Welcome to Bethany Christian Schools student residential life! We hope that all boarding students will experience their host family situation to be comfortable and nurturing and that they will be willing to grow and cooperate within their host family structure. We also hope that Bethany host families will experience joy and blessing in sharing their home and lives with someone from another culture or outside of their immediate family.
The following guidelines will assist both the guest student and the host family in understanding the expectations of Bethany Christian’s international and guest students within the host family situation. We trust that in sharing a common understanding the hosting situation can be a mutually satisfying experience.
Community and Respect
Living with a host family means living as a part of a community. To maintain a positive community environment, we understand the importance of having respect for others, for property, and for the guidelines and rules that have been established by the host family.
Living with a Bethany host family is a privilege and will be a time of growth for all involved. Knowing that structure and boundaries are essential for group living and learning responsibility, guest students will abide by the expectations of Bethany Christian Schools and the host family’s house rules. A positive attitude toward these expectations will help to make community living a better experience.
English is the common language that is to be spoken at all times both at school and home, unless in a private space with friends who share the same native language, or in communication with those in your home country.
Communication Between Guest Students and Host Families
It is Bethany’s expectation that clear two way communication is happening at all times between guest students and host parents. Guest students are expected to ask permission from and coordinate with their host families when they plan to stay after school for activities, spend the night away from their host home, attend or participate in a social function, wish to participate in extracurriculars, etc. Host parents care about their guest students and both want and need to know where they are at all times. Before permission will be granted, the host family will be consulted and the following information will be provided:
- where you will be
- who you will be with
- a number where you can be reached
- what you will be doing
- when you will be back
Guest students will be expected to comply with the curfew arranged between the guest student and host parents. The following curfews are suggested:
- Friday/Saturday- home by 12:00/12:30 a.m. quiet and in bedroom
- Sunday-Thursday- home by 9:30/10:30 p.m. quiet and in bedroom
Activities and Privileges
Bethany expects that guest students will participate in the activities of the host family including:
- Participating in family meals and being polite about the food that is provided
- Assisting with household chores as requested by the host parents
- Taking advantage of the opportunity to experience the social activities of your host family, for example; joining in family games, going shopping together, enjoying a Saturday morning breakfast, sharing cooking responsibilities, watching or going to a movie together, etc.
- Participating in church and church activities with the host family. If student attends Korean Church on Sunday afternoons, participation in host family’s church is not mandatory.
Although not required, it is STRONGLY recommended that all Korean students attend the Korean church fellowship that meets at Waterford Mennonite Church on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m.
In many cases, students will have their own bedroom.
Students should consider how their study habits and recreational use of technology affects those around them, including, but not limited to computer and cell phone. The host family will expect that students maintain a balanced and healthy extracurricular/school work/sleep routine. If the balance begins to interfere with family life or is no longer healthy, adjustments will be expected.
Students are responsible for keeping their own room clean and neat.
Guest students and their biological parents are responsible for Bethany school tuition/fees and the cost of lunches on school days. These matters must be dealt with directly between the biological family and the school.
Students are also responsible to cover the cost of all school supplies and toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, soap, etc.) and other incidental items they wish to purchase during the year. This can be handled in a number of ways, ideally with a credit card provided by the guest student’s biological parents.
Most large bills are handled through the school office directly with the biological family. If the host parents receive a bill from a teacher for a school related expense, for example, choir or orchestra tour, etc., they should turn the bill in to the school business office where it will be added to the student’s account.
Bethany requests that host parents refrain from loaning money to their guest students.
Guest students are required to provide proof of insurance and full immunization records to the school office.
In the cases where emergency medical care is required, host parents will access treatment at the nearest emergency room, urgent care center, or other appropriate facility (dental, mental health, etc.). It is recommended that routine medical and dental care occur during school breaks in the guest student’s home environment under the supervision of their biological families. If non-urgent medical care must be provided during the school year, care may be sought at the host family physician’s office.
Sports physicals will be obtained (for free) each spring for returning students for the following year’s athletic seasons. New students who wish to participate in sports must obtain a sports physical at their own expense prior to beginning athletic practices.
Communication with Biological Family/Signing Official Documents
Host families may want/need to communicate with biological parents during the school year. Guest students are expected to provide current and accurate contact information for their biological parents to both the school and their host parents.
Please note that biological families may not speak English, in which case creativity will have to be employed.
Host parents are considered guardians and as such are authorized to sign Permission for Treatment and Travel forms (if not signed by biological parents) and school permission slips for involvement in school year activities.
If biological family members are visiting the guest student, it is not the responsibility of the host family to provide food, lodging, or transportation services for the biological family members. If family members do stay with the host family, these arrangements need to be made through Bethany's admission office.
Bethany/Host Family Policies
Guest students are expected to abide by the behavior and conduct standards outlined in the Bethany Parent/Student Handbook on all matters. In addition, note the following:
- TV: Individual TV’s are discouraged in bedrooms
- Computers: It is strongly recommended that guest students bring their own computer with them so that the host family maintains their own full access. Computers are a privilege. Host families may reserve the right to limit computer usage time.
