togethers to enable families to share experiences
  • Support staff at STVM to help with questions
  • Support services provided by Cambridge Institute including translation for contact with parents in China, permission slips (for travel, medical care)
  • Health insurance provided through HTH insurance company

Host Family Requirements

  • Complete a STVM host family application and then be interviewed by STVM personnel
  • Provide photos of your home and family to share with the student's family
  • Provide a separate bedroom for theinternational student
  • Once accepted, all members of the host family household who are 18 years old or older, must be fingerprinted at STVM (at no cost)
  • Sign a one-year host family contract (can be renewed)
  • Provide the international student with two hot meals on school days and three on weekends
  • Provide the international student with transportation to and from STVM and extracurricular activities
  • Complete an online report (every other month)
  • For more information, please contact: Tamula Drumm, Coordinator of the Chinese Student Program

Frequently Asked Questions

How are the Chinese students selected?

All students apply through the Cambridge Institute (our recruiting agency) and submit English test scores, transcripts, questionnaire, and recommendations. After the applications are reviewed by our STVM Chinese Program Coordinator and Director of Admissions, an interview is scheduled with the Chinese student to determine the student's level of English communication skills as well as suitability for the program. 

How long do the students plan to study at STVM?

The students plan to earn their high school diploma at STVM. They may enter as freshmen, sophomores, or juniors but all plan on completing their high school education here and then applying to U.S. universities. You are contracted to host for one year only but may apply to renew each year. 

Why do the students want to study in America?

All of the students enroll in U.S. high schools in order to graduate from an American high school and gain a competitive edge in applying to U.S. universities. 

How do the parents of Chinese students feel about sending their teenagers to America to attend high school? 

It is a huge leap of faith for Chinese parents to send their kids to American schools. At the same time, getting into a university in China is extremely competitive and dependent solely on test scores. This system does not suit all students in China so many of them hope to study in America to expand their interests and prepare for their future. The U.S. higher education system has the reputation of being the best in the world and a U.S. degree is highly portable. Parents believe that their students will have more opportunities in China and abroad if they earn a degree from the United States. 

How do we communicate with the parents in China if they do not speak any English?

The STVM program is run through Cambridge Institute of Education in Massachusetts. We have two representatives assigned to our school, one in China and one in the U.S. They help us with communication with Chinese parents by translating emails and the bi-monthly housing report. Often, the students themselves will arrange for host parents to meet Chinese parents via Skype or Facetime while they interpret between Chinese and English. On occasion, some Chinese parents have come to America during the school year for a brief visit with their student. 

May we host for one semester only?

Normally, the contract is signed for a full academic year but we can accept shorter term applications in case a student needs to be moved due to a change in the housing situation. The tuition waiver and stipend are then pro-rated. 

Is my own child required to study Chinese in order to participate in the program? 

No. Some STVM students decide to take Chinese after they have hosted for a year but it is not required. Of course, if your own child is studying Chinese, this is a wonderful chance for him or her to learn about Chinese language and culture outside the classroom. 

Will I have access to the Chinese student's grades to check academic progress? 

Yes. You will be given access through the STVM Parent Portal so that you can review the student's grades. The Program Coordinator also has access to the student's grades for advising and troubleshooting. Finally, Cambridge Institute also has access to the grades so that they can share with the parents in China.

Do the students have health insurance? 

Yes, health insurance is arranged by The Cambridge Institute through HTH Insurance Company. The coverage functions like major medical insurance and does not include dental work or eye exams. Any expenses not covered by HTH insurance are the responsibility of the Chinese student. The parents in China sign a document that gives the host parents and school administrators permission to act on their behalf when making decisions about medical treatment. The students are also required to have their immunizations in order prior to arriving in the U.S. 

Can the student take the school bus to school? 

It is possible for the Chinese student to take the local public school bus to STVM if your school district buses. You would contact the bus garage to arrange transportation for your own child and the Chinese student. Please know that all "first year" STVM Chinese students must attend an after school class from 3:00 – 4:00pm for the first year only, which would preclude their being able to take the school bus home. 

What happens to the student during breaks such as Christmas or Spring Break? 

Most of the Chinese students remain here during the school year and return to China for the summer. Some students go back to China for Christmas break and some students may go to other parts of the U.S. to visit friends and relatives during breaks. Plans should be submitted to Mrs. Drumm, STVM Chinese Program Coordinator, for approval. In addition, students wishing to travel during school break must have a signed permission slip from their parents. The Chinese student is responsible for paying for his/her expenses if traveling on vacation with the host family. 

Do I need to provide technology for the student? 

The students bring their own computers with them from China or they buy them here. Many of the students wait until they arrive in the U.S. to purchase laptops and cell phones. because of the high taxes imposed on foreign-made electronics in China. 

How does the student get their spending money? 

Some of the students arrive with Chinese credit or debit cards. During "first year" STVM Orientation Week for Chinese students, a manager from FirstMerit Bank will come to STVM to set up bank accounts for the students that include a debit card. Wire transfer information is then sent to the parents in China so that they can put money into the First Merit account.