Program students live with middle-class host families, many of whom have been with the program for years. Students state preferences regarding pets, foods, the presence of other youth their age, etc., and the on-site director tries to make placements accordingly.
Homestays are at the heart of the Oaxaca program. Mexican families are often traditional, close-knit and protective, so students frequently form close attachments and become one of the family. Placing only one student per family ensures that students speak as much Spanish as possible in the home.