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Hosting An Intern

About our Interns

Our interns play an important part of the immersion program at JSIS.  They are college students or recent graduates from Japan and Spanish speaking countries that assist our teachers in the classroom as models of language and culture.  Interns work with individual students and small groups who need additional support or more challenge with classroom content and language development.  They also provide additional opportunities for students to engage with native speakers o either language.

How can you support this program?

Become a Host Family!

Every year we need multiple families to host each intern.  Host families have an amazing opportunity to share their home and culture with the intern while also having a native Spanish or Japanese speaker living in their home sharing their language and culture.

Host families host interns for about 3 months at a time and provide room and board (a private bedroom, shared bathroom and meals). Families are not required to cover any additional expenses (interns receive a monthly stipend for expenses, lunch and transportation as well as bring their own money).  Host families also do their best to provide care, moral support and basic needs to an intern as if he or she were a member of the family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Our family has a private room, but we do not have a private bathroom.  Can we still host?

A:  Absolutely.  Our interns are guaranteed a private room, but not a private bathroom.  However, with small children and large families with a limited number of bathrooms working out a set of guidelines for bathroom usage may be necessary to keep the peace.

Q:  Our family is travelling the week before school starts, or during the school breaks.  Can we still host?

A:  Absolutely.  Please reach out to the intern host coordinator if a week or two will cause a barrier to host an intern for the semester. We have some families who will love to host the intern for a week or two. Also, the interns may have their own travel plans during winter break/spring break and may not be in town. 

Q:  Our family is planning to take a three week vacation this summer.  Can the intern stay in our home while we are gone?  Or do we have to take them with us on our vacation?

A:  The interns coming are all legal adults and based on the relationship that develops with the host family, a host family may determine they feel comfortable having the intern house sit. If a family does decide to do so, please notify the principal and ISECE representative Nobie Tarpey (contact information provided in emergency contact information).   If the host family does not feel comfortable with the intern house sitting, they need to let the intern coordinator know, and -with the help of the coordinator- find an alternative host family for those three weeks. Alternatively, the host family may invite an intern to join the family on a trip, but there is no obligation to pay for the intern’s travel expenses. 

Q:  Can we ask our intern to do house chores?

A:  Please consider your intern as a regular member of the household.  If the expectation is for all members of the household to conduct chores, then that expectation should apply to the intern as well.  However, it is important to communicate clearly what chores are to be done and when.  Don’t just assume that they will clean.  

Q:  Do we need to have a curfew?

A:  No.  Our interns are adults and therefore do not need to have a curfew.  However, in respect for the host family, interns are expected to communicate with their host family when they plan to come home late or stay overnight somewhere.  We ask that the interns always stay overnight at the host’s home during the week and only stay overnight somewhere other than their host’s home on the weekends. Also in respect for the host family we ask the interns to not invite any friends to stay over in the host’s home. They are also expected to communicate when they will not be home for dinner or arriving home after the dinner hour. 

Q:  Our family has special diet limitations (e.g. vegetarian).  How do we handle this situation?

A:  It is important that a prospective host family indicates special diet needs on the application form before becoming a host family.  We will work hard to place interns whose diet needs can best fit in with the host family’s dietary needs.  Communication around this issue is critical if the dietary needs don’t exactly match. However, with all host families we strongly recommend that allowing the intern to participate in setting menus, preparing meals and even aiding with the grocery shopping can help make the intern feel much more comfortable.  The change in menu for the family can provide another cultural experience for the family as well.  Some host families have found it helpful to even take their intern to Uwajimaya (a Japanese grocery store in the Seattle area) once in a while to allow them to purchase Japanese food items.

Q:  Can we allow the intern to use our family car or family bicycle?

