Moraine Valley Community College || International Student Affairs || New Students || Frequently Asked Questions about Host Homes

Frequently Asked Questions about Host Homes

What is a host home?
A host home is the home of a local community member who has extra room in their home and would like to meet and house international students and learn about other cultures. They agree to help students with their adjustment to the community.Who are the hosts at Moraine Valley?
Hosts and host homes include a wide variety of people and housing situations. Hosts include single adults, retired adults, couples with grown children, and families with small children. Hosts are people who know about the international students at Moraine Valley, and have extra space in their home. They understand that new international students need help and support as they adjust to life in the U.S.

How does someone become a host?
Hosts apply to become a participant in our program, and are carefully selected. Hosts must go through our application and selection process, which includes recommendation letters and reference checks. The host home and student's room is visited by College staff as part of the application process. If selected, hosts participate in discussions with college staff about the program guidelines, information about the program, the school, the student's home country, and other information from the student's housing application. Hosts must express a sincere desire for friendships with international students.

How was my host home placement determined?
The college uses the housing application to learn about the interests, personality and preferences of the students. It is recommended that students provide us with good information about their interests. With sufficient time, placements are carefully made based on host/student preferences, common interests, location and availability. It is very important it is to let us know about your arrival plans as soon as you can. Students who apply early have more information about their hosts before they arrive. Late applicants may need to be placed in homes at a further distance from the college.

What special items should I bring with me if I live in a host home?
Your room in your host home will be furnished with a bed and dresser for your clothing. You will have your own closet as well. You need to bring only your personal items (clothing and personal care items). Towels, bed linens and other furnishing are all provided in the homes. Depending on the host home, sometimes the room may provide a desk, but the student's bedroom may be too small for other furniture. If you want your own desk or writing table in the room, you may need to buy it yourself.

How much does it cost?
A private room with a host family, with meals provided, is $600 a month ($375 room/$225 food). Students pay fees directly to their hosts. Within a week of your arrival, you must pay the first month's housing fees in addition to a security deposit equal to one month's rent. (See fee schedule for details).

What if I don't like my host, or they don't like me?
If both you and your host have made a sincere effort in making a good relationship and it still doesn't work out, either the host or the student can request a move. Depending on the number of other requests being processed, it can take 1-2 weeks to be referred to another home, unless there is an emergency. If you have any questions about your housing, see the housing coordinator. Usually no appointment is necessary.

Can I have my own phone?
This depends on your host's preferences, since adding an extra telephone line to the home involves making holes in walls or floors. Installing an extra telephone would be at the student's expense. We recommend you purchase telephone cards. Telephone cards can be easily purchased in many places, including the Moraine Valley Bookstore. Students are responsible for any long distance calls they make.

When can I learn where I will live and who my host is?
Host home information will be available after Moraine Valley's housing office receives your detailed arrival information (date, time and number of flight). The quality of your arrival and your satisfaction depends on how much notice we have to prepare. The more time we have, the better we can plan for a most satisfactory welcome for you. It's very important to let us know about your arrival plans as soon as you can. You will be met at the airport by a staff person and be taken directly.

How will I get to and from school?
You will take a bus (public transportation) or you may decide to buy a car. Most students take the bus to campus, usually a 10-20 minute ride. Round trip bus fare is about $3 per day or you can buy a monthly bus pass for $50. Both you and your host will receive detailed information about public transportation to and from the school. Your host will assist you with your transportation during the week of Orientation. Soon you will become confident in getting around on the buses.

What if I decide to get an apartment with my friends?
Moraine Valley's housing office provides current information about area apartment complexes. At the beginning of each semester, tours of local apartment complexes are offered to international students. You are able to view what's available and meet with rental agents.

We are sometimes able to pre-arrange apartments for students who wish to live in an apartment. For more information about the local apartment housing, contact the International Student Affairs office at (708) 974-5443.

If you wish to find an apartment on your own, and choose the location, currently one bedroom apartments in the area cost between $575 to $650 per month (2 occupants). two bedroom apartments run $700 to $800 (up to four occupants). Utilities, which means electricity, gas, and telephone, are usually not included. To learn more about apartments in the area, if you have Internet access, you can obtain apartment information at

Students usually find the Host Home Program an excellent way to get adjusted, and can spend the time needed to look for the best apartment for their needs.

What kind of food is prepared in host homes?
Most hosts prepare typical American foods, but enjoy learning about cooking from students. They are always interested in different ways to prepare foods. Should you choose the "Food provided" portion, food is available to you in the home. Most hosts do not cook three meals a day. Typically, food is available for your breakfast and lunch, and you'll share one meal a day, usually a dinner, when everyone is home.

What if I want to do my own cooking?
Some homes are available for students who want to buy and make their own food. For that option, your host will provide space for you to purchase and store your own food. This is called "kitchen privileges." There is no fee for using the host's appliances, pots/pans, and kitchen utensils. You will be expected to clean the kitchen after every use and insure the proper use and care of host's appliances.

How involved should I get in my host family?
This is a difficult question and that only you can answer. Some students welcome being included in host family activities while others prefer being independent. How involved you become is up to you. The personality and lifestyle of the host may be different than yours. It usually depends on the work life, the time available and the schedule of the host. Your interest, friendliness, and willingness to be involved is important to the host, even if there is not a lot of time for friendship activities.

How long do students stay in host homes?
If you develop a good relationship with your host and maintain your good student standing, you may want to stay with your host the entire time you study at Moraine Valley. Students must plan to begin their host home program placement with a commitment for one semester.

What else about the host home program is important?
The Host Home Program is an excellent choice for new students from abroad who wish to have the convenience of a home and the support from host assistance. Students who decide to participate in the program should have flexible expectations and understand that the relationship between the student and host can be a wonderful experience if both the student and the host make a special effort to learn, care and understand about each other's personalities and welfare. Students can learn about the U.S. from their host, and can help teach the host about their home country. We encourage you to bring items from home to share with your host home, and to teach them about your home country too. This will help you build a nice friendship in your new home.

For more information about your housing arrangements, contact:
International Student Housing Specialist
Office of International Student Affairs, Building S, S217
Moraine Valley Community College
Palos Hills, IL 60465
Fax: (708) 974-0561
Telephone: (708) 974-5756