Homestay Abroad

  • Teaching English in a homestay is your chance to teach English to your host family while gaining a deeper understanding of a country and culture.

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Travel as an English language tutor while living with a local host family.

Live like a local while tutoring your host family in conversational English 15 hours a week! We're here to help you on every step of the application and pre-departure process. Let us help you get started on choosing the right program for you!


Zoe Coulter

Homestay Programs Expert

Why Greenheart Travel?

We’re your personal cheerleaders as you navigate the unpredictable joys, surprises, and challenges of life abroad. With unrivaled support and guidance, we give you the tools to make sure you’re more than a tourist, you’re a world citizen. You don’t just travel for the sights, you travel for a change!

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How to Get Started

Ready to jump into the world of Teaching English in a Homestay? Here are the basics and frequently asked questions. We're also available via phone and email if you have questions anytime.

As an English tutor in a homestay, you will teach informal English language lessons for 15 hours a week, and no teaching experience is necessary! This is a wonderful opportunity to dip your feet into life as an English teacher abroad without having to commit to a semester or yearlong contract.

Teaching in a Homestay allows you to:

  • Live with a welcoming host family
  • Gain tutoring experience with language lessons 15 hours per week
  • Enjoy the independence and freedom to explore the area on your days off
  • Spend 1 – 3 months living abroad
  • Have host family accommodations and meals included in the program

While this is a volunteer position, the rewards of this meaningful cultural exchange experience carry on long after you return home!


Teach in a Homestay Program Deadlines:

Greenheart Travel’s Teach in a Homestay programs have twice monthly start dates and application deadlines year round. However, there are some points to keep in mind for certain destinations.

Teach in a Homestay in Spain

  • This program is very popular and requires some flexibility with teacher’s schedules.
  • We need at least 8 weeks lead time to secure a host family, but we recommend applying earlier than that if your time frame is not flexible.
  • Many Spanish families travel on vacation or holiday during the month of August and placements can be scarce.
  • We recommend applying well ahead of time if you can only participate in August since the placement process could take longer than normal.

Program Discounts:

Greenheart Exchange Host Family Discount:

Families who have hosted a student through Greenheart Exchange in the United States are eligible for the following program discounts. Programs must start within 12 months of the last date of hosting a student.

  • Hosted one semester or less receive $100 off your program
  • Hosted one full semester or longer receive $200 off your program

English teachers will be matched with a host family, depending on the best fit regarding interests and English tutoring needs.

Host families vary in size and might include a retired couple, or a family with small children. All homestay teachers will be given their own single room in the host family’s home, but you may be required to share a bathroom and living space with the family.

Each country destination offers placements in various regions across the country, and teachers will live with a local host family during the program. You will receive your host family contact information prior to departure.

A large percentage of the host family placements are in small towns outside of major urban areas, and located throughout the country (with the exception of a few destinations). It is very important to be flexible in your placement location, as we cannot guarantee placement in a specific region or city.

Please refer to our Teach in a Homestay program pages for more information.

Host Family Accommodations

Homestay participants live with a local host family during the program. Host families apply in a similar way to participants and Greenheart Travel will match you based on living preferences and personal interests. Host families are not compensated for hosting and host only in exchange for the English lessons.

Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process. Participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must:

  • Successfully pass a criminal background check
  • Undergo and pass an in-person interview with program staff
  • Agree to and pass a home inspection

Participants will have their own private room but may share a bathroom and living areas with the host family. Host families also provide three meals per day except on when going out to restaurants.

As an English teacher in a homestay, you will be warmly welcomed into a host family’s home, while having the opportunity to explore the region on your own.

Making the decision to live abroad as can be both exciting and a bit daunting, and there are a lot of questions to consider. We understand your concerns and the Greenheart Travel staff is there for you every step of the way! Here are some of the common questions we get from travelers as they consider the program.


Application process

What does it mean to be in good mental health in the program eligibility requirements?

Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to the most well adjusted person. Sending someone abroad with pre-existing mental health conditions could exacerbate whatever challenges they were previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of our applicants.

While we have accepted applications who have struggled with mental illness within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition, we may require additional documentation from your doctor to ensure your health and safety.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Depression
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Debilitating anxiety
  • Eating disorders

If the applicant’s mental health issue has been resolved (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will ask for a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc.) as part of the application process.

Do I need to speak the language of my host country?

While it is not a requirement that participants speak the language of their host country, it is recommended that participants try to learn some basic words and phrases before arriving. It always makes your life easier if you speak a bit of the local language.


Preparing for your trip

Do I need to get a visa?

It varies by destination, and a visa may be required for a tourist stay of up to 90 days. Greenheart Travel will provide you information about applying for a visa, but please check with the embassy of your host country to verify, as visa requirements may change.

What should I bring as a gift for my host family?

It’s a great idea to bring a small gift with you for your host family. It would be nice to bring something that represents where you are from. Common gifts are chocolates, wine, coffee mugs, t- shirts, etc. Read this blog post for more tips.

When can I book my flights?

Though you may be eager to book flights to your destination country, please wait until you receive your placement details after you have been accepted into the program. You will confirm your start dates with your host family prior to booking flights. Greenheart Travel is not responsible for fees associated with flight changes or cancellations.

Does Greenheart Travel book flights or give flight discounts?

No. Greenheart Travel cannot book your flights for you and we do not offer any discounts on flights.

Can I change my length of stay while I’m on the program?

You should know exactly the length of time you wish to be in the country at the time of your application. Your host family may not be available beyond the length of time you applied for, so if you wish to extend once on the program, you may have to pay an additional placement fee to place you with a new family.

