Family Handbook

Welcome to the ELS Language Center Oklahoma City Homestay Program!

Thank you for opening up your home to an International Student who is studying English at ELS Language Centers. Our students come from all over the world and the best way for them to speed their progress in learning English and to gain first-hand cultural understanding of the people of the United States is to live with an American family. This unforgettable experience provides a lifetime of memories for both the student and the Host Family members.

This Homestay Family Handbook has been compiled to provide you with pertinent and necessary information about participating in the program. We also encourage you to take a look at the Homestay Student Handbook in the “For Students” section, so you will have an idea what information has been given to the International Students who will be living with you.

The mission of ELS is to provide English language and educational exchange programs that exceed the academic, professional, and social expectations of our clients throughout the world. Over the past 45 years, ELS has helped hundreds of thousands of students from over 140 countries around the world learn English using our innovative approach that makes language learning simple, fast, and enjoyable.

The goal of the ELS Homestay Program is to provide an interesting, cultural and educational experience for both the student and the Host Family. The more interaction between the Host Family and the student, the more enriching the stay will be for both.


Brief Overview of the ELS Language Center Intensive English Program

ELS is the world’s largest network of campus-based English language instruction and university preparation centers, with more than 55 locations in the USA and Canada, providing English instruction nationwide to over one million International Students since 1961. ELS was excited to celebrate our 50th anniversary of leadership in international education on June 16th, 2011!

The ELS Language Center Oklahoma City branch opened in 1976 on the campus of Oklahoma City University and is located in Harris Hall (go north from NW 23rd Street on Kentucky Ave; turn left at the first street, which is NW 24th; there is no street sign).

The ELS Language Center Intensive English Program operates year-round, in four-week sessions. There are thirteen sessions each year. The average length of study is four and a half sessions (eighteen weeks). The students attend thirty class hours of English classes weekly, Monday through Friday. Classes operate from 8:30 am to 3:45 pm, with classes on Fridays only from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Special activities are offered three times per session. These activities may include trips to the Oklahoma City Zoo, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City National Memorial, Bricktown, special festivals such as the OKC Arts Festival in the Spring or the Oklahoma State Fair in September, movies, bowling, and much more.

A. Main Programs Offered by ELS

Understanding what your student is experiencing in school is a great help to providing support at home. Below is a brief description of the main programs ELS Language Centers offer. Students usually enroll in one of the three programs.

1. Intensive English Program
•  Thirty 50-minute lessons per week for 4 weeks
•  Full-time, year-round program
•  6 lessons each day, (8:30 to 4:00 Monday thru Thursday and 8:30 to 12:30 Friday)

2. Semi-Intensive English Program
•  Twenty 50-minute lessons per week for 4 weeks
•  Part-time, year-round program
•  4 lessons each morning, Monday – Friday

  3. American Explorer Program
•  Fifteen 50-minute lessons per week for 4 weeks
•  Part-time, year-round program
•  3 lessons each morning (Monday thru Friday)

B. The Classes

When students first arrive they are given a placement examination that assigns the student to any one of twelve levels of English proficiency (Levels 101 to 112). The program is divided into three Beginning levels (101 to 103), three Intermediate levels (104 to 106) and six Advanced levels (107 to 112).

ELS students study all language skills including grammar and speaking in their SSP (Structure/Speaking Practice) class as part of their core curriculum. They enjoy Conversation class and Multi-Media Laboratory(MML). Students also have a Reading/Writing class and an individualized class in the Learning Technology Center.

In addition to these classes, students may, depending on their level of proficiency, select elective classes which include TOEFL Prep, Business English (finance, marketing and management by rotation), American Idioms, Pronunciation, Grammar Review, American Film, Professionally Speaking, and others. Students typically receive one to two hours of homework nightly.

Students who successfully complete the requirements for each level will progress to the next level for the next four-week session, if they choose to continue their studies. Those students who do not successfully meet the requirements to pass the level will repeat the level for the next four-week session.

Students who complete the ELS Language Center Program Level 109 are determined to have achieved a high level of English language proficiency. In fact, over 600 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. accept ELS Level 109 to satisfy the English language requirements for admission to all undergraduate and many graduate degree programs. ELS Language Center is the only English-As-A-Second-Language program in the U.S. that provides its graduates with a guarantee.

