It’s June, and the kids are all looking forward to the last weeks of school because it means summer vacation is around the corner. While the kids are looking forward to summer, now is the perfect time to begin considering becoming a homestay host in BC for an international student. 

The start of the new school year in September is the perfect time to begin hosting. And while the process to apply is straightforward, it takes some time to process your application and have a student placed with you for September. 

Now is the time to learn about the opportunity and start your application. Here’s what you need to know about becoming a homestay host in BC. 

What is a homestay host?

A homestay host opens their home to an international student to stay with them while the student studies and experiences life in Canada. These are most often secondary (grades 8-12) or post-secondary students who want to experience life in another country. 

As their homestay family, you provide them with shelter and food and act as their guide to your community. They become part of your family, and you’re expected to invite them to participate in your family activities and trips as appropriate. Although you’re encouraged to invite your students to participate with you, some students may be more comfortable with quiet downtime or time with their new friends.

Students come from all over the world, most commonly from countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia. You host them for a few weeks, a semester, or a whole school year. Let your host company know how long you’re willing to host a student, and remember, the more flexible you are the better.

Benefits of becoming a host

The benefits of homestays are not limited to the international student. As a host family, you also get to experience some fantastic benefits, including: 

  • Learn new cultures: Your family will get to learn about your student’s culture. A homestay is not just a one-sided educational experience. It’s founded on exchange and education for both parties. 
  • Introduce your children to a new culture: If you have children at home, exposing them to regular interaction with someone from a different culture can be very beneficial. It gives them a glimpse of the world beyond their own family and community. It helps them build a sense of global awareness and kindness towards others.
  • Impact a student’s life: You can play a profound part in creating a life-changing experience for youth. Travelling and experiencing new cultures can shape the course of someone’s life; by hosting a student, you can help shape their future. 
  • Make new family memories: As a homestay family, you’ll bring your student with you as you explore your community. While doing so, you’ll be creating great memories like:
    • The time you took your student to try their first poutine.
    • The time you went to the beach and saw sea lions bobbing by the shore. 
    • The weekly family game nights with your student.
    • The overnight trip up to Whistler to show them the 2010 Olympic venues and go skiing. 
  • Earn some side income: As a host family, you receive a monthly amount to help cover the added cost of accommodation and food for your student. With Harmony Homestay, this amount could be up to $1050 per month. 

Your family will only get as much as you put into the experience. The more you can dedicate to creating an enriching experience for your student, the more you’ll learn and experience together. 

Requirements to become a homestay host

To ensure students are placed in homes that are safe and prepared to provide an enriching experience, homestay hosts must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be Canadian Citizens
  • Must speak only English around the student
  • Must provide three healthy meals per day (plus snacks)
  • Offer a private bedroom with a window, bed, desk, drawers, and access to the home wireless internet
  • Agree not to leave the student alone at home overnight without supervision
  • Provide criminal record checks (for all adults in the house)

Why you should apply now

If you’re considering hosting an international student, now is the time to start the application process. It takes time to complete your application and match you with the right student. This means it’s always the right time to apply!

When your application has been received, our team will review it and contact you if we have any questions. This is also your opportunity to ask us any questions you have about the experience of becoming a host family. Once approved, we’ll contact you when we have a placement in your area. 

Are you ready to build global relationships?

At Harmony Homestay, we’ve been connecting international students with homestay families across the Lower Mainland since 2008. Many of our host families and students have created lasting relationships that extend far beyond their stay in Canada.

We’re always accepting applications for new homestay hosts in the Vancouver area and Thunder Bay, ON. We have students from around the world waiting for placement with a caring Canadian family for September when school starts. Will you be that family?

Learn more about becoming a host family, and begin your online application today.

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