Student Information

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What is homestay like?

You can expect to be warmly welcomed into your homestay as a part of their family. Your attitude and friendliness will help you get the most out of your homestay visit in Canada. So, come with an open mind. Come prepared to participate in family life. You’ll share chores and responsibilities just like a family member.

Most students have many questions about homestay life and what to prepare for. The Student FAQ’s section of this page will help answer some of those questions.

There might be certain times you find more difficult than others when adjusting to your new homestay, unfamiliar language and new environment. This is very normal and won’t last long. Be patient. Give yourself time to adjust to your new surroundings, seasons and experiences. Many students are amazed at how quickly things can change for the better. We want you to have the opportunity to make lasting relationships and memories during your time with us in West Vancouver.

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Homestay families are a great way to experience Canada.

Some positive aspects of a homestay are:


  1. Canadians are from everywhere! We live in a multicultural society.
  2. We get along nicely across differences and don’t discriminate based on ethnicity, first language, religion, gender, marital status (single/married), etc.
  3. Our host families may be traditional or non-traditional, with one or two parents, many or no children. 
  4. Pets are warmly welcomed in Vancouver homes. Families have dogs and cats and treat them like a member of the family, which means they will live inside the house.
  5. Commuting is common. Most people live in suburban neighbourhoods and commute to school and work – 45 minutes can be a common bus commuting time. 
  6. Our bus system is very safe and clean and Canadian high school students are used to taking the bus to school, home, shopping, etc. 

Student FAQ’s

When I arrive, how will I get to my homestay?

For new students who are arriving for the first time, West Vancouver Schools International Program will arrange for transportation from Vancouver International Airport to the student’s homestay.  This service is only available for new, registered students, not for any members of their family who may be traveling with them. This service must be requested in order to have the student booked. Please use the Student Arrival Details Form to notify our office whether the transportation is required.

What will my homestay family provide for me and what do I need to bring for myself?

Besides three healthy meals per day as well as reasonable snacks and beverages, your homestay will provide you with bedding (sheets, blankets, pillow), towels, toilet paper, hand soap, laundry detergent and access to allowed amenities in the home (internet, heat, hot water etc.).

You will be expected to bring your own personal grooming toiletries, cosmetics, clothing, laptop or computer, sporting, and extracurricular equipment.


Your homestay may have items that you are able to use temporarily while you are part of their home like a hairdryer and curling iron.  They may also have purchased some shampoo and conditioner for you.  Just ask them before you arrive so you can plan ahead better.

What is covered with my monthly homestay fees?

As mentioned, your monthly homestay fees will cover three healthy meals, snacks, and beverages each day.  You will be provided with your own room with a bed, bedding, study area if a desk is not available in the room, and basic home amenities like internet access, hot water, and heat.

What is a normal commuting time to school?

The North Shore (North & West Vancouver combined) is spread out over a very large area.  From Deep Cove to Lions Bay is a total distance of 40 km.  Much of the North Shore is built into the mountainside and runs all the way down to the Pacific Ocean.  This is what makes it one of the most beautiful and desirable areas to live in British Columbia.


This is also the reason that many domestic and international students can expect to commute.  It is very common for a student to travel up to one hour to and from school each day on public transportation.


We wish that all students could be placed within walking distance to school but it is just not possible.  There are many advantages to living a bit of a distance from your school such as access to the mall, the beaches to Downtown Vancouver, and popular meeting places.

Will my homestay family drive me to school?

While some students may enjoy the benefit to being driven to school, it is not common and most definitely not expected of your homestay family.  You will quickly learn your independence in getting around on the easy-to-use Public Transportation System.

Should I bring a gift for my homestay family when I arrive?

While gifts are certainly not expected, it is a really lovely gesture and a nice way to share something of your culture and heritage with your homestay family.  Please do not feel obliged to spend a lot of money.  A small token of your appreciation to them will go a long way.

Will I be placed with other international students?

You may or may not be placed in a homestay with other international students.  We try our best to place you with the most suitable, available family that will fit your application profile.  While we may not be able to provide all the requirements you were hoping for, our homestay team carefully reviews all of your profiles to place you with a homestay family that will compliment your needs bests.

What happens if I want to change my homestay?

The first thing you will want to do is talk to your Homestay Coordinator about why you want to move.  Your Homestay Coordinator will work with you and your homestay family to find a supportive solution to your concerns.  In most cases, concerns are able to be worked through.  In the rare case that a solution cannot be worked through, your Homestay Coordinator will assist you through the process of a homestay change.

How much are the Homestay Fees each month?


What is the difference between Direct Pay and Prepay?

Direct Pay:
This is when you pay your homestay family the monthly homestay fee directly to them each month.  It is your responsibility to make sure your homestay family is paid on or before the 1st of each month.  We recommend that you use the Homestay Payment Record to keep track of your payments every month and record when you have paid.

This means your homestay fees have all been paid to the International Program for the entire year.  The International Program takes care of paying your homestay family each month for you.  Your homestay family is paid by direct deposit.

Can I switch from Direct Pay to Prepay at any time?

Yes, absolutely, you can switch from Direct Pay to Prepay at any time.  Your natural parent or agent will be invoiced for the fees and, once the invoice is paid, the International Office will take over paying your homestay family for you.

What happens with homestay fees if I move to a different homestay during the month?

Your monthly homestay fees are calculated per night. Based on the day of the month that you move to your new Homestay, the fees are calculated using a Homestay Payment Grid found on our website.

· If you pay homestay fees Directly, your Homestay Coordinator will help you with the homestay fee calculation

  • If you have Prepaid the homestay fees, the International Office will take care of the correct calculation and payments to the homestay families

What if I cannot pay my homestay by the 1st of the month?

You need to communicate this to your homestay family immediately and let them know the reason why you are unable to pay on time.  Your Homestay Coordinator will need to know immediately to follow up and provide you with support needed to make sure it is paid as soon as possible.
It is essential that homestay fees are paid on time every month.

How do Homestay Fees work in the summer months if I am staying with my Homestay Family and not returning home?

If you are going to remain with your homestay family through the summer months (July & August), the fees remain the same at $1400 per month.  You are responsible for paying your homestay family Directly for July and August even if your fees are normally Prepay through the school year.

I’m a returning student and I’m going home for a visit for the summer months. Where can I store my belongings?

Summer Maintenance Fees:
For students who want to leave all their belongings in their room at the homestay until they return, the suggested fee is $500 per month.  This is a private arrangement between you and your homestay family so you must talk to your homestay family before you leave to make sure they are ok with you leaving your belongings in your room.  Some homestay families will want the use of your room in the summer months for guests or to rent during the summer while you are away so this option may not be possible for you.

Summer Storage Fees:
For those students who want to leave their belongings to be stored in their homestay family’s house somewhere until they return, the suggested fee is $250 per month.  The students’ items will not be stored in their room, instead, they will be stored in a convenient place within the home.  This is a private arrangement between you and your homestay family so you must talk to your homestay family before you leave to make sure they are ok with you leaving your belongings in their home.

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