Become a Host Family

This is a translation of our Swedish-language page for prospective host and contact families. Click here to return to the original page.

Open the door for an enriching experience

The Swedish Program is an American study abroad program for college students. We are a non-profit and independent organization that is supported by a consortium of American universities and colleges since our founding in 1987. Our mission is to give students the opportunity to study in Stockholm and experience Swedish society.

Becoming a Host Family

Becoming a host family means opening your home to a new family member. By becoming part of your family, both you and your student experience cultural exchange. Host families can, and should, live as they usually do while hosting a student.

Host families come in many forms. The most important thing is that all family members agree that hosting a student will be an exciting intercultural experience! Families can live in apartments, houses, or townhouses. The basic requirement is that you can provide a bedroom for the student with a bed, desk, and closet. We also require that the commute time to SSE is no more than 70 minutes on public transit.

Amelia Poole (Colgate University ’18) ice skating with her Contact Family.

Becoming a Contact Family

Becoming a contact family involves meeting a student regularly throughout the 3.5 month school term. As with host families, both the student and family should be motivated by a desire for cultural exchange. Popular activities for students and contact families include dinners at home, museum visits, meeting for fika, and outdoors activities.

Our students

Our students have different backgrounds, but most are in their third year of study at some of the US’s highest-ranked colleges and universities. The students are typically 19-21 years old. Some have family roots in Sweden or Scandinavia while others are coming to Sweden for the first time. Most students grew up in the US but each term we typically have a few international students who are studying in the US. We offer students two housing options — host families or private apartments. Students who choose to live in an apartment have the opportunity to request a contact family.

Our Spring 2018 students during orientation at Sandhamn.

“I cannot thank the Swedish Program enough for taking the time to pair me with such an amazing family and I will truly never forget the time we shared. Now that I have returned to the U.S., I Skype with them frequently and can say with confidence that our connection which began in Stockholm will continue for years to come.”

– Marina Stam, Bowdoin College –


Does it cost anything to be a host/contact family?

No, it should not be a financial burden to be a host/contact family. Students are expected to pay for their own share of the costs for activities you do together. Host families receive a food subsidy of 3000 SEK per month to offset the cost of extra groceries, and students living with host families receive an additional subsidy for lunch during the school week.

When and how long are the students in Stockholm?

The fall term runs from the middle of August to the beginning of December and the spring term runs from the middle of January to the beginning of May. Students have two weeks of vacation each term, usually during weeks 44 and 45 in the fall and weeks 13 and 14 in the spring.

Why do students choose to live with a host family?

There are many different reasons that students choose to live with a host family, but the most important reason is a desire to experience and learn about Swedish society and culture. It’s important to remember that each student is an individual with their own experiences and background. Our Program Manager works with families to find a compatible student.

Who volunteers as a host/contact family?

There is no typical host/contact family. We work with younger and older families, with and without children, single or coupled, and from a range of backgrounds. What unites them is a desire to share their everyday life in Sweden with a young adult from another culture. The most important thing is that all family members are enthusiastic about sharing this intercultural experience.

Do you run a background check?

We run a routine background check for all host/contact families as a precautionary measure. The check is conducted through the Swedish court records and only relates to crimes that are serious enough to have gone through the courts. Minor offenses such as traffic tickets are thus not included. We do not store any information from the background check; all data is deleted within seven (7) days after receipt.

What if we have problems with our student?

When problems come up for host/contact families, it’s usually due to miscommunication. It is very important to communicate openly and directly. We recommend that both students and families talk about issues as soon as they appear, rather than waiting and hoping it will go away. If you aren’t able to find a solution yourselves, the Program Manager should be notified to help find a solution. We are always available if you have questions or concerns to discuss.

Apply now

If you are interested in becoming a host or contact family please submit an application below. After reviewing your application, we will schedule an interview with your family.

“I can say with absolute certainty that living with my host family (including my two host siblings and a dog) has been the highlight of my semester.”

– Jack Wright, Hamilton College –


Please contact our Program Manager, Cate Hawley, at [email protected].