Sharing volunteerism with your exchange student

EF host families have an amazing volunteer spirit, and lots of them take pride in sharing that passion with their exchange students. Not only does giving back benefit your community, but it introduces students to a uniquely American tradition as well. Are you looking for inspiration on how to get involved this month? Check out some great volunteering ideas below.

1. Share a student's culture at a local school

One unique way an exchange student can enrich the community is by visiting the local elementary or middle school and sharing their culture with the younger students. They can broaden perspectives and shape futures by discussing their language and traditions from back home.

2. Help out at a soup kitchen

Helping feed those in your community who need a warm meal is an essential and direct way to make a difference in people’s lives. Whether it’s through a school club or an outside organization, you and your student can gather canned food to donate to a pantry or spend a weekend serving food at a homeless shelter.

3. Spend time with the elderly

Visit a nursing home to play a game, eat a meal and brighten the day for the people living there. It’s an easy way to bring a smile to someone’s face and a chance for your student to meet Americans from an older generation.

4. Volunteer at an animal shelter

What better way to give back than playing with some furry, four-legged friends? Head to an animal shelter to spend time socializing with the animals and help with their feeding, watering and grooming.

5. Clean up in the community

In some towns you can join local efforts to pick up trash on the road, at a park or along the banks of a river. And of course, there’s nothing stopping you from picking up litter on your own!

More ways to help:

  • Help out a local veteran or military family
  • Organize a book drive
  • Help paint and repair a home
  • Plant a community garden
  • Have a bake sale for a local charity


We would love to hear abourt your volunteering efforts and how you are making a difference. Get inspired to give back and help out in your community by posting your photos on Facebook and Instagram with #EFgivethanks.

Find the right exchange student for your family

Does your family have any hobbies or interests that you'd like to share with an exchange student? Are you looking to learn more about a particular region of the world? Consider some of these topics and start browsing student profiles today.

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© EF Education First 2011-2021. EF High School Exchange Year is operated by EF Educational Foundation for Foreign Study, a non-profit corporation designated by the U.S. Department of State to operate a J-1 student exchange program. Note: Featured photo/videos do not include prospective students, and are representative of program participants.