Can Our Exchange Student Stay Overnight at a Friend’s House?

Your foreign exchange student will be encouraged to make friends and become acclimated to their new school environment. This means attending school sporting events, dances, birthday parties, and other gatherings. But can an exchange student stay overnight at a friend’s house? Yes, they can as long as a responsible adult is present and you are comfortable with the family the student is staying with. 

Sleepover With a Local Friend

Students who make friends early will probably have the best experience as an exchange student. They are less likely to get homesick and will learn about the culture much faster. For this reason, you should encourage your students to make friends and socialize with peers in and outside of school. 

Fun activities like staying the night with a friend or going to a sleepover is actually an okay thing with most international student exchange programs. This is because it will help the student better experience the culture and get a feel for what it is like to be an American teen. Your student, however, will need your guidance when deciding whether to accept an overnight invitation. Just as you would with your own child, you should only let the student stay at a home in which you know and are confident your student will be safe there. Along with knowing the student and parents, you will want to talk with the parents to get a few questions answered. For example, is this a co-ed party? And what activities are planned for the students? Who will be chaperoning? And what time will the party end? Also, be sure to get a clear understanding as to what your exchange student should bring with them. You should also spend time talking with your student about what to expect. Afterall, sleepovers are not common in many other countries. 

Just like with your own child, your foreign exchange student will appreciate your establishing rules and boundaries. That said, don’t be afraid to tell your student “no” if you don’t believe it to be a good situation. If you’re “iffy” about it, maybe let the student go but not stay the night. If you say “no” altogether,  maybe you can plan on doing something else that is fun like going bowling or to the movies. 

Can My Student Host a Sleepover?

Likewise, your student might decide they want to host a sleepover after a basketball game or to celebrate their birthday. Although you can discuss it with the local representative of your exchange student program, ultimately the decision is yours and should be carefully considered before giving an answer because you’ll have to supervise and be responsible for the kids while they are in your home. 

Why are Sleepovers Good for Exchange Students?

With a sleepover, the student can experience another American family. Because most kids stay up all night at sleepovers, it is a good way for them to practice their English. Additionally, they will become more independent being away from you overnight. They might also make new friends at sleepovers. 

Staying With a Friend in Your Absence

Exchange students might also stay with a friend in your absence. Perhaps you’ve planned a trip prior to agreeing to take an exchange student and can’t take your student with you. Sometimes a family might travel out of town and can’t take their student with them. Per the rules of the program, your student is never allowed to stay at home alone overnight. Therefore, you will have to make other arrangements. One option is to call your local representative to see if your student can stay with him/her or another host family while you’re away. Another option is to have them stay with one of your family members. Although either of these options will work, ideally, the best choice is to have your student stay with a friend. This can be a friend from school or church or the neighborhood.