A:  We do not recommend families do so.  However, if the intern does have an international or Washington driver’s license and the host family’s car insurance does cover the intern, a host family may allow the intern to use their car.  Bus passes are available in Seattle and therefore with proper planning interns should be able to travel to most destinations necessary during their stay via mass transit. If the host family offers the intern to borrow their bicycle; please ensure that you work with the intern on your expectations in case it is lost or stolen. We highly recommend that you work with school office and it might be easier for the school to provide a bicycle for the intern.

Q: Is the host family responsible for providing the intern a phone with an international calling plan and internet access?

A: The intern is responsible for their own internet and international phone access either with a personal cell phone or by purchasing a phone card.

Q:  When we go out to eat as a family, do we have to pay for the intern as well?

A:  If the intern eats out with the family, the family should pay for his/her meal. If the intern chooses to stay home the host family should have food available for the intern to eat.

Q:  When family plans a vacation or a trip, do we have to pay for the intern as well?

A:  If you are travelling, please ask the intern if they will like to join you for your trip. Please keep it as optional. The intern should pay for their flight and boarding. Families should let the intern know upfront about the cost of the trip. We recommend that you do this in writing so the intern has clear information. The family is still responsible for intern meals. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to reach the host coordinators or the teachers. If the intern chooses to stay home the host family should have food available for the intern to eat.

Q:  Can the intern babysit our children?

A:  The intern is not to be considered a live-in babysitter for families.  If an intern volunteers on their own or the host family agrees to pay the intern, then an intern may choose to babysit.

Q:  Our family goes to church regularly and also practices praying before meals.  Will this bother the intern and can we expect them to participate in our religious practices?

A:  An important part of a home stay experience is learning about a family’s practices and customs.  Host families should feel free to conduct their religious activities as they normally do.  If an intern expresses interest in participating and the activity is acceptable for a guest to take part, then allowing the intern to join in the religious activity is certainly ok.  On the other hand an intern should not feel obligated or required to participate.  

Q:  If the intern becomes sick can we give them over the counter medication?

A:  As a consenting adult the intern can chose to take over the counter medication if offered by the host family.  Prescription drugs should never be offered to interns unless they are specifically prescribed for the intern themselves.  Interns are required to carry their own health insurance and the host family has no obligation to cover medical expenses for an intern.  Furthermore, an intern should seek medical attention if a medical condition persists or worsens.  It is important to notify the principal and the ISECE representative Nobie Tarpey if an intern requires emergency medical attention.

Q:  We speak Japanese at home so would an intern even be interested in staying with our family?

A:  We accept a variety of interns with varying interests and English language abilities.  Sometimes interns prefer to be in a situation where the family mainly speaks English, but many times the intern greatly appreciates having a member of the family with whom they can effectively and freely express themselves in their native language.  Of course most of our interns look to increase their English language skills, so a family that communicates entirely in Japanese at home may need to assist the intern to find ways to practice their English skills as well.  

Q:  If the intern causes property damage in the host family’s home who is responsible for covering the repair expenses? 

A:  The intern is responsible for any property damage that they might cause in the host family’s home. The intern and family need to make an agreement on what the plan will be if the intern causes any property damage in the host family’s home. 

Q:  If the intern develops a serious problem emotionally, physically, financially or legally, what do we do?  

A:  If your intern seems to develop a serious problem emotionally, physically, financially or legally, please contact the interncoordinator@jsispta.org as soon as possible.  It is not the responsibility of the host family to solve the intern’s problems.

What previous families have said about hosting:

“Being a host is actually easier than it seems!”

“We loved learning more about the interns’ culture and home life in comparison to ours. We enjoyed sharing family meals with them, introducing them to our family life and friends and having them feel as part of our family. Hearing the kids speak to them in Japanese was also pretty amazing!”

“Having an intern was great.  We got to know her and the other interns/JSIS staff a little better.  Having her feel at home in our house and with our meals.  She was very clean, neat and respectful of our house and space.”

Interested in becoming a host family?

Apply Today!                                

View the  Host Family Application

Additional Questions: Contact our Intern Coordinators at interncoordinator@jsispta.org