In addition, students in the Intensive program take special interest courses that provide valuable extra practice in areas such as Conversation, TOEFL Prep, Pronunciation, Academic Listening, Film & Culture, Idioms, and Business English.

C. Becoming a Host Family for ELS Language Centers

The first step in becoming a Host Family for ELS Language Centers will be an on-site visit to your home by Bill & Denny McConnell, the Homestay Coordinators for the purposes of ensuring the home meets all ELS Host Family requirements, and the completion of  the “Host Family Agreement” and the “Host Family Application and Profile”. The Homestay Coordinator will assist you with this. All prospective Host Families must sign the Host Family Agreement and complete all parts of the Host Family Application and Profile in order to be considered as an ELS Host Family services participant.  During this visit, pictures will be taken of you, your family, the student’s bedroom and bathroom and all commonly shared areas in your home.

All prospective Host Families must consent to a background check for each adult, 18 years or older, who resides in the Host’s home. Refusal to undergo a background check, will result in disqualification of the home from the Homestay Program. ELS considers an individual to be residing in the home when the individual will be present in the home for any amount of time per day, such that the cumulative “days” would be one week or greater in any four-week session. The Host Family is responsible for payment of the background check, which must be done once every 3 years. The background check may be initiated by going to this page.

Once a Host Family becomes active in the Homestay Program, ELS will conduct biennial visits, with adequate prior notice and approval of the Host Family. Refusal by the Host Family to allow on-site visits may result in disqualification of the home from the Homestay Program.

ELS provides no guarantee that a prospective Host Family will be approved or used if they are approved. Certain factors, such as the presence of children or pets in the home, may prevent some students from accepting placement with a Host Family. Positive feedback from students and consistently good performance by a Host Family may be considered to prioritize the Host Families most often used.


Goals of the Homestay Program

As we said, the goal of the ELS Homestay Program is to provide an interesting cultural and educational experience for both student and family. The more interaction between family and student, the more enriching the stay will be for both.

ELS students come from around the world to improve their English language skills. The best way for them to speed their progress in learning English and to gain first-hand cultural understanding of the people of the United States is to live with an American family while studying at ELS. This unforgettable and valuable experience provides a lifetime of memories for both the ELS student and the American family. Before you commit to being a homestay family, please re-examine your schedule to be sure you can provide the time and energy to meet the goals stated above.


What are homestay families required to provide?

D. Host Family Guidelines

1. Initial Placement – All students must be provided a private bedroom unless the student has requested to share a room with another student (for example, two sisters or two brothers together) and approved by the Center Director. There is a maximum of three ELS students allowed in the same homestay, if approved by the Center Director. In these approved cases, each student must be provided a private bedroom and each student must be of a different language/background. We always try to mix nationalities of students, and we try to avoid having two students in the same homestay who speak the same language.

Students from Non-ELS English language programs are prohibited. Students of the opposite sex (except for spouses and siblings) will not be placed with the same Host Family. Female students will not be placed with a Host Family headed by a single male. The placement of female students in homes with a teenage son or young single male adult is a rare occurrence and must be approved by the Center Director.

Bedroom Furnishings
The student’s bedroom furnishings must include the following: bed (futons must be approved by the Homestay Coordinator prior to student assignment), desk with good lighting for study, dresser, closet, night table or stand. Internet access has become very important for our students – this is the best way for them to communicate with their friends and family back home.

House Key and Common Areas

Students must be given a house key to use during their stay with the Host Family. The student should also be provided warm and inviting access to all common areas of the home (kitchen, living room, family room, etc.).  Your student should be encouraged to spend time daily in the common areas with the family.

Linens and Towels
You are expected to provide your student with clean linens and towels once or twice per week, dependent upon the exchange pattern of your home. In many homes, Homestay parents show the student how to launder his or her own linens and expect them to wash them weekly.

Bathroom
Bathroom may be a private or shared bathroom. If many family members are using a shared bathroom, it may be a good idea to post a schedule of grooming time/showers/ baths, etc.  Clean towels must be initially provided for the student.

Laundry Facilities

If the home has laundry facilities, the student needs to have access to them. If the home does not have laundry facilities, the Host Family must arrange for the student to be able to accompany them when doing the family laundry. Generally it is the student’s responsibility to wash and dry his/her personal laundry. Some Host Families may prefer to wash the student’s clothes, towels, and linens with those of the family. Please discuss your laundry procedures with your student

Meals
Students must receive sixteen meals weekly as part of their Homestay experience. These meals are breakfast and dinner each day and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Breakfast/Brunch
Some Homestay Parents prepare breakfasts (full or continental) for their student. Since many Homestay Parents work during the week, breakfast may also be a self-help meal where your student prepares his or her own breakfast. If this is the case in your home, you must show your student around the kitchen and show where the cooking utensils and breakfast foods are kept. A typical continental breakfast might include the following: juice, coffee or tea with milk, cold or hot cereals and breads, bagels or muffins with butter and jelly or jam. Sometimes families prepare full breakfasts with ham or bacon with eggs on the weekends when the pressure of getting to work on time is not present. If families sleep later on weekends, brunch may also substitute for breakfast, usually between 10:00am & 1:00pm.

Dinner (not Lunches or Snacks)
Dinner should be a sit-down meal as a family and a great time for sharing the day’s events and an opportunity for the students to practice English. It is also an excellent time for you and your family to really get to know your student. The Homestay Parent(s) and/or family is expected to have dinners with their ELS students four or five nights per week.

Dinner should be a hot meal prepared with a main course (usually meat, poultry, or fish), a salad, one or two vegetables, and a beverage. There may be fruit or sweets served for dessert. Meals should be nourishing and the menus should be varied. Ask your student if they have a food preference or any dietary restrictions, and invite the student to accompany you to the supermarket. Ask if they would sometimes like to help you prepare a meal from their country.

Due to Homestay Parent commitments outside of the home two or three nights of the week (perhaps for children’s school meetings, church meetings, etc.), there may be occasional need for your student to have dinner alone. If you will not be home at dinnertime due to such activities, you must provide your student(s) with instructions of how to prepare dinner. Generally, you will leave prepared foods in the refrigerator or on a dinner plate that the student will heat in the microwave oven. Please provide your student with as much advanced notice when such special dinner arrangements must be made, and please try to keep them to a minimum during the student’s stay with you.

Just as you may have to miss dinners with your student(s) and will so advise him or her, you should explain to your student(s) the importance of letting you know if he or she will be late for meals or miss meals. Many students will text or use their cell phone to let you know if they will not be home for dinner, but let your students know that the more advance notice that can be given, the better it will be for you in your dinnertime planning for your family.

Lunches
You are not required to provide lunches for your student except on Saturday and Sunday. Week-day lunches are not included in our Homestay Program tuition, but your student has several choices for lunch or mid-day meals. If your student wishes to prepare and bring his or her lunch to school each day, please take your student with you to the grocery store or supermarket where he or she may buy their own lunch foods to keep in your home refrigerator. Your student may also decide to purchase an OCU student ID card to which they can deposit money to use in the cafeteria. Also, there is a packet available from the Student Advisor listing restaurants like McDonalds, Taco Bueno, China House, Sala Thai, Quiznos, etc. located near OCU.

Snacks
In-between meal snack foods such as cookies, fruit, candy, potato chips, ice cream, cola and other drinks are also not included in the Homestay Program tuition. If your student wishes to have these foods on hand in the home for his or her own consumption, it is your student’s responsibility to buy them. Your student may accompany you to the grocery store or supermarket to select and buy these extra snacks or beverages and specialty foods to keep in the home refrigerator and pantry. Please respect these items and do not allow other family members to consume them without the student’s permission. Also, please advise your student that it is not a good idea to bring or keep food in the bedroom, because it may spill, spoil, or attract insects.

Speaking English The major purpose of ELS Language Centers is to provide intensive English instruction. Certainly, there are families who have immigrated to the U.S., and English is their second language. ELS has determined that, due to the inherent goal of English language study of our students, such Homestay Families should speak English at all times with near-native fluency and possess accents that are not uncharacteristic of American regional dialects. Concerns expressed by the student about language other than English being spoken in the home will constitute a valid reason to remove the student from the home and discontinue use of the home as an ELS Host Family residence.

Arrival of the Student – Students will arrive at the Host Family’s home on the Sunday before their course begins and depart from the home on the Saturday by noon, following the completion of their course. If a student under the age of 18 requests to arrive early and the Host Family can accommodate this request, a nightly fee will be charged to the student. All early arrivals and/or additional nights must be discussed with the Homestay Coordinator or the Center Director. The student must be able to move into the Host Family’s home on the Sunday preceding the start of the session. A smooth and pleasant Sunday arrival is critical to the success of the Host Family and student relationship.