Teaching English

Do I have to prepare a curriculum or lesson plan?

English lessons are very informal and there is no provided curriculum, however participants should be prepared to put together a lesson plan for each tutoring session. Greenheart Travel will provide a list of resources (including sample lesson plans) to help you come up with fun ideas for teaching your host family. Typically families will just request that you speak English with them over dinner or for a certain amount of time during the day.

Am I required to buy teaching materials for my lessons?

You are not required to purchase extra teaching materials for lessons, and in many cases they are not necessary. If you wish to bring any, we encourage you to be creative and utilize materials you have in your home or ask the host family if they have any.


Free time

What will I do when I’m not teaching the family?

When you are not teaching your host family English, you will have time to explore your new home and surrounding towns and cities.

Will I be able to travel during my free time?

While we encourage exploring your town and nearby areas, you should only plan 1 or 2 weekend trips, and should leave any major excursions for before or after your program.


Host families and placements

What level of English do the host families have?

The level of English will vary depending on the host family, but most will be at the beginner level and will only have basic knowledge of English.

When do you start the host family search?

We only start searching for your host family after you have finished the application, been accepted onto the program and made your second payment ($500) that goes towards the total fee.

How long does it take to be placed with a family?

After you’ve been accepted onto the program and paid the $500 commitment payment, it takes an average of 1-2 months to place you with a host family.

Can I choose where I will be placed with my host family?

No. You can choose your destination country, but you must be flexible about where you are placed within that country. We can never guarantee placements in any specific city or region, and we match based on compatibility with the host family and availability. 

Once I receive my placement, can I request to change it?

No, we do not change host families based on preferences or location. If you request to change your host family after you have been placed, you will forfeit your $500 placement deposit.

What if I don’t like my host family? Can I request a new one?

No. We do not change host families based on preferences or location. However, once you are on the program and if issues arise, we will handle them on a case-by-case basis and will make changes if necessary.

Can I be placed with my friend/spouse/significant other?

At the moment the only country we are able to place couples is in France (extra fee required). It is okay to apply with friends and family; however, you would be placed in separate homes, ideally within the same region. In France, we can guarantee friends placed in different homes in the same town for an extra fee.


Life on the program

Will I have to speak English all the time?

You only are required to speak English during the 15 hours of English lessons each week. The rest of the time, please feel free to practice speaking the language of your host country.

What will I do in my free time?

Outside of the 15 hours a week, the time is really yours to do what you like. Some people take language classes on their own, some explore the city on walking tours or visiting museums, some people write a blog or run an online business, some people spend it with their host family. It really depends on you and what you’re interested in experiencing while in the country!


Why Greenheart?

What have others said about this program?
Read reviews from our past participants on review sites such as and

Why should I choose Greenheart Travel?

Greenheart Travel provides 24-hour support to you and your child throughout the application, program and alumni processes. We pride ourselves on providing personal and responsive support throughout the entire application process and while your student is on program, giving you a peace of mind that all your questions and concerns will be addressed by a personal program manager you know by name.

Committing to a teach in a homestay abroad program is an exciting time, and we are here every step of the way to make the application process as simple as possible.

We recommend you apply 3 months prior to when you want to be in the country (minimum 2 months).

Below are the steps you’ll need to take to be accepted on a Greenheart Travel program. Once you start your application, you have two weeks to finish.

1. Ensure Your Eligibility: The eligibility requirements, such as age or language proficiency, may be required for certain destinations. Please consult the individual program pages for more information.

2. Start Your Application Here (Approximately 5 Minutes): Greenheart Travel Application.

3. Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 10 Minutes): After you complete Part 1 of your application, you will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.

4. Submit your deposit (Approximately 5 minutes): You will need to submit your $300 deposit at this point in the process. A deposit is required in order to reserve your spot on the program and is subtracted from your total program fee. It’s rare that our homestay applications are denied, but if you are not accepted on the program you will be refunded the deposit.

5. Secondary Application Form (Approximately 30 Minutes): This is the most in-depth part of the application process as it helps us get to know you better. You will need to provide detailed information about yourself, why you want to go abroad, and what you hope to gain from your experience.

6. Skype Interview (Approximately 15 Minutes): The final step of the application process will require you to have a Skype interview with your program manager to discuss the program and your goals for being a tutor on this program

7. Acceptance: Once you’ve completed all the steps, Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 business days about your acceptance the next steps.

Required Documents:

  • A letter of recommendation (personal or professional)
  • A “dear host family” letter introducing yourself
  • A photo album with 5-7 recent photos of you (used for your host family to get to know you)
  • Copy of your passport
  • Completed background check. If you are a U.S. citizen we can provide you a free, online service.

After Applying, Now What?

Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2 weeks to confirm your acceptance. If we find something in your application that we have concerns about, we will let you know immediately. However, 95% of applicants are accepted on the program they apply for.

Your program manager will be in touch with you directly about your acceptance. You should expect to receive a program handbook via email, which talks more about your program, as well as supplemental information about dealing with culture shock and our insurance program. We will also schedule an online pre-departure orientation to answer any lingering questions you may have.

Payment Schedule

All payments go towards the total program fee. You will be required to pay a $300 deposit when you submit your application, and then a second $300 placement deposit will be due when you are ready for us to start working on your host family placement. (It takes 1-2 months from when you make the commitment deposit to find a host family, so please plan accordingly.)

The final balance of the program is due 35 days before departure. We do not deviate from this schedule and you can pay online via credit card.

Want to chat about your questions and the program? Set up a call to chat with us here:

Not sure where to start?

We’re happy to send you an email with more information and get you in touch with a program expert to guide you through the process.