Frequently asked questions
What is homestay living?
You will be living in the home of an American host. Homestay living is not an apartment or a dorm, rather you are sharing in daily interactions and meals of the host while learning about U.S. culture! Individuals will have a furnished private bedroom in the home of a Global Immersions host. Group visitors will have either a private bedroom or share a bedroom with two beds.
Why should I live in homestay?
The Homestay experience is the perfect way to learn about U.S. culture, day-to-day living, and to practice your English in a non-structured environment. It’s been proven that aside from English language lessons, interacting with English speaking individuals greatly improves your dialect. By working with hundreds of Boston area hosts, we’re able to provide a beneficial and higher quality homestay experience for each visitor.
How do I apply for homestay?
Is homestay only for younger international students?
No, Global Immersions Homestay provides homestay living for any international visitor to Boston. We welcome all international visitors 18 years and older!
How much experience does Global Immersions have?
Global Immersions, Inc., Boston’s leading homestay agency, has successfully matched thousands of international visitors and hosts annually since 2000. All of the Homestay coordinators are experienced and have worked with international visitors from all over the world.
How much will it cost?
Your total homestay cost will be a one-time application fee of $125 per person (non-refundable), plus your homestay rate per week depending on the homestay option you choose. For example: $125 application fee and $340 per week - Standard Homestay. Group pricing varies. Contact our office for details.
How should I pay the homestay fee?
You will receive an invoice for your homestay once the placement has been confirmed. Payment options include: credit card (print credit card authorization form and fax to 617-321-4009), international wire transfer, via Paypal or direct bank deposit to any Bank of America (no personal checks will be accepted). Please contact us with questions.
May I pay the fees when I arrive?
No. Fees including the application fee and the prepayment of up to 4 weeks must be received in full by Global Immersions, Inc. before moving into the homestay.
What is the application deadline?
In order to provide professional service to you, applications should be received at least two weeks plus prior to your arrival in Boston. Although we will be happy to assist you, applications submitted less than one week before your arrival require special permission from our office and an additional last minute processing fee of $50 USD.
When do I recieve my homestay placement information?
The application fee of $125 must be received with the application to begin the placement process. Once the placement has been confirmed, you will receive the host profile with all of the details about the home, hosts and area.
How will you choose my host?
Placements are based on host availability, preferences and location. This information is then matched with the visitor's homestay option, profile, daily destination, and other preferences. We have strong working relationships with our hosts that help us make the best match possible for both the visitor and host. The hosts will provide a safe, clean and comfortable living environment for each visitor.
Who are the homestay hosts?
Our host network represents the ethnic diversity of metropolitan Boston and includes families with young children or teenagers, couples with no children, retirees, single parents with children and single professionals.
Will my host family include a mother, father and children?
Not necessarily. Our homestay program reflects the fabric and diversity of Boston and the United States/ The homestay host network includes "traditional" families, single parents, retired couples, retired individuals, empty nesters (husband and wife whose children have grown and left home), and single working professionals.
Can I contact my host family before I move in?
Yes, once you receive the host biography with all of their information, we encourage you to contact the host to begin building the relationship.
Will other visitors be in my homestay?
It depends on the homestay. If there are other visitors in the homestay, there will not be two visitors from the same country unless requested.
How are hosts selected to be a part of the Global Immersions network?
Hosts must complete an extensive acceptance process, including the completion of a host application, home inspection, and background and reference checks. They must also live within our target area, meaning they live within a certain radius of Boston's city center in safe neighborhoods.
How can I be sure that I have a positive homestay experience?
Our number one concern is that you have a positive experience in your homestay. We recommend that you set aside your expectations and stereotypes and be open to new experiences. It is very important to keep an open mind! The US culture, customs, people, homes and cities are very different than your own. This is your opportunity to learn about American culture first hand. You will be allowed to experience day-to-day life while living with an American host.
How will I get to my homestay on the first day?
For individuals, you are responsible for your own transportation to and from your homestay. There are taxis, buses, and the subway at the airport. If you are interested in an airport pick-up service, please contact the office for details and prices. If you are apart of a group, a car service will deliver you to your homestay from the airport. After the first arrival, you are responsible for your own transportation.