- Telephone: Students are required to provide their own cell phones and cell phone plans. Please note that it is not polite to text on your cell phone in social settings. Remember to exercise consideration for others in the use of your cell phone. For short local calls guest students are welcome to use the host family phone. It is suggested that students be off the phone by 10:30 p.m. unless given permission by their host parents.
- Music: Respect your host family with regard to the volume of the music you choose to enjoy. If using headphones, please be aware of those around you and remove the headphones or ear buds during family and large group times.
- Dress Code: Students must follow the school dress code stated in the student handbook. Bethany expects that after school and on the weekend guest student clothing styles and modesty levels will be consistent with the host family’s expectations and practice.
- Social Standards: Students are expected to follow the social standards for interaction between males and females that are outlined in the student handbook under “Student Relationships.” In general terms Bethany operates a “hands off” policy. Students are encouraged to have many friends at school and to participate in social events and gatherings as well as having friends to their host family’s home for visits. Students and host families should communicate about how to facilitate this happening.
- Host Family Discipline: The goal of any discipline system is to provide students with the opportunity to learn and grow; being challenged to exhibit their best behavior, and offering respect for others and maturing over time. It is hoped that discipline will not need to be used by the host family while the guest student is living with them. However, in the event that discipline is required, host parents are encouraged to create a positive discipline system, trusting and giving privileges until the student proves that he/she needs more structure and boundaries. In the event that consequences are required, host parents are authorized to devise the best system to help the student. When the host family desires support and feedback they are welcome to contact the school or seek support from the International Student PTO Action Group.
- Transportation:Host parents are prepared to arrange transportation so guest students may get to where they NEED to be and often where they WANT to go. It is assumed that guest students will be respectful of the host family’s time and the other members of the family who also have needs that must be met.
- Property Damage at the Host Family Home:Students are responsible to report any damage they cause whether intentional or accidental. The damage will be assessed on an individual basis and the appropriate next steps will be taken. Bethany reserves the right to charge the full cost of the repair or replacement for damage to the student’s account. Deliberate damage should be reported for administrative action.
- Laundry: It is not assumed that the host family will provide laundry services for guest students. Students may be expected to do their own laundry and to coordinate with their host family to schedule convenient times to do so. If a guest student does not know how to operate the laundry machines, the host family will help them to learn.
International Program Resources
Hospitality Homes are families associated with the school who desire to occasionally host students in Bethany’s residential program. This is an opportunity for students to experience a different family atmosphere, as well as offer the host families a break. Students are expected to treat the hospitality families with the utmost respect.
International Student PTO Action Group meets 8-9 p.m. at The Brew on the second Monday evening of each month. For more details regarding this group’s activities, see below.
Admissions and International Student Director works at recruiting and orienting new international students, offers the first line of direct support to current international students and their host families, and oversees the total educational experience of current international students.
Host families are not encouraged to take guest students on vacations with them. Guest students are welcomed to visit their hospitality family or stay at another friend’s house during those times. Host families are not expected to house their guest students during the following holidays:
- Christmas Break
- Summer Break
Exceptions will be processed with Bethany's admissions and international student director.
Host families are responsible to both pick up and drop off their students at the airport or arrange to see that this is done. When arranging transportation to and from the United States, guest students must provide their own transportation into and out of South Bend, Ind. The host parents are not expected to pick up/drop off students further away than South Bend.
International Student PTO Action Group
This PTO AG will be meeting regularly to support the work of Bethany Christian Schools’ residential student program, which primarily hosts students from international settings. The goals of this group are threefold:
- To support the administration in thoughtful process of issues surrounding the participation of international students at Bethany. Bethany coordinates two annual gatherings for the host families and their guest students:
- a pizza party in September
- an international potluck in March
- To support the households that agree to host international students with:
- connection to other host families and moral support (monthly meeting at The Brew, 8-9 p.m. second Monday of each month)
- problem solving with regard to daily living issues
- information pertaining to medical care
- respite options and the organization of Hospitality Homes
- support when housing arrangements are not working well
- To serve as advocates for the international students in relation to:
- physical needs (housing, food, physical activity, transportation)
- emotional support
- spiritual support
- connections to the broader community
Length of Term
Typically host families agree to house guest students for a length of one (1) school year, from mid-August through May. Terms may be extended upon review by the school, host parents and guest students. Mid-term reviews will take place in early-mid November (via phone/email) and again in April-May of each year (via phone/email).
Additionally, the admissions and international student director will conduct an annual written review completed by both guest students and host families.
Host Family Changes
When a student or host family is seriously concerned about a situation, the following steps will be taken before any housing changes will be considered:
- The student will raise the concern with the admissions and international student director so that the school understands there is a concern.
- The student and his/her host family will meet separately with the admissions director to explain their individual perspectives on the situation.
- The student and his/her host family will meet with the admissions director, guidance counselor and any other appropriate person (for example the chair of the International Student PTO AG, a Bible teacher, or another administrator) to work at conflict mediation, and to devise a satisfactory way forward.
- Any consideration of a housing change will happen after these meetings have occurred. When necessary, the admissions director and guidance counselor will facilitate this process.
- Except in cases of an emergency, any changes will occur at the end of the current semester.
This procedure can take several weeks to resolve given the constraints of the schedules of those required to be involved in the process.