Being a Homestay host to an international student is an enriching experience for you and your family. It’s also a powerful way to make a difference in the life of a young global citizen.
When you welcome an international student into your home, you:
- grow your understanding of the world and its peoples
- make life-long friendships
- get to share the beauty of your home and community
- help the local economy benefit from the booming international education industry
You also receive a stipend to offset the expenses that come with another person in the house.
Homestays for international students attending Georgian College are facilitated by the Canada Homestay Network, which works to ensure families and students are suitably matched and set up for a positive experience.
An international student could be waiting to match with your family right now if…
1. You own a home with an empty bedroom
Do you have a furnished, unoccupied bedroom in your house or condo? Does your home have Wi-fi and laundry facilities? An empty bedroom is 100 per cent less fun than one housing a student whose culture and experience is different than yours. The time your family and your student spend together could be the beginning of a lasting connection to the other side of the globe.
2. Your home is near a Georgian campus
International students need to be able to get to campus easily. If you can walk, bike or take transit to a Georgian campus from your home, you are in the perfect location for the Homestay program.
3. You could use some extra money
Who doesn’t need a bit more cash flow? While money should never be the main criteria for welcoming a student into your home (and the Canada Homestay Network will not accept hosts who are only interested in money), there is a monthly stipend to offset the cost of having another person in the house. International students pay between $500 to $900 a month, depending on the zone you live in and whether you opt to provide meals. Some of this money will offset your costs of hosting (Wi-fi, utilities and potentially food), but some will go straight into your pocket.
4. You’re a foodie
Most Homestay hosts provide international students with enough food for three nutritious meals a day. It can be as simple as keeping your fridge and cupboards stocked, but if you’re looking for someone who will appreciate your cooking, this might be your ticket! Family meals are a big draw. You may also find yourself trying delicious new recipes from your guest’s home country.
5. You’re a people person
If you are social, enjoy making friends and learning about other cultures, you’ll be great at this. Most international students are looking to connect with Canadians, experience typical family dynamics and improve their conversational English. When you decide to welcome them into your home, you commit to helping them adapt to a new life. Host families consistently say they gain so much more than they give; building relationships that will last a lifetime.
This article was originally published in July 2018. It was updated and re-shared in December 2019.