Bringing the World to Your Home

Kaplan International Students
Kaplan International Students

Traveling the world and experiencing new cultures can be a rewarding experience, but for many of us the constraints of time or money (or both!) can get in the way.  Portland’s Kaplan International School (KI) offers the next best thing with their homestay program; a chance for Portland residents to meet new people and learn about cultures from all over the world.  Kelly, a host mother since 2011, had this to say:

“I’m an avid traveler, or I used to be anyway. I haven’t gone anywhere in a very long time! I guess this is why I love hosting students so much. One month, I’m in Brazil; the next month, in Thailand! I get to experience the country and culture without having to spend money on flights and hotels. It’s also great for my daughter to have this experience – it allows her to be more accepting and tolerant of differences.”

KI provides English Language instruction to thousands of students worldwide. In addition to English instructions, KI provides students with finding a place to live during their stay in Portland. This gives the students the opportunity to not only improve their English ability through conversation, but also the greater opportunity of getting to experience life in an American home.  Linda Mladinov, a 22 year-old from Switzerland, looked forward to the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in particular during her stay.

Being a host family for an international student is a rewarding experience for both students and hosts. Our current families reflect the diversity of North American households including young, senior, single parent families, families with children or without. The main requirement is a willingness to open their homes and share their lives with our international students.

KI is expecting an influx of arrivals in the Spring, and is looking for families like you to take part in this exciting program. If you have a spare bedroom that you are looking to fill, and would like the enriching experience of learning about a new culture and hosting international students, please contact Candy Litimco, Student Services and Accommodations Manager by phone at  503-345-0159 or email to

Homestay families do receive compensation for opening up their homes to visitors from abroad.

Here’s what more of our students and hosts had to say about this program:

“Living in a homestay has been very rewarding for me. I live in a nice house surrounded by a completely different culture, and I am very involved in my family’s daily life. I’ve experience firsthand the generosity, openness, and kindness of American people.” Linda Mladinov, Switzerland, 22

“My host family is very nice! They have 2 children, but they have also treated me as one of their children. We watch movies together, and talk every night so I can practice my English. They help me when I need help, especially during the first few weeks when I would often get lost in Portland.” Abdulaziz Al Shohail, Saudi Arabia, 18

 “I enjoy having students around! We are a big family! My favorite part of the day is when the whole family gathers at the dining table and we talk about our day.”  Laurie, Host Family (January 2014 to Present)

By Candy Litimco