by Shekainah Shamma Liong Santiago

For the past five years, AFS IPP has been instrumental in uniting students from different parts of the globe alongside with the volunteers, host families and schools across the region of Northern Mindanao. This is to open the world to their homes and experience flamboyant cultures and become peace loving individuals of a connected and cooperative global community.

At the end of every cycle, each host families confirmed the learning experiences and the lifelong impact of hosting foreign participants.

Here are the 3 major benefits of Hosting Foreign students in your home:


AFS IPP purposely matches students and host families with different languages to best implement Intercultural Learning. With these language barriers, Intercultural Learning experiences reveal that people eventually use gestures as a communication tool to express their ideas. Among the members of the host family, it is the kids below 10 years of age who learn fast enough to even communicate using the foreign language.

A host mother of 6 kids explained how her children learned the basic French greetings when they hosted a French-speaking girl from France. While she was having a difficulty of remembering simple phrases in French, her kids have already mastered hundreds of French Vocabularies.


The greatest by-product of intercultural exchange is the web of lifelong friends that spans the globe. Local host families in Dapitan City reported that their host students regularly keep in touch with them even years after their program ends.

It’s not uncommon for host families also to travel to their hosted student’s home country to visit and meet their families. Hosting definitely opens the door to an exciting new world of relationships and experiences.


A family that adopts foreign students is in a position to give love and teach the young minds that the world can maintain peace amidst diversity.

Our research of the Intercultural Learning Experiences in Northern Mindanao reveals that most foreign participants from Europe and America are living with either one parent. These teenagers mostly grew in an atmosphere where both parents are not present in the house.

The Hosting experience gives them the opportunity to live in a home with both parents to love them. Hosted participants appreciate the value of a family and to keep the peace when intercultural conflict arises. This teaches both sides that we can all be agents of peace and love in a world full of misunderstanding and adversity.

The Hosting Experiences show that the most important things in the world cannot be seen or touch but can only be felt by the heart.