HOME-STAY SERVICES Q&A

Home-stay is an opportunity for students to live with host families in order to increase their awareness of Canadian culture and to accelerate development of their English language skills.

Students and families are matched based on the information received on the home-stay application form.

Each student will have the opportunity to stay in a Canadian home, have his/her own bedroom and study area, have three meals a day, and learn about Canadian culture and lifestyle through interaction with a Canadian family.

The College provides orientation and ongoing counseling throughout the home-stay period, and a Home-stay Coordinator is always available to the students to help them deal with any problems that they might encounter in their new home. Students who are interested in living with a home-stay family should inform the school at least two weeks in advance.

Families are chosen on the basis of their commitment to involve the student in various activities, their interest in inter-cultural communication, and fluency in English. The home-stay family has been carefully selected and interviewed in their home to ensure that they are a suitable family.

Canadian families are not all the same. Your host family might be a married couple with or without children, a retired couple, a single parent family or even a single person. In some families only the father works, while in other families both the mother and the father work out of the home. Canadian families live in different types of homes and in different parts of the city. Your host family might live in an apartment, townhouse or a large house. They might be within walking distance of the school or a 40-minute bus or train ride away.

Both the host family and you, the student, have responsibilities. It is impossible to guarantee that you will establish a good relationship with your host family. Your relationship will depend on how willing you are to try to communicate with one another; personality conflicts sometimes create a problem. The key is to have mutual respect for each other and keep trying! Home-stay is an opportunity for you to become part of a Canadian family. On a typical day at home, you will notice that there are many small tasks that need to be done. These include preparing meals, setting and clearing the table, washing the dishes or loading the dishwasher. Often, in a Canadian family, parents and children all help out around the house to complete these tasks. Your main responsibility will be to keep your bedroom clean and tidy, and clean up the bathroom after use, but any extra time that you spend helping in the home will serve to deepen the feeling that you are more than just a guest and that you are really a member of the family.

  • Manners. Manners vary greatly from culture to culture, so please be observant and ask questions to avoid embarrassment. Ask your host family to explain appropriate Canadian table manners for both the home and the restaurant.
  • Food and Meals. Canadian food may be very different from the food that you are used to at home. Be prepared to try new foods and experience new tastes. You may tell your host parents what you like and do not like as they will try their best to meet your needs and tastes.
  • Transportation. You will be using public transportation to get to and from school. Your host family will explain the fares and schedules to you. They will give you complete instructions and probably take you on a trial run of your route to school before or on your first day of class. Write down all of the information for your own reference; bus and street names, and where and when to transfer. Phone your host family if you are lost.
  • Bathroom. Ask your host family for a guided tour of the facilities. Ask how to use the shower, where extra towels are and where to put your wet towels. Please provide your own personal items such as shampoo, conditioner, tissues,  toothpaste, etc.
  • Telephone Usage. The host family will explain how to use the telephone. Remember that the telephone is for everyone in the family to use, so calls should be brief and to the point. Arrange a method of payment for long distance calls.
  • Smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, please consult with your host family regarding rules. Most families do not allow smoking in the home. Also, ask your host family how to dispose of your cigarette butts for safety purposes.
  • Telephone Your Host Family. If you are not going to be home for dinner or are going to be late coming home, telephone your host family and tell them.
  • Your Money. You are responsible for your own spending money (i.e. for public transportation, dining out, long distance telephone calls, entertainment, etc.). Ask the Home-stay Coordinator or your host family for assistance with setting up a bank account. Please remember not to carry large sums of money with you as you may lose it or it may be stolen.
  • Ask For Help. If you are unsure how to do something or are confused, ask your host family to show you how.
  • Guests. If you wish to have guests over, ask your host family’s permission first. Please remember to supply the snacks for your guests yourself.

You must give the appropriate amount of notice to Dorset College and host family before you move out. If you live in home-stay for one month only: Give Dorset College and host family two week’s notice prior to moving out. (i.e. Give notice on your 15th day of home-stay.) If you live in home-stay for two months or longer: Give Dorset College and host family one month’s notice prior to moving out. (i.e. Give notice on the day your home-stay fee is due for the 2nd month.)

Applications for the home-stay program must be received by Dorset College at least two weeks before you arrive in Canada. Along with the home-stay application form, please submit the home-stay placement fee, the first month home-stay fee and the airport pick-up fee. If the airport pick-up service is required, please send us your flight number, date and time of arrival. Once a home-stay family has been located, the information will be faxed or mailed to you. You may wish to write a letter to your host family and send a photo to introduce yourself. Please note that there is no refund for the first month home-stay fee.

Dorset College partners with Liane’s Vancouver Homestay for homestay placement. For inquiries about homestay fees, please contact Dorset College at info@dorsetcollege.bc.ca or Liane’s Vancouver Homestay at info@lvhomestay.com .