Hosting a Homestay Student
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Hosting is an excellent way to learn about the world without leaving home while sharing Canadian culture at the same time. Knowing that you are playing a key part in helping a young person achieve their dream is rewarding. As a homestay family, you will be the students new “home away from home”. Homestay is the ideal environment for students to deepen their learning and establish friendships that can last a lifetime. Some responsibilities are:
- welcoming the student into your home with the spirit that they are a new family member – not a tenant,
- to provide what you would make available to your own family,
- to offer a clean, safe and caring environment, and emotional support,
- to have reasonable house rules,
- to offer a private bedroom (window, bed, storage, etc.)
- to provide a study space in home if not available in their bedroom,
- to provide bedding, linens, toilet paper, laundry, towels, etc,
- to give the student three nutritious meals a day plus reasonable snacks,
- access to the common living areas of the house and house key,
- sharing interaction with the family and time for quality conversations.
What does three nutritional meals plus reasonable snacks mean? What if my student has specific dietary requests?
Host families are expected to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day plus reasonable snacks (fruit, yogurt, granola bars). On weekends meals must be provided, but times may be more flexible and will be discussed in advance. Below are some examples for each of the meals:
- Breakfast: A common Canadian breakfast often consists of some of the following: Tea, milk, juice, cereal, toast, waffles, bacon, eggs, and pancakes.
- Lunch: On school days, the host family will provide a “bagged lunch”. A typical bagged lunch includes a sandwich with meat or cheese, fruit, muffin or cookies and a drink. Many students like to prepare their own lunches, please discuss preferences with your student. Leftovers, microwave dinners or instant noodles may occasionally also make an enjoyable lunch if available.
- Dinner: A dinner should have a main course, at least one type of vegetable, and either rice, potatoes or pasta. The main course should have one type of protein at least three to four nights a week. An evening meal must be prepared and left in the fridge for the student if the student will be late coming home from school.
- Special dietary requirements are not included within the contractual homestay participation agreement. The student is expected to purchase special items. In some cases, the homestay team may determine additional fees to be allocated to cover the expense of special dietary requirements. For the 2023-2024 school year, a special dietary request fee will be implemented, see details here.
The majority of students study for one or two semesters. A one semester student stays September to January or February to June. A student who stays for one academic year is with their host families from September to June. Finally, some students return for another school year and some stay several years and graduate.
Students are recruited by West Vancouver staff and their agents and:
- undertake academic and behavioural checks
- sign legal agreements
- adhere to their school’s Code of Conduct
- are given comprehensive orientation on life in Canada, including homestay
While all students will have had English training, their proficiency will vary. Please encourage conversations, and remember to be kind, patient, and respectful as it may be challenging for a new student trying to navigate communication in another language.
Absolutely! Our host families may be traditional or non-traditional, with one or two parents, many or no children. All of our selected families are caring and share the common goal to welcome a student into their home with the spirit that students are new family members.
If you are already hosting with another school or agency, please contact the homestay team for further information as age and gender of your current student determine if you can host a high school age student for West Vancouver Schools.
Homestay fees are $1,100 per student per month.
There are two main methods for payment:
- Direct Payment: The homestay family is paid directly by the student. Please remind the student if you have not received payment before the hosting month begins. We highly recommend the usage of the Payment Record Template.
- Direct Deposit: The homestay family is paid by the International Programs Department. Standard payment procedure is by direct deposit on the last business day before the hosting month begins.
Students do not need their own bathroom. Sharing a bathroom is quite common in many households.
Students may use:
- hand soap
- toilet paper
- tissue paper
- basic shampoo and conditioner if available.
Toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss are optional to provide. Some host families do provide these items as they would to their own children.
Students purchase items of special request as well as shaving and feminine hygiene products and all hair styling related items. The purchase of a hair dryer for the students use only is highly recommended.
While it is important to keep an eye on the cleanliness, privacy is also important. The student’s room is one of the most important places for your student to relax and should be private during their stay. If you plan to clean the room, please let the student know ahead of time.
Students’ families often take the opportunity to visit their children while studying in Canada. While we recommend family members making their own accommodation arrangement outside the home, this is your own decision. Keep in mind that it is ok to say “no”. Your student will most likely also have the opportunity to stay with their natural family during their visit. Should you agree on family members staying with you, be prepared that they might not speak English and all financial arrangements are between you and them directly. It is also important to share any changes in your household – even if just temporarily with our homestay team.
Personal cell phones, clothes, school supplies and school fees, personal toiletries, medication and medical bills, transit- monthly bus card, haircuts and other personal services, personal entertainment and expenses unless student is invited by you.
No. Homestay families are not required to drive their student to and from school. Sometimes, families are able to offer a shared ride in the mornings as on route work or your own children’s drop off locations for schools and daycares.
All West Vancouver Schools international students are enrolled in medical insurance for their time in Canada.
Please refer to the Homestay Manual or visit our website here: Medical Insurance
Please visit our website here:
We encourage Homestay families to include their students on excursions with their family.
We encourage families to include their student on family excursions and holidays wherever possible. If this is not possible, please see additional options listed below:
- A family member or family friend of the host family comes into the home stay who is 25 years or older to care for the student(s). We require the contact information of this person for emergency purposes.
- The student can go to a friend’s home; in this case, we need the friend’s parents’ names, phone number and address to confirm adults will be supervising the students.
- While we are more than happy to ask another district host family if they can temporarily host your student, please note that this is not a reliable option and we strongly recommend planning ahead of your scheduled trip.
Any alternative housing arrangements must be approved by the International Programs office.
- Complete the application form and submit it. Once the application is submitted, you will receive an auto-reply indicating that the application has been successfully submitted. Please note that filling the application does not guarantee acceptance to participate in West Vancouver Schools International Programs. A prospective family might not be suitable or the commuting distance too great.
- Complete a Police Information Check (PIC). After your application has been received and reviewed, the homestay coordinators will connect with you, providing you details to obtain the PIC required.
- Once the PIC is in progress, a home inspection will be scheduled.
- Welcome to our unique family of homestays at West Vancouver Schools International Programs. We can’t wait to be locating a suitable student for your family!
Absolutely! We want hosts to respect their student’s privacy at all times.
All students must be notified on arrival about any security cameras or other surveillance devices at or around your home. Ideally this will be noted in your written house rules as well.
We recommend that you disclose the fact that you have surveillance equipment at your home within the first 72 hours of a student’s arrival.
You must ensure that any surveillance is located in common areas only and does not interfere with the students privacy or comfort of moving around freely in the common areas and personal bedroom of the home.