An adult family member must be home to welcome the student upon arrival. In the event the Host Family will not be available on arrival Sunday arrangements can be made to accommodate the student with another Host Family until the original Host Family is available to receive this student. If the original Host Family is still unavailable on the Tuesday following the student’s scheduled arrival, they may lose the placement for that student and a different Host Family may be arranged by ELS to accommodate the student

Host Families should not plan to be away from the home during the student’s term of stay. If an absence is necessary the Homestay Coordinator must be notified, in order to make the appropriate arrangements for the student.

Transportation Transportation is not a requirement of Homestay Families, but can be provided on a voluntary basis. Unfortunately, our Oklahoma City transportation system is not very reliable, so it is a great help to our students if you volunteer to transport them to and from school. Students are assigned Homestay Families whose homes are located in safe and respectable areas of the city. The travel time from homestays to ELS is usually five to twenty-five minutes each way. Some families bring students to ELS on their way to work and pick students up on their way home from work. If you need to pick your student up after 3:34, they can study in the Library, work out at the Freede Wellness Center, or just hang out with their friends. Homestay Families who live near one another may choose to assist one another by carpooling to drop off or pick up their students. It is very important that students not arrive late for their first class which begins at 8:30 am. New Students must report to the ELS Center at 8:15 am on the first Monday of their program. Homestay Families may not charge students extra for transporting them to and from ELS.

On some weekday evenings and on certain weekends, ELS sponsors student activities such as bowling, roller/ice skating, shopping trips, on-campus entertainment, etc. Please encourage and help arrange for your student to participate in these extra activities. It may mean carpooling or additional trips to drop and pick up your student, but his or her participation in these sponsored activities is important to his or her total ELS experience. An activity calendar is given to students the first day of classes and will be posted on the Homestay Coordinator’s blog at http://www.homestayOKC.com. You are not responsible for transporting your student to their friends homes or activities they have planned on their own. They may need to take a cab or have a friend with a car pick them up and bring them home.

Hospitality/Friendship
In addition to the above-mentioned provisions for your Homestay Student, it goes without saying that hospitality and friendship are expected of the family!

Student/Host Family Incompatibility – Host Families have the right to request that a student be moved from their home if sufficient cause for the removal is documented and communicated to the Homestay Coordinator. If a student provides sufficient information regarding concerns about the assigned Host Family, the student also has the right to request and receive placement with a different Host Family. The request may be based on any one of the following reasons:

• The distance exceeds the 30-45 minutes travel time requirement to/from the ELS Center.

• There is another student in the home with the same first language/background.

• The meals provided do not meet ELS Host Family requirements or agreed to standards.

• The restrictions imposed by the Host Family are inappropriate to the student.

• The condition of the room does not meet the ELS Host Family requirements.

• There is a personal conflict between any member of the Host Family and the student.

• The Host Family cannot adequately carry out Host Family requirements and responsibilities.

• English is not being spoken as the primary language in the Host Family home.


What other matters are important to know for a successful Homestay experience?

Use of Equipment in the Home
The student’s way of life in his or her home country may be quite different from your own lifestyle here in the U.S. You will need to discuss your house rules as soon as the student is rested and comfortable from his or her travel. Show him or her how to use the kitchen appliances, TV, DVD, washer, dryer, microwave oven, etc. and make him or her aware of any restrictions. Note whether your student is absorbing your instructions, if not, perhaps notes should be provided for the use of each item. Discuss necessary subjects like meal times, self-help breakfast (if appropriate), telephone usage, access to refrigerator, food/beverages not available to them (i.e. snacks), home smoking policy, laundry procedures and frequency, etc.

Respect the Students Cultural Differences

Be tolerant of manners that may differ from your own. While unfamiliar social practices may seem inappropriate or unacceptable in our culture, they may be completely acceptable in the student’s culture. Discuss these differences without being critical and let students know which behaviors are unacceptable in your home and even inappropriate in our culture. For example, some students may not say please and thank you, as such is not done in their own homes or cultures. Appreciation may, instead, be shown in other ways. The more you and your student communicate, the more your student will learn what are acceptable and appropriate behaviors, and you will learn about other cultures.

