Exchange Student Opportunity This Winter for Tacoma Area!

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Exchange Student Opportunity in Tacoma

Exchange Student Opportunity This Winter for Tacoma Area

*Update: There is a need for a few more host families for this program – if you sign up & are approved by January 28, you can get a $100 bonus gift card, too!


I have a unique opportunity to share with you tonight regarding a cultural experience that my family has participated in several times that I wanted to share with all of you as there is a need for a number of families in the South Sound area to  host Chinese exchange students arriving in the next month or two.

Tower Bridge International Education is the company that we worked with both in the winter & summer of 2017 and we will again be hosting students this winter for a short-term stay as we had such a wonderful, positive experience. I wanted to share this opportunity with all of you as we have felt this is such a rewarding experience for families to learn about other cultures & develop friendships with these students by welcoming them into your home.

This Chinese Exchange Student Program with Tower Bridge for Winter 2018 is in collaboration and fully supported by the Tacoma Public Schools, Clover Park School District & Peninsula School District (Gig Harbor area).  There are around 130 Chinese students arriving in late January & early February for 2-3 weeks and they are still in need of host families to welcome these students into your home.

You will be provided a stipend of $40/night per student to help with hosting expenses and the students do attend school at the local school or attend field trips during the weekdays, so you will have week nights & weekends to spend time getting to know them & showing them what life is like here in the Northwest.

Bonus:  There is a $100 gift card bonus if you sign up & are approved for hosting by January 28th, 2018, so don’t delay!!

Details about Hosting:

visiting waterfalls with Exchange Students


You will need to be able to transport your student (students) to one of the school’s listed below (let them know which school you live closest to or can easily transport the student to when you apply). You do not need to live in these areas, but be able to transport them each day during the week before & after school. We do not live in Tacoma, but because my husband works in Tacoma, he could easily transport them to/from the schools {he is a teacher at one of the school’s so made it very easy for us living 25 min away). So if you work near one of the schools, then this could be a great fit even if you are not in one of these neighborhoods.

Tacoma: Lincoln High School, Foss High School and TBD Middle School
Lakewood: Harrison Prep High School
Gig Harbor: Kopachuck Middle School, Harbor Ridge Middle School, Gig Harbor High School and Peninsula High School


Tacoma: Feb 1-13 & Feb 1-21 & Feb 1-26
Lakewood: Feb 8-20
Gig Harbor: Jan 31-Feb 12 & Feb 3-13

Hosting Requirements:

The main hosting requirements are:
-Separate bed or bedroom for student  – if you are hosting a high school student, you will need a separate bedroom  for that student with bed, drawer space, etc. If you are hosting a middle school student, they can share a room with your child (same gender) but they do need a separate bed & drawer space. The beds cannot be an air mattress or sofa couch, but an actual mattress.  If you have extra beds/bedrooms, then you can host more than one student.
-Provide 3 meals a day for your student – You will need to provide all meals for your student. Even on the days that they are either visiting the school for a week or if they are on field trips around the area, you will still need to send a sack lunch for your student. This is where the $40 daily stipend per student comes in, though, to help pay for the food for having another person in your home.
-Transport your student to/from the school daily during the week – You will be responsible for bringing your student (students) to & from school each weekday they are staying with you. If you have a friend who is also interested in hosting & they host a student, too, then you could even work out a carpool together where one person drops them off in the mornings & the other friend picks up the students as an idea.
There are more requirements they will discuss with you if you decide to host a student(s) , but these are the main requirements to keep in mind to make sure this is a good fit for your family.

Stipend & Bonus:

Visit to Chinese Reconciliation Park in Tacoma

Stipend – As I have mentioned, they do provide a stipend of $40/night per student (this rate is for Winter 2018). If you host 2 students, then you will receive $80/night. This helps to cover the extra food costs & if you take them on any activities to experience the Northwest as you would need to pay the entrance/activity fees for them. {They will go on field trips for part of their trip to experience some popular Seattle area attractions which you will not need to pay for as that’s included in their trip, but you may choose to take them additional places like Northwest Trek, to the movies, etc & this helps to cover the cost of their admission/activity fees.}

Bonus – They are offering a special bonus of $100 gift card if you sign up & are approved for hosting by January 28, 2018.  So, you will need to start the application process soon if you are interested in this opportunity.

How to Sign Up:

If you are interested in finding out more about this Exchange Student Hosting Program, send us an email at thriftynorthwestmom (at) and put “Chinese Exchange Student” in the subject email.  We will then put you in direct contact with the program coordinator to get you all the information so you can take advantage of the limited time $100 gift card bonus offer and apply for this hosting opportunity. I’d also be happy to answer any questions you may have about the program first.  If you don’t hear from us within a day, then leave a comment on this post or message us on Facebook to make sure we received your email.

Our Hosting Experience:

Teaching our Chinese Students American Games

Teaching our students American Games

I wanted to give you more information about our experience & why we are continuing to do this after hosting a total of 4 students in our home over the years.  We participated in our first exchange student opportunity with Tower Bridge International last winter 2017, hosting a student from China for a little over 2 weeks. We loved the cultural experience of learning about Chinese life & culture from our student & hosting a student in our home, so we decided to host again this past summer & we had 2 students from China arrive for 3 weeks. We had so much fun showing our students around the Puget Sound area and teaching them about American customs and helping them to improve their English skills. In turn, all 3 of the students we’ve hosted have taught us so much about life for a teen in China, the foods they eat, what school is like & so much more.  We truly feel we have gained a lifelong friendship with our students, who we still love to communicate with even though they are back in China. {In fact, my daughter had a Christmas around the World project due in school a few weeks ago & one of our students was able to send pictures & give us ideas of how they celebrate in China, so cool!}

Selfies in front of the campfire with Exchange Students

Selfies in front of the tent & campfire!

We had so much fun taking them around the area to experience the culture of the Northwest & the US. One of the fun experiences we had was taking our 2 Chinese girls camping this summer with our family. This was their favorite activity – they loved roasting s’mores over the fire, hiking to see waterfalls & sleeping in a tent! So fun to share a new experience like that with them!

We’ve also enjoyed having each of our Chinese students cook a traditional Chinese meal for us at their request. It was such a great learning opportunity for our girls to visit the Asian market with our students to find the ingredients and then to try a traditional Chinese meal that these girls cooked for us. Such a special treat!

These are just a few of the unique experiences we have had with our exchange students and we love the opportunity to meet new students and learn their perspectives of life in China in the area they live in & develop new friendships with these students.

As a different perspective, my family also hosted a number of students as I was growing up & I can tell you as the child that it was such a great learning experience to have these fellow students from other countries visit our home. I loved it so much that I became an Exchange student to England for a few weeks in high school. And then my husband and I hosted our first student in our home when my older daughter was just a toddler. Unfortunately space constraints kept us from hosting for a number of years, but now that we have more space, we are loving hosting students again in our home.

I’d love to hear your stories if your family decides to host a family, too! I promise you will learn so much if you are open to the possibility!



Disclosure: This post is an honest representation of our experience hosting exchange students; however, we may receive compensation for referrals for this program. Please read our disclosure policy here.

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