Frequently Asked Hosting Questions

The Canada Homestay Network is dedicated to supporting hosts at every stage of the homestay experience.

Who makes a great homestay family?

Good hosts are as varied as the human race. They can be couples with children, young and old; empty nesters; or single moms and dads. Their homes are downtown apartments or suburban bungalows; their professions might include school teachers, doctors, shop owners, artists, musicians, and many more!

The common denominator among all these differences is the gift of hospitality, and a natural curiosity and interest in other people and points of view. Being a great host requires a sensitive and patient family. It can be overwhelming for a student to be so far away from home. A thoughtful host family appreciates that each student is unique and that communication and mutual understanding take effort.

Our hosts are interested in sharing their lifestyle in a positive and mutually rewarding way. We do not accept host applicants who are interested in money alone. These motives are obvious to students, and interfere with the intended homestay experience: a safe, secure, welcoming environment to learn and grow in.

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How do you select the student that you introduce to us?

CHN maintains a database of diverse host families. They tell us their interests, lifestyles, hobbies, preferred hosting relationships, and even dietary restrictions. When students and visitors apply to our programs, they complete similar profiles. With this information, we are able to match the student to a host family for a mutually enjoyable relationship. With agencies in over 70 countries and long-standing relationships with leading independent schools and school boards, we provide our hosts with access to a wide variety of students. At the same time, our experience helps us to give our hosts the perspective, resources, and support required to make their homestay experience successful. As part of this support, we schedule periodic workshops with hosts in order to update homestay program requirements and improve our collective capabilities.

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How do I know if homestay is right for me and my family?

Do you have time for a student? Even the most self-assured students appreciate good quality time with their host family. Will you be in town for the duration of your student's stay? Absences longer than three days must be approved by CHN in advance.

Is everyone in your household ready to accept someone with a different background? If you have children, are they comfortable with bringing another person into the family?

Who are you expecting to host, and when is the best time to host them? Please note that our students come to participate in a variety of programs. Some are short term, some are seasonal, and some are very popular with students of particular nationalities. For a better understanding of the programs we offer, click here.

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How are hosts prepared and supported?

Upon welcoming you to our team of host families, we will be providing you with our Host Guide, to outline the hosting relationship. We hold several workshops and orientation sessions per year to inform, engage, and get feedback from our hosts.

Once a match is made, our local relationship managers are there to guide you through the hosting process. From the time you receive the first call about a student, to the pre-arrival orientation session, through to the tearful goodbye, our relationship managers will be available to provide answers, advice, and support.

We also offer an emergency support system that responds to calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will always be able to get a person on the phone to help.

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What are hosts expected to provide to students?

  • A private bedroom, desk and closet
  • Nutritious meals, every day (meal plans vary)
  • A patient, caring, and friendly home atmosphere
  • The same guidance and attention you would want for one of your loved ones travelling overseas!

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What happens if we are uncomfortable with a student, or the student is uncomfortable with us?

Although we have placed over 45,000 students over the years with thousands of hosts, if a student or host considers our match inappropriate, we are quite prepared to arrange a different homestay.

Equally, we are available to help you clarify any misunderstandings, if and when they arise: as we tell our students, please don't be shy to speak to us!

There is no need to suffer in silence—it's not good for you, your student, or us. If you are worried, we are worried! In some cultures it is impolite to talk about personal feelings or frustrations, for fear of losing face; not so in Canada, or with us!

Please tell us how you feel, good or bad. You can be candid and considerate at the same time. You don't need to break eggs with a hammer, but it's just as bad to say nothing.

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What if I have to cancel?

Hosts rarely cancel a reservation, and if they do, it's only for exceptional circumstances, like a sudden illness. As you can imagine, it's unsettling for a student to have changes in their homestay even before they arrive!

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Are hosts paid? How much?

The homestay fees paid to our hosts vary slightly from program to program. The purpose of the monthly stipend is to cover the costs of hosting, such as higher grocery or utilities bills.

Many hosts find that there may be a little money left over each month, but hosting is something you do for the experience, not to make money.

Across Canada, the host allowance averages about $600–$700 per month, but can be higher than that when students pay extra for special features like a private bathroom. Some programs are organized by the calendar month, while others are billed and paid in 28-day cycles. Short-term groups tend to pay by the night. In every case, hosts are notified of the amount of the allowance at the time the student is suggested to them as a potential match.

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When will we be able to host our first student?

Because we are so careful to make the best matches possible, it is impossible to predict when you will be matched with a student. After all, there is no way to know when a student who matches your profile will apply. However, there are certain peak times of year when we receive the greatest number of applications. September and January are important intake months for long-term (typically 5 to 10 months) high school students. July and August are popular months for short-term group tours of 2 to 8 weeks.

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