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Cultural Homestay International


Cultural Homestay International is an international non-profit organization dedicated to increasing cultural awareness through people-to-people exchanges. CHI believes that the best way to build bridges and friendships between culture is to experience different cultures, values, and customs first-hand.

In the spirit of cross-cultural exchange, CHI offers volunteer and language learning opportunities in countries around the world. Scroll through the options below and visit the CHI website to learn more about they variety of volunteer abroad programs available.


255 West End Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
United States

New Programs Annoucement

In addition to our usual homestay programs, we are excited to announce that we also have some Au Pair Abroad, International Internship and Volunteer Abroad opportunities in select countries. We can also design Gap Year by combining multiple programs tailor made just for you!



When I found this program on the internet, I was scared to inquire about the details of it. I have teaching experience, but never with a foreign language, therefore I felt defeated before I had even started. I emailed Heidi Smith who is in charge of the World Explorers Program at CHI and she set up an in-person meeting right away. I asked so many questions about the program and Heidi answered them and eased any fears I had about staying with a host family and teaching them English. After the application process I was paired up with an amazing family in Torino Italy consisting of 3 daughters, a mother and father, and a beautiful golden retriever named buddy. I was able to Skype with the family a few times before traveling to stay with them. The family was so welcoming and made me feel at home. We worked on English and they taught me some Italian. They were wonderful guides, showing me the beautiful city of Torino. Heidi checked in on me throughout my stay and always made me feel comfortable to ask questions or inform her about my experience. I loved working with this family so much! They came to California in July 2015 to come and see me and it was great to be able to show them around San Francisco. If it were not for this program I would have never developed a love for living abroad, teaching English, and new Italian family members .

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change anything, it would just be to have more resources to be able to teach them English properly.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Where would I be invited to attend a wedding a year from now and held in regards comparable to family? How would my perspective on another country be changed? Is it possible to comprehend a foreign language after having begun studying it barely two before arriving?

If you want to know the answers any of these questions with even the slightest passion, this program and the people in it will win you over.
The answers to all of these passed me with flying colors and many more are waiting to be proposed. And connections you convinced yourself you would never make are forged in that very month.
When you think you're all alone, you realize just how crowded the world really is.

Yes, I recommend this program
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I had a wonderful time in Japan through CHI. They set me up with awesome host families and provided me with materials that helped me teach the families. I had enough free time to do my own traveling and really experience the culture and people of Japan!

How can this program be improved?
Maybe try to asses how well the host family speaks English and let the the person know before they travel and meet the host family. That way they can prepare for the lessons a little better before they leave on their trip.
Yes, I recommend this program
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I loved my stay in France. I learned so much. My family was so kind and lovely. We had a lot of fun sharing food and culture. I went on vacations with them and spoke English with the children. It was great because I also got a few weeks to travel and I also got to practice my French a lot too! I stayed in Normandy about an hour outside of Paris by train. I recommend this experience for sure!

How can this program be improved?
Have the expectations for both parties more clearly outlined
Yes, I recommend this program
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I went to Spain and spent 3 months in both Madrid (2 weeks) and Algeciras (2 months). I definitely recommend traveling abroad to anyone and everyone with the opportunity to do so. It is a unique experience that gives you a valuable perspective on your current life, no matter where you go.

With this program, you are teaching English to the children of the host families. I would almost always speak English to the kids and spanish to the parents. For me, the teaching was mostly conversational and I really liked that about it -- it's a breath of fresh air to get away from the books for a few months. There is a lot of time to hang out and do fun things while technically "working". For example, we went to the grocery store to learn names of fruits and vegetables, we learned conversational vocal while watching Harry Potter, and we practiced our grammar while writing letters to each other. The program is very open to your own interpretation of how you want to teach. That's the best part about it.

How can this program be improved?
I would recommend some transparency with the cost. Although the price is modest for everything we receive, I am pretty sure a good portion of the cost is administrative.

I would also recommend finding another way to present the orientation materials. I glanced at them at the beginning and did not touch them during my stay, and I know I'm not the only participant to do so. Video or picture works best with the content. I'd leave documents to concrete items, such as a sample schedule for the week or lists of ideas of things to talk about or to do with the kids we are teaching.

Lastly, I think there should be a survey that families and participants fill out in order to find better matches such that each party receives exactly what they are looking for in this experience.
Yes, I recommend this program


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Professional Associations

Alliance for International Exchange logo
USA Gap Year Fairs logo
World Youth and Student Travel Conference logo