Hosting an AFS international student is your family’s chance to experience a new culture in your own home. AFS friendships last a lifetime, expand your horizons and give you a new son or daughter. AFS offers support through the entire process.

AFS doesn’t pay host families. Instead our host families are volunteers, (AFS is a charity), inviting a student into their home, and making them part of the the family. Students are expected to do dishes, make their beds, everything a member of the household is expected to do! Additionally, AFS students are not international students, once in New Zealand they are domestic students. If you would like to find out more please feel free to call us, 0800 600 300.

‘I would like say a big thank you to everyone who has made this year the best of my life, especially all my amazing friends and wonderful host family.’ Frida from Sweden – her new host family in Opotiki

‘I had a lovely family and as I am an only child at home, I had for the first time the experience of having a (host) sister.’ Jonas from Switzerland – his new host family in Wellington

AFS host families are as diverse as we are, including…..

  • Mum, dad and kids
  • Mum and dad
  • Nana and grandad
  • Mum and the cat
  • Mum and mum or
  • Dad and dad

If you have more questions call the Programme Team on 0800 600 300 or 04 903 2276 (or email [email protected]) Or if you would prefer to host a teacher or educator, please click here.

It can't be described, it has to be experienced!

“Not only does the student become part of our family, but their family becomes part of ours and ours part of theirs. We’ve met our host son Edison’s parents and sister. It makes the events that happen in their part of the world more real. It makes the world a smaller place.”
Lucy Brown, AFS host mum, Greymouth

“If you’re not going overseas yourself, it’s almost the same kind of experience in terms of having someone from somewhere else, the opposite side of the of the world, living in your house and bringing their own unique cultural identity to New Zealand.”
Matt Paterson, AFS host brothe

How to become an AFS host family


Learn more, then apply

Learn more by reading this website, or call AFS on 0800 600 300. You’re sure to have lots of questions and it’s better to get the answers straight from us!



Once you’ve talked it through with us and maybe your family or friends, then you’re ready to apply. We have students who are in the country for 10 months, 6 months other short term programmes, so there’s something for everyone.


Get ready to host

Once all the paperwork is done, you’ll be introduced to the trained volunteers and staff who will support your family and help you learn how to make your AFS experience rewarding and fun. And then you get to select your new son or daughter!


Welcome your AFSer

Exciting! Now you get to welcome your new family member. There will be laughs, challenges and lots of learning on both sides, as you learn from each other and evolve your family.

Quick inquiry and application forms

Click here to make a quick inquiry about hosting.

Click here to fill in the host family application form.

Check out students who need families in NZ

Check out the students here!

How does AFS support host families?


Experienced local AFS volunteers and staff will prepare your family for the challenges of welcoming a new member from another country.


24 hour local emergency contact and additional support from the AFS national office is available. AFS students have medical insurance, if health care is necessary. 


Trained volunteers and staff will support you throughout your hosting program, including meeting with you and your family at least once a month to make sure everything is working out.  


Your support volunteers will guide your family and student through the AFS Host Family Intercultural Learning Journey activities to help make the entire experience more meaningful and lasting.