For your own planning and for coordinating with the National Office:


1. Who will be program director(s)? This person(s) will oversee the program. S/he will register the program with National Office, ensure that deadlines are met, coordinate the program itself, and be the liaison with the church staff. The program director(s) create(s) the webpage that will help students choose your program (see Locations page)


2. How many students can be hosted? There are two ways to determine the number of students your program will host: Set a goal number of students to host and then find host families/living arrangements to meet that goal, or determine the number of students which you can provide for and request that number of students (we recommend 2 students per host family). You can increase your number during the registration period if you find you can host more.  For example, you can start with a few students for a new program with a goal to increase to 8-10 students.


3. Can we accommodate single males and/or females? Can we accommodate students with disabilities? Each location may decide on these matters.


4. Will the students be in private homes (Home stay Program) or in a church, church camp or conference center (Group stay Program)? After reading in the following section the considerations of each type of program, please contact the National Office if you would like an experienced program director to mentor you while you set up your home stay or group stay program. In both scenarios, be aware that some students have dietary restrictions (e.g., allergies or religious restrictions such as no pork, no beef, vegetarian, Halal meats only).


5. How will the program be funded? Consider requesting church mission funds, individual donations, or holding fundraising events.


6. How will the students be transported? Individual vehicles, church buses or vans.


7. What types of activities can we plan? 


Survey nearby churches, clubs, and other organizations to determine their interest and level of commitment to helping your community host a CIH program.


The more students your community can host will mean more international students from a variety of countries you can experience.  If you are thinking about starting a CIH program, we ask that you contact our office to let us know of your interest as soon as possible. We will ask you for some of the above information, and you will be asked to provide a description of your program that we may include on the NCIH website. See the Locations page for examples. 


Each year the NCIH Advisory Committee recommends the official dates for the program.  Individual programs, though, do have the option of choosing specific dates that best suit their needs. Please inform the National Office of these dates if they differ.




Use whatever inexpensive resources are available to raise local interest in your CIH program. Talk to those you know!  Who do you know who enjoys the ministry of hospitality?   Begin publicizing as soon as possible.  Consider church bulletin boards, church newsletters, pulpit announcements, letters to local churches, civic club newsletters, bulletin board displays, or by contacting Kiwanis, Pilot, Lions, and Rotary Clubs, local International Adoption(?) organizations, and families who have hosted exchange students.  Word-of-mouth through family, neighbors, friends, and co-workers is a great way to advertise your need for hosts, volunteers, chaperones, bus drivers, etc.  Make a list of your needs: hosts for students, hosts for meals, drivers for activities, and tour chaperones. Collect the names and telephone numbers of each contact person.


Home stay Program Considerations:  The advantage of a home stay program is intimate cross-cultural sharing among students and hosts.  It is also suggested, though, that some group activities, meals and programming be planned as group activities during the week.


1. Do students live with one family for two weeks, or will they be able to change families after the first week?  The latter means more hosts but is an alternative for those families who want to host but can only host for one week for the Christmas holiday.


2. What is expected of a host family – sleeping arrangements (we recommend each student have their own bed), bathrooms, meals, transportation, etc.?


3. Have “back-up” families available in case of a last-minute cancellation or emergencies. Often people will host if the need is urgent, but would rather not be the first choice.


4. Encourage at least two students per family.  Most families find that it is easier to host two students rather than just one because the students enjoy and entertain each other.


Group stay Program Considerations: The advantage is cross-cultural sharing among the students.


1. Find, set up, maintain, and dismantle living arrangements (?).


2. You may want to make a diagram of each floor available for use.


3. Estimate number of beds in each room.


4. Locate the kitchen facilities with refrigerators, coffee makers, microwaves.


5. Locate emergency exits and restrooms.


6. Are there showers and bathrooms with adequate hot water?


7. Determine the maximum occupancy for single men, women, and married couples.


8. Determine who provides beds, blankets, pillows, towels, etc.


9. Centrally locate a bulletin board or set up a social media/email group for CIH information.


10. You may want to make arrangements with a local physician or nurse to donate his/her time should the need arise.


11. Alert police department that people are staying in the church or group housing location.


12. Set up a communal area with comfortable furniture, ping-pong or billiards table and accessories, board games (chess, checkers, Pictionary, scrabble), puzzles, TV, VCR, radio/CD player, iron and ironing board.


13. Set up security personnel at night and “lights out” policy.


14. Locate trash disposal, custodians, bathroom cleaning and restocking.


15. Determine what chores the students will be responsible for.


16. Following the close of the program return borrowed items, clean blankets, and restore the facility.





You will want to create a schedule of tours, recreation, discussions, free time, dinner and special events such as an International Night.  Become familiar with the history and attractions of the area.  The Tourist Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, and the internet are additional resources for entrance fees and hours of operation.  Group stay Programs should plan one big group activity each day; Home stay Programs should plan several activities over the two-week period.  Determine how much spending/sightseeing money each student should bring for your Program.


Each Program’s activities will be unique, but consider:


1. Public (and free!) monuments, museums, the state capitol, historical sites.


2. Local attractions (in Atlanta, the World of Coke and CNN Center are popular).


3. Outdoor activities like roller/ice-skating, hiking or sledding, a trip to the beach.


4. Sporting events - either professional, collegiate or high school.


5. Typical Christmas activities: making stockings, gingerbread houses, or ornaments; caroling; decorating cookies, gift exchanges (either traditional, “Secret Santa,” or “white elephant”); or Christmas Eve candle-lighting.


6. Shopping, game night, group pictures- students love to get together.


7. Quiet time for students to write in their journals, write postcards, take a nap.


8. Anything that is unique to your area and of interest to international students.


9. International night – a favorite of both hosts and students!  Students prepare foods from their native countries for hosts to sample, and are encouraged to share dances, songs, or other cultural talents or activities (such as games or stories) with the audience.


10. Backstage Tours or Career Insights- A behind the scenes tour at a private airport or seeing a volunteer’s workplace.




1. Provide transportation to and from the airport, bus or train station on arrival and departure days.


2. Determine pickup point at airport, train station, bus station arrivals.


3. Provide “CIH” placards to drivers so students can locate their ride quickly.


4. Provide transportation for all group activities during CIH.


5. Provide maps and routes to drivers to circumvent traffic problems.


6. Arrange funds for gas, if needed..


7. Arrange/borrow cars, vans, buses.


8. Each student coming to your program should be given a phone number and an email in case arrival plans change at the last minute.


Contact us if you have any other questions or want to know more about 

planning a CIH Program.