FAQ Information Sheet

Korean Teacher Exchange Program Host FAQ Information Sheet As a new host, I am sure you have many questions about hosting foreign exchange guests for this program! We have tried to list answers to our most common questions about hosting for this exchange to help you get started! You will find answers about the program, the teachers’ backgrounds, host compensation, and more! For the purpose of this FAQ, we will refer to our guests as ‘teachers’ or ‘students.’ Please take a moment to review the answers below and contact us if you have more hosting questions: [email protected] or 404-­‐822-­‐0071. 1. GETTING STARTED… What is Homestay? • Homestay is an increasingly popular form of accommodation that connects guests with individual hosts who have open their homes to travelers. Homestay is different from other popular forms of accommodation because the hosts are present. Homestay is a cultural experience at heart where an international guest is completely immersed in the language and culture of a local community through a shared living experience with the homestay host. The key to a great homestay experience for both host and guest is finding the right person or family. Who is Mark’s Homestay? • Mark’s Homestay (MarksHomestay.com) is a standards-­‐based homestay and student services provider whose mission is to connect international students and visitors to life-­‐changing cultural experiences that challenge them to grow holistically as individuals. Mark’s Homestay was started in 2012 by Mark Leech, an international educator with over 10 years experience working with domestic and international college students. To read more about Mark & Mark’s Homestay, see our website: http://markshomestay.com/about_us.php Who is ITTI Foundation? • Mark’s Homestay has partnered with the International Teacher Training Institute (ITTI), an Atlanta based non-­‐profit teacher-­‐training institute for Korean teachers. ITTI is also an official foundation recognized by the Georgia Department of Education and its teacher-­‐training program is designed to promote a youth and teacher global mindset by providing intensive overseas experience. Learn more about ITTI here: http://www.ittiglobal.org/. Is this program officially associated with a local school, university, or government entity? • Yes. ITTI has partnered with the Georgia Department of Education, Kennesaw State University’s College of Continuing & Professional Education & local John’s Creek area schools in Fulton County for this exchange in order to provide a non-­‐credit, certificate teacher training program and practicum experience. The teachers for the first part of their exchange will participate in a practicum experience in local schools and later study full time in Kennesaw State University. Mark’s Homestay is not officially officiated with KSU or the Department of Education, but contracts directly with ITTI Foundation to provide the homestay services for their program. This is our third short-­‐term program working with ITTI. Mark’s Homestay also works closely with representatives from the College of Continuing & Professional Education to provide support for their exchange program with the ITTI Foundation. 1 Where are classes held and what time? • Teachers’ practicum experience will be between 8:00am-­‐3:00pm at the following local area schools: o Findley Oaks Elementary o Medlock Bridge Elementary o Autrey Mill Middle School o Hull Mills Middle Schoool
Who are the teachers for this exchange? • The Department of Education and their local Korean Government are sponsoring the teachers being hosted through ITTI. They are here to improve their ESL language & teaching skills as well as their knowledge of American Culture. • Age & Gender: We have a total of 17 teachers for both programs whose age and gender varies, the majority female: (16 females, 1 male). The students’ ages range from 25-­‐50 years old, with the majority over the 30 years of age. You will receive your hosting placement sometime between April 1-­‐12 with a full profile of the student once we have qualified all our hosts for the program and match students according to host-­‐student preferences. We encourage our host to be flexible to the gender and age of our students to help our matching process. We will inform hosts of any special dietary restrictions or medical conditions. Host-­‐Student matching isn’t a perfect process and we will try our best to match interests and lifestyle. Who sponsors the guests on student visas? • Guests on tourist or student visas typically are sponsored by one of the following entities: (1) self-­‐sponsorship (2) school, college, or university (3) home country government or (4) U.S. government. For this exchange, each student possesses a “B-­‐Visa,” often known as a tourist or business visa. In order to obtain a visa, they were required to interview with their local US Embassy. The US Department of State requires all visa holders to pass a rigorous security screening process in order to obtain a visa. To learn more student and tourist visas see travel.state.gov. When are the exchange program dates for the hosts? • Sunday, April 12th to Saturday, May 23. ITTI has requested homestay for the students during these dates. However, ITTI’s teachers will arrive to the USA on March 25, 2015 and if you are immediately available to host we will gladly start your homestay during this time and compensate our normal rate. Please contact Mark’s Homestay to inform us of your availability prior to April 12. We have set April 12 as the target date since the homestay services were requested recently. How will we pick up our students for check-­‐in on April 12? • Hosts will pick up their teachers at a central location to be determined by Mark’s Homestay. At this time we will provide welcome materials, a welcome gift, and brief homestay orientation for both students and hosts. We will send more details soon. • If you cannot pick up the student at the designated time due to special circumstances, Mark’s Homestay will assist with the students’ home arrival. Mark’s Homestay will provide you regular updates during the arrival day especially if a delay or early arrival is expected. • We strongly encourage one or both hosts are present for the student check-­‐in as this helps reduce fear of the student and provides an immediate connecting experience! • Host will receive a “Student Folder” with the student’s profile containing emergency contacts as well as other helpful information and ideas to connect with students. 