Homestay: the world in your home
Home Hospitality is a vital part of our longer-term exchange programs. Homestay hosts open their homes to our international current and emerging leaders for a home-stay ranging from one weekend to 5 weeks.
As a homestay host, you take on a special role as a cultural ambassador, and offer our international guests the opportunity to visit beyond offices and meetings and engage with Americans on a personal level. Homestay hosts provide a bed and most meals, but more importantly welcome your visitors as members of the family.
Dinner Hospitality: the world at your table
Nothing sets the table for mutual understanding quite like sharing a meal with international visitors. Hosting a dinner for current and emerging leaders participating in our international exchanges is an excellent way to exercise everyday diplomacy and be a positive representative of San Diego.
Whether it’s a summer barbecue in the park or a casual dinner with family and friends, these visits often lead to long-term friendships that offer a welcoming window for visitors while they’re in the U.S. and for hosts who travel abroad.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hosting
Assignments are often made based on host availability. SDDC will match you up based on your preferences and background information of our visitors.
An interpreter will be assigned to accompany the visitors if their language ability requires it.
We would love to hear about your home/dinner hosting experience. We welcome any thoughts and suggestions that would enhance future home hospitalities. We encourage you to share stories and photos that will inspire others to support SDDC. Please feel welcomed and encouraged to volunteer again. We are always thrilled to have you!
Overnight Home Hosting FAQ
Yes, this is recommended and can be discussed and arranged between the host and guests.
This depends upon the program. Some opportunities are for just a couple of nights, while others are month long or multi-week hosting opportunities.
Whatever works best for you and your family. We just ask that guests have access to the fridge and kitchen to make breakfast or pack lunch. Dinner plans and arrangements can be discussed with guests.
Yes, all of our international visitors have medical and accident insurance provided by the U.S. Department of State.
We ask that fellows have their own bedroom and bed. In some cases, if a home host takes two fellows of the same sex, they can share a room, but not a bed. However, this requires approval by SDDC.
In most cases, fellows do not have access to a car or the ability to drive while in San Diego. For short term stays, we typically ask home hosts to transport fellows. Fellows can also take public transportation or use a bicycle if one is available. For longer stays, fellows have a small stipend to cover the cost of public transportation to and from work.
SDDC is unable to compensate dinner and home hosts. However, we can provide a letter of donation to home hosts, for tax purposes.
This is generally not the issue. We will inform you if your guests have an allergy or are uncomfortable around pets. It is extremely important that you let us know if you have any pets so we can avoid any conflicts that may arise.
A background check is not required to host an adult visitor. However, background checks are mandatory for any youth hosting opportunity.
We will work with you and the visitor to try to solve any issues that may arise. If for some reason, you are not pleased with the hosting experience, we will work to find a new home host for your guest.
Dinner Hosting FAQ
We generally ask that hosts drive to meet their guests at their hotel. The dinner time is determined by the individual host, but we ask that dinner to begin after 5:30 pm. This allows the guests’ time to relax and recompose themselves after a full day of professional meetings or traveling.
We recommend our hosts provide in-home meals. Our international visitors come a long way to visit and experience a typical American home, going to a restaurant might detract from their experience.
The host has control in setting a limit but we suggest to plan for about two hours. Depending on how the conversation goes, it could be longer or shorter.
This is up to you. Depending on the program, we will suggest a number of guests for each host. We generally like to keep groups small to allow for deeper discussion. We will inform you ahead of time of how many guests you will be hosting so that you have plenty of time to prepare for visitors.
For dinner hosting, guests do not stay overnight. We typically request that hosts give their guests a ride back to their hotel after dinner.
It is up to you what you would like to cook but please keep the following suggestions in mind.
- Please do not prepare food from the country of your guest. They have come a long way to try something new.
- Depending on who your guests are there may be some dietary restrictions or foods to avoid due to religious practices.
- The world views about the concept of dinner and the amount of food that has to be eaten are very diverse, so do not be offended if your guest does not eat a lot of food.
- Also remember an American staple, for example corn, may be viewed in another country as strictly animal feed. Check in advance and just be conscious of the options you are providing.
- Your dinner should be casual and does not need to rival something prepared by Martha Stewart.
This is at your discretion. You are welcome to offer alcohol, but this is not required. Also, be mindful of different views about alcohol in different regions of the world and their comfort levels being around alcohol.
Sure! If you have some family, friends, or colleagues who speak the visitors’ language and/or have any experience in visitors’ culture, and/or have similar professional interests, the visitors often enjoy the opportunity to network and develop friendships.
Apply to be a host
If you're ready to make friends with amazing diplomats from around the world, fill out our hosting application below and we'll get back to you with the next steps.