How will I get to my daily destination (school, etc.) from my homestay?
All visitors take public transportation from their homestays to downtown Boston or your daily destination. Public transportation includes bus, subway (T) and commuter rail services. All homestays must be located within 15 minutes walking distance of public transportation. Please note that it is common for visitors to take more than one type of public transportation.
What will my home look like?
It could be a charming Victorian or an apartment. Boston is a city filled with homes of all different sizes and shapes. We discourage visitors from comparing their homes because each on is different and offers its own amenities.
How is homestay different than a hotel or bed and breakfast?
Choosing to live in a homestay is a wonderful way to experience Boston without spending all of your budget on housing and food. It is a unique opportunity to live and experience American life! Our hosts open their homes and lives to you, and they should be treated with respect and honesty. Our homestays are not commercial establishments with maid services and cooks. Our homestays are homes offered by open-minded and caring people, willing to share in a cultural exchange.
Who does my laundry and cleans the house?
You will be responsible for your own laundry and keeping your bedroom tidy. In the US, all members of the family are usually expected to clean up after themselves. Although you will not be expected to clean the house, please be aware that domestic help and maids, etc. are very expensive and therefore not common in the US. Please be considerate and clean up after yourself!
What should I do if I have a dietary restriction?
If you have a dietary restriction, please make sure to let us know in your application. Some dietary restrictions are easier to place than others. With this in mind, we suggest you chose the Standard or Executive B and B option. With this, you would get breakfast and then be allowed to cook whatever you would like in your host's kitchen. If you have any other questions regarding dietary needs, please contact us.
Who will cook my meals?
All homestay options include a self-served continental breakfast (juice, cereal, toast, coffee/tea). This means that you are responsible for making your own breakfast in the morning and cleaning up your own breakfast dishes. If you have dinner included in your homestay option, your evening meal will be prepared by, and shared with, the host.
Will I have internet acess and wifi at my homestay?
Yes, internet access and wifi is guaranteed for all homestay options. You will need to speak with your host about their wifi password and how to use for your computer or phone.
What do I need to bring to Boston?
We suggest that you bring clothes that you can layer. In the winter, we suggest that you bring warm clothes; a heavy down coat or woolen coat, hat, gloves, wool sweaters and socks, boots for the snow (yes, we have snow!), appropriate rain coat and umbrella, long shirts and pants. Toiletries are your responsibility. Linens and towels are provided by the host.
What is the weather like in Boston?
Boston has four distinct seasons. Weather is fairly unpredictable and can range from 0°F in the winter and up to over a 100°F in the summer. Please check the local weather forcast in order to know what clothes to pack and wear.
Will I live within walking distance of downtown Boston?
No. All homes are within 30-60 minutes of Downtown destinations. Boston is a commuter city and a typical commute with public transportation from home is anywhere from 30-60 minutes. In fact, it is often easier to travel with public transportation than with a car due to Boston’s terrible traffic problems. Rest assured, all homestays are within walking distance of Boston’s extensive public transportation system. You will be able to get around with ease! Visit www.mbta.com for more information about Boston’s public transportation system.
What if I have a special request?
Although we specialize in private rooms for individuals, we can offer comfortable homestays for two people in a shared bedroom based on our host availability. For more specific requests, please contact our office for details.
What if I have other questions?
Simple issues in the home can usually be discussed with your homestay host. Being familiar with the guidelines provided by Global Immersions, Inc. and the host, and discussing the issue(s) can clear up any confusion regarding what is expected of you or your host. If you have a problem and do not communicate it to us when it occurs, we cannot be held responsible and will not issue refunds based on untimely communications. If you still have questions or problems regarding your accommodation or your fees, please feel free to email or call us at 617-484-4055.
What is the legal drinking and smoking age in Massachusetts?
The legal age to purchase and use alcohol or tobacco is 21. Drinking and smoking guidelines are at the discretion of each host for those visitors 21+ living in their home. It is very important to that each visitor understands what is and is not allowed in the homestay regarding drinking and all forms of legal smoking with the exception of marijuana.