Common Questions

What is homestay? 

A homestay is a cultural exchange between a local individual or family and a visiting student. The student lives for an agreed period of time as a member of an American family. 

What is a “typical” American family? 

Our host families are friendly, caring people who are interested in knowing more about you and your culture. There is no “typical” family in the USA. You may live in a traditional family with two parents and children, or there may be a husband and wife, but no children. You may live with a single man or single woman. The parents may both have full-time jobs outside of the home. Many families at Mt. Blue have diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. 

What should I expect of my host family?

We want students to be treated as a member of the family and to be included in family activities. A private room or shared room (with a same sex student), food, transportation, a study space and a place for personal belongings will be provided. Our primary concern is to make our students experience in the U.S. an enjoyable and memorable one. 

What are the expectations of international students? 

Please refer to “Expectations of International Students” for more information. 

How much should I be involved in the family unit? 

The student should not expect to be treated as an “honored guest”; instead, he or she will be included in family activities like a regular member of the family. Students should include themselves in family activities, meals and vacations. 

What if I wish to travel alone while we are here?

Students’ natural parents are expected to fill out a “Parental Permission to Travel Form” for any travel done outside of the State of Maine or the U.S. Neither Mt. Blue nor the host family assumes any responsibility for the international student during such travel. Unauthorized travel by the international student is not permitted and may result in expulsion from the Mt. Blue Campus International Homestay Program (”Program”). The Program will not allow travel if it involves missing a significant amount of official class time. Travel within the State of Maine does not require a signature from the student’s natural parents but requires permission from the host family. Students under 18 years of age must be accompanied by at least one other traveler who is 18 or over if traveling out of state for a day. If the international student wishes to travel out of state overnight, they must be accompanied by an adult of at least 21 years of age or older. All travel must be reported to the ISP Staff at least one-week prior. Students must fill out a form with the contact information of the person they are traveling with and the trip details. 

Am I allowed to drive a motor vehicle? 

Students in the Program are prohibited from operating any type of motor vehicle. Driving without a license is strictly prohibited; however, they may take a Driver’s Education course. 

How will I communicate with my family back home?

Students should ask permission of the host family to use the telephone. They should not place calls after 10 pm. The cost for all long distance calls are the responsibility of the international student and ultimately the natural parents. The student can consider purchasing a prepaid telephone calling card for long distance calls. Also, we suggest using SKYPE to communicate back home to your friends and family. The ISP Staff or your host family will take you to purchase a cell phone, at your own expense, if you choose to do so. 

How are the host families chosen?

All families have been screened and interviewed by representatives of Mt. Blue High School. All members of the home 16 years and older have undergone a background check. Our Program staff interviews both host families and international students to make the best match possible. The homestay parent will provide meals and plan activities for all students living within the home. The homestay parent is expected to abide by all rules and guidelines as set forth by the Program. 

Do I have to attend a new student orientation?

Yes, all new international students will attend an orientation on opening day at the Mt. Blue Campus. 

Are there any student clubs and organizations on campus?

Yes, there are many clubs and organizations that international students are encouraged to join. For example, the school offers the following groups activities in addition to others: international clubs, band, choir, football, soccer, basketball, and drama club. 

How should I prepare to depart my home country?

Please make sure to have your airline ticket confirmation page, passport, tuition receipt, I-20 form, I-901 Receipt, acceptance letter and the contact information of school officials. For more information please refer to “Packing List for International Students.” Try to pack efficiently but effectively. 

What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Please arrange your arrival time with the ISP Staff and your host family at least four weeks before arrival. Your homestay parents will pick you up at the airport and greet you. Please be sure to arrive during the agreed upon time and to provide updates for any change in plans. 

What are the US time zones? 

From east to west they are Atlantic Standard Time (AST), Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST), and Pacific Standard Time (PST). Maine falls within the Eastern Standard Time Zone. 

What is the weather like in Maine? 

It gets very cold in the winter (December-March) and very hot in the summer months (June-September). The fall months (September-November) and spring months (April-May) are rather cool and comfortable. When you arrive in the U.S., you will be arriving during the late summer. Please plan your clothing accordingly. You will need a heavy coat and sturdy boots in the winter. 

Can I work while I am in the U.S.? 

International students residing in the U.S. on an F-1 Visa are not authorized to work. However, incidental work, such as baby-sitting and lawn work, is allowed if authorized by the host parents. 

Who do I contact if I have concerns about my host family during the school year? 

You would contact the ISP Staff at (207) 778-3561. The school, host family and student have the right to request that the student be removed from the home at any time. Any requests for removal must be made with the ISP Director and the request will be investigated promptly. Unless any member of the family or student is in imminent danger, all parties must abide by the Homestay Contract until another placement can be found. The Program has the right to immediately remove a student from a home if there is any indication that his or her well-being is being compromised. Mt. Blue has the right to terminate a homestay family’s participation at any time if the family does not meet the requirements or criteria of the Homestay Program. Note, however, that casual requests by international students to change families will not be entertained. 

Will there be activities on the weekends and school breaks? 

Your homestay family will include you in family outings and events and school activities. We encourage you to participate in these activities.

Can I open my own bank account when I arrive in the USA? 

Yes, this is possible. It may be easier to carry a credit or debit card with you while in the U.S. We discourage students from carrying large amounts of cash. 

Can my family come to visit me? 

Yes, of course. Family members are required to find their own transportation and accommodations. We do not recommend that your family travel with you during your first week at Mt. Blue High School so that you have time to settle into the U.S. on your own. It is best if your family schedules a visit toward the end of the school year. Please refer any further questions you may have to the ISP Staff at (207-778-3561. We are here to assist you.