Religious Beliefs
Please respect the religion of your student. Do not try to convert him or her to your faith. You may certainly invite your student to attend church services with you, and he or she may accept for reasons of politeness or curiosity. But if your student does not accept your invitation to go, please do not impose such upon the student. Remember, put yourself in your student’s shoes. If you were in your student’s country would you appreciate someone trying to impose a different religion upon you?

Physical Contact
Degrees of physical contact differ from culture to culture, just as is this case within our own. Members of some cultures kiss once or twice at each greeting while members of other cultures never touch unless it is in private or only in public and only among their own family members. If hugs and kisses are part of your family’s lifestyle, explain to your student that this is the way you show concern and caring, but be perceptive to the student’s reaction, and do not push for a reciprocal expression.

Student Personal Hygiene
Some personal hygiene habits will differ from country to country such as bathing, shaving, and laundering. In some cultures, body odor is completely acceptable, in fact, people just smell like people. This is contrary to the attitudes in western cultures where we aim to cloak our body odors with the use of deodorants, perfumes, and colognes. If you determine this to be a problem, please contact the Homestay Coordinator for assistance and suggestions in how best to approach these somewhat sensitive topics for students.

Share Your Lifestyle
Share your lifestyle with your student and make him or her part of the family to a great extent, but not fully. For example, never discuss personal or financial problems with your student. Arguments are part of the life of every family, but please keep this apart from the student and do not involve him or her. Instead, talk about the things you enjoy: movies, music, gardening, collecting, sports, etc. and find out what your student’s interests are. Ask about your student’s family, their countries, lifestyles, etc. The more you communicate, the more you will learn from each other. This helps provide your student with a relaxed atmosphere in your home.

Student Problems
If you become aware of a personal problem or difficulty that your student is experiencing (whether school-related or personal), please bring this to the attention of the Homestay Coordinator (Denny McConnell), ELS International Student Advisor (Ashley Ledford), or ELS Center Director (Nelson Einwaechter). Such matters are kept confidential unless the contrary is necessary and approved in order to provide a solution.

Napping
Expect students to nap often after school. This is common in many countries. Also, they may be exhausted after having to use English all the time. Many students continue to nap daily all the years they stay in the U.S.

Student Participation in Family Activities
Always invite your student to participate in family activities or outings. Since the student has selected the Homestay accommodation option, it is assumed that he or she will want to interact with you and your family in this way to improve his or her English skills. Often, because of such low English speaking skills, they seem distant or appear they don’t want to be involved.  Try to draw them out and they will improve much faster.

Communication with Your Student
Encourage your student to use a foreign language/English dictionary, especially if he or she is at the beginning or intermediate English levels (ELS Levels 101 to 106). Most students have one. Please exercise caution with respect to how much your student understands you. You may find that your student will indicate that he or she understands you (repeated head nods or use of the word yes) only to discover that very little was actually understood.

If your student fails to understand your instructions, try rephrasing and speak slowly and clearly. It is tiring initially for students to hear and speak continuously in English; however, encourage students to talk no matter how poor their English skills.

Household Duties and Tasks (Chores)
Some families assign students—as is the case with other family members—a few simple and light household duties or chores. Students should be encouraged to make their own beds and keep their rooms neat and clean. Students may be asked to help set the dinner table with plates and flat wear (knives, forks, spoons) and/or help to clear the table after the meals or perhaps help wash the dishes. Some students are also asked to help with minor chores in the home such as taking out the garbage, rolling the garbage container to the curb along with the recycle bin, etc. We ask students not to think of these duties as work. They should accept it as being part of a family and make a chore a learning experience and/or a time for conversation. However, always remember your student is a paying guest and should not be required to perform heavy household chores or duties.

It is important that our Homestay Families understand that we do not want any of our students in Homestays to be maids, servants, or housekeepers as they are paying for their Homestays. Rather, we have informed students that they may be expected—as temporary members of their American families—to help with household chores that are shared among the family members.

One chore that may be a family-shared household duty is babysitting. However, you should not expect babysitting from your student. He or she may not have the communicative skills to safely do so and may put your child at risk in the event of an emergency. Please consider the degree of risk and responsibility as well as the English proficiency level of your student if you assign chores. You may want to ask for an occasional favor of your student but it is important to remember that he or she is not a hired babysitter or handyman.

