Host Family Tips
Before Your Student Arrives
- Have all your due diligence in place when it comes to paperwork, contracts and training. It can seem like a lot of work at times, but it is crucial to protect your liability.
- Re-familiarize yourself with the Host Family Code of Conduct. Even experienced Hosts forget things sometimes.
- Prepare your student’s room. A good practice is to put yourself in their shoes. Imagine what kind of room you would like as a young person, travelling thousands of miles to come live in a new country. Aim to create a clean, inviting, and homey space for them. Preparing a small welcome basket is a nice gesture. You might include bottled water; some small snacks or treats; a welcome note; a Canadian Flag; a map of the Comox Valley; a house key or code, and your wifi password.
- Prepare and print your house rules and expectations. You might consider translating them into your student’s native language.
- Familiarize yourself with their school schedule and calendar. Students may be very overwhelmed at the beginning. You can help them understand what to expect and guide them along the way.
When Your Student Arrives
- Give your student a tour of the house. Make them feel at home by showing them more than their bedroom and the bathroom. They may be unfamiliar with how your appliances work and need help with small details, like where toilet paper or clean towels are.
- Set your student rules and expectations. As with all young people, your student may not keep to all your rules perfectly. Setting expectations from the beginning helps and can be a conversation to re-visit in the future if required.
- Encourage your student to speak. Helping your student speak English could help them feel more confident and involved, as they adapt to their new surroundings.
- Be flexible with meals. Your student may need some time to adjust to different types of food. Be patient with them if needed, as they will be dealing with multiple cultural differences. It may take time at first for them to adjust to a new diet and the types of food your family eats.
- Let them rest. You may be excited to take your student sightseeing to all your favourite places or introduce them to your friends. Try to take it easy in the beginning as they may be jet lagged and overwhelmed by all their new surroundings. Give them time to rest and get settled.
After Your Student is Settled
- Stay engaged. Some students will be talkative and eager to join you and your family in whatever you do. Some students will be far less outgoing, so, do your best to stay involved in their school and home life, while still respecting their need for space. Keep inviting them to join your family outings, they may just need time to warm up to your family.
- Recognize that cultural differences matter. Different cultures express things like disagreements or requests in different ways. Remember that there may be different communication styles in play. Also, be sensitive to the fact that your student might be too embarrassed or intimidated to share what they really think.
- Reach out if you need help.
- Our Program Emergency number after 5 pm or Weekends/Holidays is 1.250.703.6938
- Stay connected with your student’s school, and help your student contact teachers or tutors if they need extra help. If possible connect with other host families, they may have some great suggestions from their previous experiences.
- Exercise patience and perseverance. No matter how great a student or a host family is, challenges are always likely to arise. When miscommunications arise you can help get all of you through it by being patient and continuing to work at the relationship so that things keep moving forward.