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Our host families
Are at the heart of everything we do

Welcoming a foreign exchange student into your family is rewarding in so many ways. You can share your family's Irish way of life with a student from another culture, connect to your community in exciting new ways and develop a lifelong relationship with someone from another part of the world. 

Bring the world home

Our host families represent the diversity of Irish culture, but they all share one thing: their lives have been changed by welcoming exchange students into their homes. Read about some of our wonderful host families below.

The Cunningham Family

County Tipperary, Ireland

"We decided to host to experience different cultures and because we felt it would be a valued experience for our son. The best thing about hosting is so many new experiences we come across on a daily basis."

The Kenny Family

County Tipperary, Ireland

"Hosting is a fantastic experience. You learn so much about each other's countries. We are already planning to visit our student Francesca next year."

The Touhy Family

County Tipperary, Ireland

“The best thing about hosting exchange students is the change in the dynamics of the household, which is to say that it's all to the better. The girls have fit in so well - we really enjoy having them here."


questions every host family has

It's The
Simple Things

For our exchange students, it's the little things that make their year: going for a hike in the Irish countryside, cheering for your local hurling team, celebrating St. Patrick's day. Hosting an exchange student doesn't take anything fancy — just a welcoming spirit and the love you'd give to your own family.


How Student Exchange Works

Below is an overview of how our exchange programme works, from accepting the best international students, to finding and screening all our amazing host families, all the way through the exchange year itself.

Exchange Student

Application: A student applies to EF High School Exchange Year and is guided through the process by their local EF office. The student selection process is thorough and competitive; it includes academic transcripts, teacher recommendations, an English evaluation, an interview, and more.

Program acceptance: Once the student's application is approved, EF High School Exchange Year officially accepts them into the programme. Next we find them a host family with the help of local Irish EF Staff.

Next stop Ireland: After a thorough preparation in their home country and an EF orientation when they first arrive in country, the student heads on to their host family to start their life-changing exchange year in Ireland!

Part of a global family: Over the course of their exchange year and beyond, the student becomes much more than a guest in their host family's home; they're part of one big global family.

Host Family

Application: Families who express an interest in hosting are guided through an application process by a member of EF staff in Ireland. The screening process includes a home visit, an in-person interview, an online application, and garda vetting.

Choosing your student: Once you have been accepted into our programme as a host family, you will be able to review the profiles of students looking for host families. Together, you and EF staff will find the perfect match!.

Student arrival: Your student arrives before the start of the school semester, marking the start of a life-changing experience for everyone. Throughout the year, EF is available to support host families and students 24/7.

More than just a student: While your student is here in Ireland, they'll become like a true member of the family. And it doesn't end there; they'll be your family from across the globe for years and years to come.



questions every host family has

Hosting an exchange student is an incredibly rewarding and life-changing experience in so many ways. It’s a chance for you and your family to learn about new cultures, create lasting friendships, and bring the world into your home and community. And for the student you welcome into your family, you’re providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience they’ll treasure forever.

There is no 'typical' host family! Our families represent the diversity of Irish culture, and we encourage families of all shapes and sizes to host. Some families have young or teenage children, while others may be empty-nesters or newlyweds. We've had single parents and grandparents who have all been wonderful hosts.

We've found that our most successful host families are those who truly enjoy the experience and are sharing, open-minded people who want to learn more about other cultures while sharing their Irish life with a student from across the globe.

Host families provide the student with room and board and a place to study, and are expected to treat their student as a member of a family, not as a guest. Students cover their own travel costs, health insurance, school expenses, cell phone, and spending money.

The most successful families are driven by the rewards of being a part of a unique cultural exchange. At EF, we support our families by providing a monthly grant to assist with covering household costs. You will also be part of an industry-leading home improvement programme to reward host families that remain with EF year after year.

EF exchange students come from countries all across Europe.

Yes, our staff will work with you to find the perfect student match. We have spent more than 30 years matching students to their Irish host families. If you have an idea of what type of student would fit best in your family, let's talk about it!

We are committed to making sure that our exchange students and host families have a great experience. If problems ever arise, you can rely on your EF Regional Manager and full-time EF staff in Dublin to be there for you. In the rare case that we can’t all resolve the issue together, EF High School Exchange Year will find the student a new home.

EF exchange students come to Ireland for one school year and usually stay from September to June, though it depends on your school district.

We are always looking for great people to join our team. Additionally, we offer referral incentives for each family you refer to our programme. If you're interested in joining our programme, give us a call or let us know the best time to reach you!

Ready to get started?

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