International Education

Host - Homestay Program


Vancouver Island University host families have a direct and long-lasting influence on students.  Host families act as ambassadors for Canada, Vancouver Island, Nanaimo, and VIU.  In addition, families provide support for students by helping them transition into the community, helping with understanding Canadian customs and norms, and encouraging them with their studies.

Position Requirements

VIU host families are expected to provide students with a private bedroom that contains a comfortable bed, a dresser, has good lighting, a window for ventilation and egress, and a place to hang clothing such as a closet or wardrobe.  Students need access to appropriate bathroom and laundry facilities.

Host families are required to provide internet access in their homes, preferably via Wi-Fi. Host families must maintain a call out method (landline or dedicated cellphone) that a student can access at any time to call emergency services in the event of an emergency.

Host families should be prepared to engage with their students by having conversations and taking part in activities together.  Hosts are to also provide students with food for three meals per day, prepare the dinner meal for students, and to provide a modest amount of snacks.  Hosts should be preparing fresh dinner meals four or more times per week.

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 student to make own meal.
  • 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

Sign Up Directions

Your Homestay Application is well-rounded processes 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

Register Online: