Mt. Blue Campus International Student Program (ISP) Common Questions
What is a homestay?
Your home away from home. You live as a member of an American family in a home within the community. This gives you an opportunity to have a real immersion in the English language and American culture. In return, your new American family can learn from you about your culture, your language and traditions. This is a great opportunity for you to develop lifelong relationships.
What is a typical American family?
Our host families are friendly, caring people who are interested in knowing more about you and your culture. There is no typical family in the USA. You may live in a traditional family with two parents and children, or there may be a husband and wife, but no children. You may live with a single parent. The parents may both have full-time jobs outside of the home. Many families at Mt. Blue have diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.
What should I expect from my host family?
We want you to be treated as a member of the family and to be included in family activities. A private room or shared room (with a same-sex student), food, transportation, a study space, and a place for personal belongings will be provided. Our primary concern is to make your experience in the U.S. an enjoyable and memorable one.
How much should I be involved in the family unit?
You should not be expected to be treated as an honored guest; instead, you should be included in family activities like a regular member of the family. Please include yourself in family activities, meals, and outings.
What if I wish to travel alone while I am here?
Your natural parents are expected to fill out a Parental Permission Travel Form for any travel done outside of the State of Maine or the U.S. Neither Mt. Blue High School nor the host family assumes any responsibility for you during such travel. Unauthorized travel is not permitted and may result in expulsion from the Mt. Blue High School International Homestay Program. You are not allowed to travel if it involves missing a significant amount of official class time. Travel within the State of Maine does not require a signature from your natural parents but requires permission from the host family. Students under 18 years of age must be accompanied by at least one other traveler who is 18 or over if traveling out of state for a day. If you wish to travel out of state overnight, a signature from the student's natural parents is required. All travel must be reported to the ISP Staff at least one week prior. Students must fill out a form with the contact information of the person they are traveling with and the trip details.
Am I allowed to drive a motor vehicle?
Students in the Program are prohibited from operating any type of motor vehicle. Driving without a license is strictly prohibited; however, you may take a Driver's Education course if permitted by your natural parents.
How will I communicate with my family back home?
You cannot ask the host family to use their phone. You should purchase a cell phone for long-distance calls. We suggest using your own cell phone to communicate back home to your friends and family. The ISP Staff or your host family can take you to purchase a cell phone, at your own expense, if you need to.
How are the host families chosen?
All families have been screened and interviewed by representatives of Mt. Blue High School. All members of the home 18 years and older have undergone a background check. Our Program staff interviews both host families and international students to make the best match possible. The homestay parent will provide meals and plan family activities for all students living within the home. The homestay parent is expected to abide by all rules and guidelines as set forth by the Program.
Do I have to attend a new student orientation?
Yes, all new international students will attend an orientation on opening day at Mt. Blue High School.
Are there any student clubs and organizations on campus?
Yes, there are many clubs and organizations which you are encouraged to join. For example, the school offers the following groups activities in addition to others: international clubs, band, football, soccer, basketball, drama club, and math club.
How should I prepare to depart from my home country?
Please make sure to have your airline ticket confirmation page, passport, tuition receipt, I-20 form, I-901 Receipt, school acceptance letter, and the contact information of school officials and your host family. Try to pack efficiently but effectively.
What happens when I arrive at the airport?
Please arrange your arrival time with the ISP Staff and your host family at least four weeks prior to arrival. Your homestay parents will pick you up at Portland Maine JetPort (PWM) or Bangor International Airport (BGR) and greet you. Please be sure to arrive during the agreed upon time and to provide updates for any change in plans.
What are the US time zones?
From east to west they are Atlantic Standard Time (AST), Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST), and Pacific Standard Time (PST). Maine falls within the Eastern Standard Time Zone.
What is the weather like in Maine?
It gets very cold in the winter (December - March) and very hot in the summer months (June - September). The fall months (September - November) and spring months (April - May) are rather cool and comfortable. When you arrive in the U.S., you will be arriving during the late summer. Please plan your clothing accordingly. You will need a heavy coat and sturdy boots in the winter.
Can I work while I am in the U.S?
International students residing in the U.S. on an F-1 visa are not authorized to work. However, incidental work, such as babysitting, lawn work, or similar work is allowed if authorized by the host parents.
The following are expectations for your participation and for a successful year in the Mt. Blue Campus International Homestay Student Program.
- The student should speak English while in the household in order to practice their skills. This provides an opportunity for the student to learn about American culture and share about his/her culture.
- The student should participate in family activities and participate in some household chores such as picking up his/her room and setting the table for meals.
- The student cannot drive an automobile or other vehicles.
- The student is expected to attend school regularly. A note from a doctor or homestay parent must be provided if classes will be missed.
- Homestay families have the right to access report cards, attendance reports, and also have the privilege to attend parent-teacher meetings.
- Mt. Blue High School policies apply to all international students. All students are expected to follow these policies and become familiar with Mt. Blue High School's Student Handbook.
- International students are expected to follow appropriate dress as indicated in the Mt. Blue High School Student Handbook.
- Communication with the homestay parent(s) is important to prevent misunderstandings. The student should tell the family if he/she plans on returning home late or miss a family meal.
- Sleeping over at a friend's house during the week or weekends needs to be approved by the homestay family.
- Homestay parents have the right to set nightly curfews and monitor time spent out on the weekdays. Appropriate time must be dedicated to doing schoolwork.
- The student must maintain a full course of study. He/she must also take an English course. Full-year students must take U.S. History. The student should try to maintain a C average, if not then the student should have a plan to improve his/her grades.
- The student must respect the individual rules of the household and be respectful to his/her homestay parent(s) and all other individuals who reside with the homestay parent(s).
- The student may not lend money to or borrow money from the homestay family or other students.
- The student is responsible for paying for his/her own personal items and toiletries, clothing, snacks, leisure and additional sports equipment, school articles, dental and medical fees, travel, postage for letters, and long-distance calls. The student is responsible for managing his or her budget and is encouraged to open his or her own bank account.
- The student will be responsible for purchasing his/her own cell phone and incurring any charges for long-distance calls he/she makes from the homestay house phone.
- The legal age to purchase cigarettes in the USA is 21 and families will not allow this in their home. Many Maine buildings prohibit smoking including schools and restaurants. Failure to comply with these legal regulations may result in expulsion from the Program.
- The student may not use illegal drugs. The student may not drink any alcohol if under the age of 21. Failure to comply with these legal regulations may result in expulsion from the Program.
- The student may not alter his/her body during their stay (for example tattoos, additional piercing, etc.).
- The length of a shower/bath and the time of day for a shower or bath must be mutually agreeable within each homestay arrangement.
- The student may not bring guests into the home without the homestay family's permission.
- The student will be responsible for paying for any damage caused by the student to the host family's home and/or belongings.
- The student may not work at a part-time job that requires a social security number or work authorization. He/she may, however, work intermittently to shovel snow, mow the lawn or babysit.
- The student may not travel without authorization. Travel must be discussed with the homestay family and approved by the natural parents. Traveling should not interfere with schoolwork and should be done during breaks and holidays. All travel information must be provided to the school representative and signed by the natural parent.
- The student must have his/her own medical insurance upon arrival to the U.S., and for the entire duration of the Program. The student must obtain an insurance policy with sufficient coverage in case of an accident. All accrued expenses for medical expenses must be paid by the natural parents prior to the end of the academic year.
- Any issues or concerns that arise must be directed to the International Student Program Director of the Mt. Blue Campus immediately.