Academic and Career Preparation

Host - Homestay Program


Participants in the Homestay Program provided students with the opportunity to learn about culture, language, and food from the Canadians with whom they live. Homestay can be a challenging experience. It is an opportunity to learn, immerse yourself in Canadian culture, and improve your English language skills.

Position Overview

Students who take part in the Homestay Program are required to attend a 2-hour Homestay Orientation workshop where students engage in interactive activities to learn more about living in Canada and with a Canadian family. Because students are living with a local family, they have an opportunity to be involved in meaningful learning moments. The workshop helps students problem-solve through case-studies and other activities exploring potential challenges and opportunities experienced in a Homestay family home.

Students will also receive a homework exercise at the beginning of their program allowing students to focus on establishing communication and goals with the Host Family. Students will explore topics such as food, communication, language learning, conflict resolution, participation in household activities, and much more.

Students who participate can expect to spend about one hour per day interacting with their host family (usually dinner time), though there might be additional opportunities during the work week to experience day-to-day activities. On weekends, there might be opportunities to do larger-scale operations. For example, Host families may occasionally take day trips, go sightseeing, or do tourist-style activities with students.

Students who commit to learning through the Homestay program and put in the effort can learn great life skills that will be useful long after graduating. Students can increase their capacity to engage in respectful relationships, build intercultural perspectives, learn better collaboration, and gain better oral communication skills.

Position Requirements

Host Responsibilities:

  • Provide each student with a clean, stable family environment

  • Provide three wholesome meals a day

  • Breakfast and lunch materials to be provided for students to make their own meals. 

  • Dinner prepared and cooked by host member

  • Make cross-cultural exchange the primary consideration for hosting, not being dependent on Homestay Fees to meet primary financial obligations

  • Provide an English speaking environment and encourage students to speak English in the home

  • Share the services in your home with the student – hydro, water, cable, telephone, and Internet service

  • Respect the rights, privacy, and culture of the student including religious and political beliefs

  • Include students in family activities, outings, and social or community activities

  • Pick up the student at their arrival point (Nanaimo airport, ferry terminal, or VIU designated spot) and arrange for transportation for departure

  • Assist with emergency medical treatment of the student (guided by VIU)

  • Give clear house rules and expectations in simple, written and spoken formats, consistent with other family members and VIU practices

  • Keep the VIU Homestay office informed of any changes in the home (new pets, children moving out, renovations, etc.)

  • Attend a New and Returning Host Orientations/Training sessions

  • Host several short-term Homestay students prior to hosting a long-term student

  • Read and sign the Homestay Letter of Agreement and Host Experience Manual

Homestay homes must provide:

  • A private bedroom for each student that is furnished with a comfortable bed, linens (bedding and towels), desk, dresser, closet, nightstands, and lighting

  • Each bedroom is to have a window.  Such windows shall provide an unobstructed opening of not less than 380 mm (15”) in height or width and .35 m² (543”) in area and maintain such an opening during an emergency without the need for additional support.

  • Bedroom ceiling height of 6'6

  • Internet access

  • Access to a landline telephone or an emergency cell phone (always charged, kept in the same place capable of calling 911)

  • Laundry Facilities: Washer, dryer, and laundry detergent

  • Cleaning supplies for student to keep private space clean

  • Smoke alarms located on each floor between the bedroom and living room

  • Updated and current home-owner and renter's insurance

  • For Homestay without Meals - student access to cooking meals and all the dishes and equipment to do so

Graduate Attributes Associated

Students in this position will gain skills in capacity to engage in respectful relationships, collaboration, ethical reasonings, oral communication, intercultural perspective.

Sign Up Directions

Your Homestay Application is a well-rounded process to ensure we provide the best possible experiences for our students and also equip our hosts. Applications are processed in the order they are completed and take into consideration the following:

  • Location in proximity to Vancouver Island University

  • Willingness to host either male or female

  • Willingness to host either High School or University students

  • Willingness to host students from any country

  • Willingness to host students with particular dietary practices/restrictions

  • Meet proper home requirements 

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