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This page will provide you general information on tips and reminders for hosting.

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First Impressions

Upon the arrival of your student, be mindful of how they might feel after their travel. The first impression is one that will always be remembered!

These students will want to feel comfortable in their Homestay and will be happy to have access to a Canadian family who can decode the culture and help them get settled. Provide a tour of your home, are offered a snack in case they are hungry, understand where the bathroom is, and know how to use the shower. Make sure they have what they need in their bedrooms. Offer extra blankets, as the weather is a bit variable. Often hosts will leave a little gift basket by their student’s bed with a welcome card, a local magazine, a bottle of water and a fruit, and a maple leaf pin or pen.Over the next few days tell them about the laundry and where they can store their luggage.

Hospitality is about communicating warmth, interest and information.


Communication includes both clear speaking and active listening, keep in mind that not all communication is verbal. Be aware of non-verbal cues to your guest’s state of mind and well-being and then find a way to test your observations verbally. Some non-verbal cues to keep in mind are: smiling, posture, eye contact.

Conversations & Expectations

Find time most days to sit down and ask them about their day.Encourage them to come to you with questions and concerns.Please remember to communicate your expectations clearly around such issues as how often and when laundry can be done, how late showers may be taken, how late any noisy activities may take place (chatting and laughing on skype in middle of night might not be welcome for instance), and what notification you will expect if they will be really late coming home. Safety (theirs) and consideration (of your family) are the keywords here, not control, especially for students who are considered adults. Remember that it is your job to decode the practices of your home and our culture. Do not be shy about saying: “this is what we do in our home” as you explain expectations. They will not necessarily know what is expected in any given situation unless you tell them. Finally, please do not talk about the cost of everything (food, water, gas, etc.) to your student. It will make them feel that they are a burden in your home. If you have usage guidelines (15 minutes showers), please express these positively in terms of conservation/consideration etc. If you have any money issues please bring them to us.

Being Safe and Aware

For a student, there is a lot to learn quickly. Here are some helpful tips to help your student stay safe:

Before they leave home on their own, make sure they have a keys; a card with your name, address and all contact numbers, bus stop numbers and names, and local bus Travel Planner Directions to and from their school and your home. A good idea is to show them how to use the local bus system Travel Planner early on and help them bookmark it on their laptops if they have brought them. Check to see if they need to go to a bank or a drugstore in first few days and facilitate this.


Ask your guest about their food preferences. Review mealtimes and the protocol for letting you know if they will not be coming home for dinner. Discuss your family’s routines around breakfasts and lunches and your expectations around their role in preparing these meals. Take them shopping so you have some of what they prefer for breakfast and lunches and make these meals together at the beginning. They will not be comfortable at first exploring your fridge and cupboards.You may have opportunities to cook together- which is always a great deal of fun.

Please remember how important food is to our physical and mental well-being and piece of mind; in situations where we have very little control and we are a bit out of our depth, food can have the power to comfort or dismay. It is very helpful to your guest if they have some measure of influence on what is available for them to eat and if there is a bit of an open fridge policy.

Sharing Experiences

Make time at the very beginning to get to know your guest so you will know their interests. You can be a launching pad for their discovery of the city. Hosts often tell us how much they have enjoyed showing off their city to a visiting student or teacher.

On the home front, introduce them to extended family, friends, and neighbors; include them in seasonal festivals. Ask them how they would spend such a day at home. Raise the question of what is the same and what is different in any given situation leads to many an interesting conversations. Watching the TV news or TV programs may similarly stimulate conversation. Show your interest in them by asking questions about their life in their home country, their family, their courses, their hobbies, their city, etc. Ask to see pictures and show them some of yours.Take pictures of them that you can share digitally, visit points of interests. If you would enjoy doing it, they may as well in your company.

Keep In Touch

Please keep us in touch with good news and bad; we are here to support you and your guest. The confident host 'raises their hand’ if they have a question or concern they want to brainstorm. This is much better to do early rather than late.
Approach your student with genuine interest in their well-being, listen well, communicate clearly, ask for help, retain your sense of humour, and treat every experience as an opportunity to learn. Enjoy your student. Keep in touch.
Thank you for hosting.


Host ideas for welcoming .pdf

Discussion Guideliness.pdf

Discussion Guideliness.pdf (65.3 KB) Jennifer Wilson, 2013-04-17 00:57

Groups_Tips_Hosting_10.2.pdf (137 KB) Jennifer Wilson, 2013-04-17 00:57

Welcome your Guest.pdf (107 KB) Jennifer Wilson, 2013-04-17 00:57

Host ideas for welcoming .pdf (35.9 KB) Jennifer Wilson, 2013-04-17 00:57

Lost Something.pdf (42.8 KB) Jennifer Wilson, 2013-04-17 00:57