Have you ever considered hosting an international homestay student? Not only are you providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a youth, but you’re also going to experience some great benefits.
Becoming a host family is easy, and you don’t need your own kids to participate. Aside from the technical requirements, all you need to participate is a safe home and the desire to support the growth and learning of a youth from another family. You’ll get some pretty incredible benefits too.
Here are our top seven reasons why you should become a host family for a homestay student.
1. You’re promoting inclusion and cultural inclusivity
This seems to be much needed in our world today. In a world that seems broken and divided, you can do a small thing to bring together two families from very different parts of the world. Together you can share the commonalities and celebrate your differences.
By becoming a host family, you’re showing the world that we’re all the same and can work together to do great things. If you have young children living at home, this is a valuable and memorable opportunity to teach them inclusion and cultural inclusivity values.
2. You broaden your horizons
We all have much to learn. Maybe you’re not able to travel the world right now, but you can still learn about its wonders by hosting an international homestay student in your home. Part of hosting a student, learning about each other’s cultures, languages, and beliefs. It can help you broaden your horizons and see the world from a different perspective.
Broadening your horizons is good to help you become more resilient. It opens you up to acceptance and openness towards changes in your life, and you’ll feel less intimidated by the unknown.
3. You change up your daily routine
So often, we get stuck in our daily routines: wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, and go to bed. Hosting an international student is like an excuse to get out and explore your community. Your student will want to check out the local culture, sites, tourist attractions, and shops. You’ll get to show them all the exciting things your community has to offer that you maybe haven’t explored in a while because you were stuck in your daily routines.
While having your regular, predictable routines may feel comfortable, you could be missing out on so much more. Changing up your routines breaks the monotony and can help bring more joy and excitement into your life. Think of it as observing the world through a new set of eyes. You never know what you might discover or learn and decide to add to your routines and habits.
4. You learn new communication skills (or languages)
International students come to Canada to stay with families and learn or improve their English. But, they may also want to teach you a bit about their language. Ask your student to teach you a few words in their native language.
If not, you’ll at least be learning new ways to communicate. If your student’s English is not as developed, you’ll be learning new ways to communicate with them as they learn. For example, you may rely more on body language or written words and pictures, rather than speech.
When you become a more versatile communicator, you can do better at work, better negotiate for what you want (like a promotion), and improve your relationships with your family, friends, and neighbours because you can communicate in a way they can understand and empathize with.
5. You cultivate international friendships
We’ve placed many students in Canadian homes and they stayed in contact with their host families long after they returned to their home country. Many students develop a strong bond with their host family (and vice versa). You may even become regular international pen pals or one day visit them in their home country.
It’s not uncommon to do video calls with your student to catch up and stay in touch.
6. You’re supporting the community
International students have much to share with your community too. When you’re hosting a student, you’re providing an outlet where they can share their culture with your children, their classmates, and the community at large. Encourage your student to join community events, volunteer, and share their passions and culture with others. It’s a great learning experience for everyone.
7. You earn extra income
You will earn a small stipend when you are the host family of a homestay student. It’s not enough to retire on, but it can help cover some of the costs of housing and feeding the student and perhaps take them out on adventures to explore the community.
Now is the time to jump on board if you’ve been on the fence about hosting a homestay student. You can welcome a student into your home for both short-term and long-term placements and provide an authentic Canadian family experience for them.
In return, your family will experience a new kind of joy and learn new things. The relationships you cultivate during these homestay programs will last long beyond their stay.