2 2. HOST REPONSIBILITIES & REQUIREMENTS… Who Can Host? • We welcome a diversity of host! Singles, married, couples, retired, and more...we just want people with a heart who care about and are willing to help our students! For this exchange we are encouraging hosts with an interest education, specifically teaching as our groups are teachers. We also encourage KSU faculty, staff, or administrators! What do we expect of host? • Foremost, we want you to provide a clean, safe, caring, and nurturing environment similar to the one you provide your family and friends. We want hosts willing to spend time with our students and display a friendly and flexible attitude. Our students are expecting a truly interactive cultural experience. The more you give to the experience the more reward you will get in return from the experience! Host must provide the following amenities and support: • Accommodation: Available, clean, and furnished private room, which includes the following amenities: Bed (no futons), lamp & stand, dresser/closet space, desk or study space, basic linens, and private or shared bath. The study desk or study space may be located in another part of the home and we are flexible on this arrangement. Please talk to our homestay representative if you have questions about accommodation requirements, especially requests for exceptions. • Transportation: Host must be available to help drive students to/from campus via car Monday-­‐
Friday. We prefer our hosts to drive teachers to/from campus and minimize the amount of time spent using public transportation. Public transportation can often be unreliable and inconvenient. The teachers must arrive to their school between 7:30am and 8:00am. Host may drop students off early to campus or pick up late from classes between 3:30pm-­‐4:30pm. We will work closely to provide your more details on your guests schedule as well learn more. • Meals: Host must provide three meals daily: (1) Grab & Go Breakfast (2) Light Lunch (3) Prepared Dinner (See more details below) • Guidance: We encourage our host to help our international guest navigate American language, culture, and lifestyle. We also expect our host to educate our guests on safety. • English: Proficiency in conversational English at a US College Level. Most of our teachers are fluent in English, but are want the homestay experience to practice and improve their English conversation skills. • Criminal Background Check: All hosts (18 +) must submit to a National Criminal Background Check to help us maintain a safe environment. Mark’s Homestay may permit an exception to this based on limited special circumstances for this short exchange. This is NOT a credit check. • Proximity: Host must be located within 30 minutes by car of the guests’s local school. How many meals do I need to prepare each day? • ITTI has requested that hosts provide three daily meals all week as described below: (1) Grab & Go Breakfast: Breakfast is a “grab & go,” or continental breakfast which may include self-­‐serve items such as toast, cereal, oatmeal, fruits, and drink (coffee, tea, milk, juice) (2) Light Lunch: Lunch is a basic, but fresh self-­‐serve or prepared meal such as a sandwich, wrap, salads, or other as determined by host. As customary in American culture, hosts are allowed to use the previous night’s prepared dinner for the light lunch requirement. Students will carry this meal to campus and thus may need a container and bag for their lunch. We recommend you let them borrow a container. 3 (3) Prepared Dinner: Dinner is to be a fresh prepared in-­‐house meal as determined by the host. Do students use all their meals? • Typically students do not use all their meals as they participate in activities or dine out on some weeknights and weekends. We encourage our students to communicate to our host about their availability for meals. On average, most of our students use 10-­‐15 meals weekly. Students from our previous Korean teacher exchange groups often eat out for lunch around campus and while participating in activities on the weekend. Mark’s Homestay during the student orientation encourages the students to eat-­‐out some for lunch to provide our hosts a reprieve on meals. Students are required to pay for any additional snacks or drinks in the home. Do I have to pay for the students’ restaurant meals? • We do encourage students to eat at home during the exchange. However, if your student wants to dine out you are NOT responsible for payment of his or her meals. Mark’s Homestay will instruct our teachers regarding this at their orientation, but you we encourage hosts to discuss this with your guest prior to the meal. Of course, we do kindly request you NOT eat out every night of the exchange. Eating a regular in-­‐home dinner with the student adds value to their experience and facilitates cultural exchange. (PS, it has been customary for our students to prepare & share a traditional family meal with our hosts!). What type of food must I prepare? • Just prepare what you normally eat. Local cuisine is part of the unique cultural experience for our guests. However, we do want you to provide healthy meals for our guests. We will provide you information about your guest’s special dietary restrictions due to health, medical, or religious reasons. Of course, we do encourage our host to simply ask students about their diet and prepare foods accordingly. Typically, you do not have to change your diet much to accommodate. During orientation, we encourage our Korean guests to go to the supermarket with the host and to prepare a customary dish or meal for our hosts! Last exchange, the student prepared meal was a big hit! How do I prepare each meal for the student? • We encourage hosts during the first week to take the students to the supermarket, asking them specifically what types of food they like to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can choose the items appropriately. For example, the first time I hosted a Brazilian student, I prepared him many breakfast options for the first week such as fruits, yogurts, and granola. However, I learned from the student that he eats a light breakfast typically consisting of toast, bread, and coffee and that he never eats fruit! This made shopping a lot easier for the rest of the stay! • Breakfast: We recommend you place the students breakfast items for the day in a designated area or location for self-­‐serve like the following: A designated area and limited choice option lets the student know what he or she can eat and makes them feel welcome in the home! Moreover, this will help you better manage your food budget. The students sometimes feel uneasy if they have to open your refrigerator to find their 4 •