Access to the Home
Access to the home may vary among families. Some families may have children who are under curfew and may want their student to follow the same requirements, especially if ages of the child and the student are similar. Whichever is the case in your home, please explain your expectations to your student about acceptable times to be home at night and about home security. It would be appropriate for you to ask the student to give you an approximate time when he or she will be home each evening so that you will not worry. It would also be appropriate to give the student phone numbers to call if changes occur.

Vacations/Weekend Trips
At various times during the year Homestay Families may wish to take brief vacations or weekend trips. If you would like to invite your student with you on a vacation or trip, and it does not conflict with the student’s school schedule, you are free to do so. If the student will be responsible for any expenses, it is very important that these expenses be made known to him or her at the time the trip is discussed with him or her. No one likes unexpected expenses!

If you will be away from home at all during your student’s stay, you must discuss such with the Homestay Coordinator in advance of receiving your assigned student who will determine if your student should be moved to another home temporarily during your time away.

If you know you will be on an extended family vacation (five days or longer) during a session of study, it is recommended that you not host a student during that session. If an unexpected emergency arises that requires you to leave town (i.e. illness or death in the family, unexpected job-related travel, short trips, etc.), please discuss this with the Homestay Coordinator as soon as possible to discuss arrangements for your student during the time you will be away. It is always best if you know someone that could come to stay in your home while you are away, to make sure the student has meals and transportation to and from ELS. We also have our “ELS Hostel” available as a last resort, but it is best to not have to up-root the student from one home to another.

Use of Family Vehicles
We discourage families from allowing students to use family motor vehicles due to the liability issues involved. Students should be advised to either rent or buy vehicles if they are planning to be in the U.S. for an extended period. Some may have an International Driver’s License, but in Oklahoma, they must have an Oklahoma Driver’s License AND insurance. It’s just best to not allow them to drive your vehicle.

Use of Family Telephones
You will need to carefully explain your expectations of your student with respect to use of your telephone. Most students now have cell phones, but it is a good idea to establish an acceptable length of time for personal telephone calls on your home phone and, perhaps, the number of phone calls received or made daily. Please be reasonable with your student about telephone restrictions. We wouldn’t want him or her to feel that he or she is subject to the “one telephone call” typically permitted to jail inmates!

Students are informed that the use of your telephone is a privilege that should not be abused. If you wish your student to ask you when he or she may use the telephone, please inform your student of such. Students are told to keep their telephone calls brief. If a family member needs to use the telephone, the student should give up the phone for another to use it, especially if one must make an immediate phone call.

You should advise your student of the appropriate and inappropriate times to receive phone calls from friends and family in his or her home country, especially since in many instances there are time zone differences of many hours. Your student must tell his or her family and friends back home not to call your home late at night when the family is sleeping unless there is an emergency that cannot wait until morning. Late night phone calls are sources of anxiety for many families and may wake up family members who have difficulty going back to sleep thereafter.

All long distance phone calls must be made either collect or by using a phone card which can be bought at local convenience stores near OCU as ELS cannot be responsible for reimbursing phone calls made by students. Do not allow your student to make long distance calls and charge them to your telephone. We strongly recommend placing a long-distance phone block on your phone. This service is typically available through your long-distance provider.

Please talk with your student about 900 or 976 numbers (adult lines, psychic lines, etc.) that they may see advertised on television, which have expensive costs associated with them. You must advise your student that he or she is not permitted to call these 900 numbers.

Telephone deposits may not be collected from your student. ELS takes no responsibility for unpaid telephone or other expenses incurred at the home by the student. These matters must be discussed and solved between the student and the Host Family

Internet

For students with laptops (and homes with broadband internet access), a wonderful alternative to long distance phone use is to encourage the student to use Skype, Google Video Chat, or other over-the-internet video/phone technologies. These are typically free or very low cost and would neither tie up your phone line nor incur charges on your phone bill.

Student Injury or Illness/Insurance
You are in no way responsible for financially covering student injury or illness. All ELS students have medical and hospitalization insurance either through ELS Language Center, through an independent insurance company in their home country that extends coverage to the U.S., or through the student’s own travel insurance. It is always a good idea to ask your student to provide you with copies of his or her medical insurance information for emergencies. All ELS students who have paid for medical insurance through ELS Language Center have an insurance ID card that is updated each session that the student is enrolled.