food, especially during the first few days. You may also consider designating a pantry location they can use for their own snacks. Light Lunch: We recommend that you choose the light-­‐lunch option for the student and place it in a designated location and/or appropriate container for the student. We encourage sandwich meats, light prepared salads, wraps or dinner leftovers for the lunch. The student is to prepare the meal, but may need some assistance to navigate the cultural nuances of an American lunch! You may lay out the food or prepare it during the first week of adjustment (See example below) •
Dinner: You will prepare your typical home meal for your student. This is the best time to sit down and talk with your guest. This gives you an opportunity to learn about their culture and provides the student an opportunity to practice English and learn about you! This is the best part of hosting! For example, I learned from my Brazilian student that he almost never eats avocados for lunch or dinner and almost all his dishes involve rice! What do I do if I cannot prepare a meal due to an emergency or other situation? • Life happens, we know this! If possible, we encourage hosts to communicate to their student their inability to provide the daily meal(s). If time permits, we would like hosts to leave a prepared meal for the student. Typically, our students are flexible and understanding if you cannot provide a meal. Please contact us if a situation arises that would result in you being unable to provide consecutive meals for the student. Do I have to participate in activities with the student? • No, but we strongly encourage activities. Hosts are compensated to facilitate cultural exchange and opportunities for the student. Hosts are not required to pay for extra-­‐curricular activities, but we do expect our hosts to help their students to these opportunities. We find that hosts who have the best experiences are those whom engage their students in activities from their daily lives. You ultimately get from the experience what you are willing to give! Activities don’t have to be expensive or intense. Students often enjoy going to the mall, hiking, sharing in a meal with your friends, or simply driving around the city! For example, I took my Brazilian student to downtown Atlanta, showing him Centennial Park, CNN, and other activities in close proximity. We didn’t pay for any events, but simply walked around near some of Atlanta’s cultural landmarks, stopping for the occasional photo! He loved it! 5 &
Host FAQ for the Korean Teacher Exchange Program Continued… 4. HOST COMPENSATION… Hosts are generously compensated while hosting a student in order to help provide a great experience for our students. Host compensation is used to cover expenses such as food, transportation, and to help you participate in activities with the students. Hosts should never request or receive compensation directly from the student. Mark’s Homestay handle all payments in order to maintain transparency, homestay quality standards, and program integrity. We try to place two students per home to provide an added benefit and economy of scale for our hosts. Is host compensation guaranteed? • Hosts will be compensated at the student’s check-­‐in for the first 15 days of the homestay and receiving the remaining compensation after two weeks from check-­‐in. If a student is required to move due to unforeseen circumstance or problem with the homestay arrangement, the host will be required to return the payment for the nights the student did not remain in the home beyond the first five days of the exchange. If a problem arises in the homestay and a student requests a homestay change, Mark’s Homestay will diligently investigate the issue and try to resolve it without displacement of the student. Also, we cannot guarantee a student’s arrival to the homestay and do not pay for ‘no shows.’ Can I Host More Than One Student? Yes, we strongly encourage 2 students per household and we will gladly consider placing a 3rd student with you under limited circumstances. What is the Host Compensation Rate? • Hosts will be compensated at the following nightly rate: o 1 Person: $37 night or $1517 (41 nights) o 2 Persons: $70 night or $2870 (41 Nights) o 3 Persons: $90 night or $3690 (41 Nights) How does receiving host payments affect my taxes? • A 1099 Tax Form will be provided to each homestay host for annual fees paid over $600.00 as of 2014. Please consult a certified accountant to learn about your tax liability and yes, possible tax benefits for hosting. We encourage you to keep track of your expenses, i.e. food, transportation. Mark’s Homestay does not offer tax advice. 5. EMERGENCIES, HEALTH INSURANCE, & OTHER COMMON QUESTIONS... Who should I contact in case of emergency? • Mark’s Homestay will provide hosts a 24/7 Emergency Support Phone Number in case of an emergency or urgent situation. You should call #911 if you feel the emergency is serious or life threatening. You should never transport guests to the hospital. For non-­‐emergencies or urgent situations, please contact Mark’s Homestay. In turn, Mark’s Homestay will contact the ITTI exchange group leader for assistance. You will have constant program support! 6 Do the students have health insurance? • All students in the exchange program have health insurance in case of health emergency. Mark’s Homestay and ITTI maintain each student’s insurance information. Hosts should never pay for any medical expenses for students. In case a student needs to visit a doctor, please contact Mark’s Homestay immediately. What if my student(s) damages something in my room or home? • ITTI is responsible financially for damages that occur in the homestay as a result of neglect by the student. Please contact Mark’s Homestay immediately if there is damage in the home and we will work diligently to resolve the issue and ensure compensation. 7