For your information, the plan provided to students who elect their coverage through ELS Language Center has the following basic provisions:

There is a $50 deductible.
100 percent coverage is provided for the first $5,000 in medical expenses for sickness or accident.
Maternity coverage is provided.
The benefit coverage is 26 weeks. (This refers to the length of time medical care coverage is provided for a single illness or accident. For example, if therapy is needed following an accident, the last appointment covered is 26 weeks following the accident.)
There is no dental coverage provided unless there is an accident to sound teeth.

Financial Guidelines

Payment for Homestay Students
ELS students pay all fees, including Homestay fees, directly to ELS Language Centers. The Host Family will never collect fees directly from students. Every four weeks ELS remits the fees collected to to the Home Office in New Jersey and they, in turn, remit a Wire Transfer Fee to the Homestay Coordinator. The Homestay Coordinater then pays the homestay families (you). Homestay fees are normally paid sometime during the latter part of the first week the student is living in your home.

The Host Family should not discuss personal financial matters or the fees they receive from ELS for providing Host Family accommodations with the students. Discussing such matters may result in termination of the Host Family from the ELS Language Centers Homestay Program. If your student wants to discuss his finances, you may direct him to talk with the ELS Registrar (Charles).

Problems/Conflicts
Notify the Homestay Coordinator first. She will then offer an immediate recommendation or solution, or delay a response until she has the opportunity to discuss the situation with the appropriate ELS staff members.

Important Year-End Tax Information
Keeping students in your home is not only fun, it is actually a little cottage industry. At the end of the tax year you will receive a 1099-Misc Form from us (Non-employee Compensation). When completing your tax forms, you will use Schedule C and can use Form #8829 along with the Schedule C.

For this reason you will want to keep all receipts and keep good records of everything that you do with and for your student(s). If you keep really good records most of the income you receive will be offset by your deductions and well worth the effort.

Following is a pretty comprehensive list of items to keep track of in your records.

Grocery Receipts and Restaurant Receipts
For when you buy food or eat out with your student.

How to figure food deductions.
You will need to figure what percentage to deduct, depending on how many students you keep and mark the percent right on your receipt.

Examples:
Family of one with one student = Deduct 50%
Family of one with two students = Deduct 66%
Family of two with one student = Deduct 33%
Family of two with two students = Deduct 50%
Family of three with one student = Deduct 25%
Family of three with two students = Deduct 40%

Utilities and Home Maintenance
Utilities are obvious things like electricity, gas, water, garbage, telephone, internet, cable, etc. Maintenance can be painting, lawn care, homeowner’s insurance, housecleaning, light bulbs, etc.

How to figure utilities deductions.
In general, all expenses are figured on the percentages presented above.

Student’s Room
Any area of your home that is used exclusively by your student(s), like their bedroom and bathroom, would be figured at 100 percent. Anything you buy special just for them such as sheets, towels, bed, rugs, curtains, desks and other furniture, lamps, paint for their room, etc., will be figured at the 100 percent deduction.

Mileage
Either keep actual mileage or calculate how many times a month you take your student to school and pick them up (4 times a day times the miles to school). Also, keep mileage to restaurants, the grocery store, the movie theatre, shopping with or for your student, or anywhere you go with your student. Get a little mileage log book at the office supply to write your mileage in.

Important Phone Numbers

ELS Center – 405-525-3738

Nelson Einwaechter, Center Director

Ashley Glenn, (ISA) International Student Adviser

Charles Shah, Registrar

Homestay Coordinator – Denny McConnell

Home – 405-604-8780

Cell – 405-203-6536

Work – 405-947-3800

Conclusion

We hope that this booklet has provided you with the information you need in order to make your participation in the ELS Homestay Program a successful and rewarding experience for both you and your family. Remember to relax and have fun as you get to know your student. You are creating bridges between cultures by opening up your home to a student from another nation.

As you can see, there appear to be two basic dimensions to being a homestay family for an international student: (1) sharing your lifestyle with a person from another country, and (2) providing a helping hand.

We hope you will, therefore, open your home and your heart to our international students who want to get to know you and your family, learn English, and learn about our culture with your help.

*Note: If there is a topic or question you have which has not been covered in this booklet, please let us know so that information may be included in future versions of the booklet.

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One Comment on “Family Handbook”

  1. Nawaf Alhusayni says:

    I like this program


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