Become a Host Family
for Foreign Students in Vancouver
Welcome to the
VEC homestay program!
You will find the experience fun and rewarding! Hosting a student
from abroad is a great way to make new friends and learn about people
from faraway places. If you are interested in sharing your home
with a student, we would like to talk to you. As hosts, you will
welcome a student into your home as a member of the family. Your
student will learn about Canadian culture by joining your daily
What do we need to become
a host family?
Although we request a
private, furnished bedroom, students expect to share the bathroom,
laundry room, kitchen and family room. Our hosts provide breakfast,
a bagged lunch and a full supper. We offer $23 per night to our
hosts, to defray any expenses you might incur. Cheques are issued
every 28 days. The first cheque arrives within approximately 10
working days of the student’s first day of school.
The Vancouver English
Centre Homestay Program
VEC provides students
with a good introduction to life in Canada. Our goals are threefold:
1) HOMESTAY: A careful match in a nice, well located home.
2) EXCELLENT EDUCATION
3) SIGHTSEEING AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES
Students come from all
over the world, although they currently tend to be from Korea, Japan
and Mexico. There is an increasing diversity in the countries our
students are from, for example: Germany, Saudi Arabia, the Czech
Republic, Colombia, and Brazil. Students may be any age but typically,
they are adults in their early 20’s.
Students may come at any
time and register for any number of four-week sessions. Some students
stay as long as a year. Fall, winter and spring sessions tend to
be longer stays and summer students often stay for a shorter term.
Most students are in school Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 3:40
pm, except on Friday when there is only a morning session. A few
students choose to attend only morning or afternoon classes.
Host families are encouraged
to share activities with students. It is good for the student to
feel a part of the family and celebrate in holidays, traditions
and special occasions. However, the Vancouver English Center has
ACTIVITIES COORDINATORS to organize activities and events to accommodate
a variety of student interests.
Students MUST have insurance
before being accepted at VEC. Most students come with their own
medical insurance. If not, the Vancouver English Centre will make
arrangements at $60 per month.
Vancouver English Centre
staff personally welcome most students at the airport and take them
to the Homestays. Someone from VEC will call you the day before
to ensure you will be home.
Our host families usually
live in North Vancouver, Vancouver or Burnaby, within a travelling
distance of 20-45 minutes from the school by transit. Applications
may be accepted up to 45 minutes away if the home is exceptional
and the host family agrees to assist (reasonably) with the transportation
of students. For example, drive to and pick-up from bus stop on
school days and off-hours over the weekend.
THE HOST FAMILY
We tell students our host
families will provide a typical Canadian lifestyle. It is very important
that our students speak only English at all times. Students come
to Canada because English is spoken clearly and with little variation
in accents. We do not usually place two students from the same language
background in the same homestay. It is not recommended, but approval
may be given if the students request it. Vancouver English Centre
allows students from other schools to be with our host families,
as long as they do not speak the same language.
Students are given a private
room with a proper bed - futons and hide-a-beds are not considered
acceptable - desk, chair, dresser and lamp. Three meals a day are
provided with snacks available. This includes a light breakfast,
bagged lunch to take to school and supper with the family. Meal
plans should consist of healthy and varied menus and may include
foods from the student’s home country on occasion. It is a
thoughtful gesture and considerate of the family to ask if there
are foods a student may not like or be unable to eat for health
If you will be away,
a meal should be prepared beforehand and left for the student to
easily and conveniently cook in an oven or microwave. At the same
time it is a courtesy for the student to advise the host if he/she
will be away or late for dinner. Homes should be well maintained
in a clean and neat fashion. On-site laundry facilities should be
available. Who does the student’s laundry can be worked out
between the host and the student.
To picture an ideal homestay, imagine your student is a visiting
relative. “House rules” should be reasonable, flexible,
comfortable and easy to live with. Remember that the student is
an adult. It is important to look at each individual and situation.
For example, it is not unreasonable that your expectations would
differ for a student at the age of 16 and a student of 60! When
a student arrives, the host family should personally take the time
to make the student comfortable with the operations of the household.
is secondary to the experience, host families are given $23 per
night. This is to compensate for any expenses that may be incurred.
HOW TO APPLY
You can find our online
application form here http://secure.vec.bc.ca/host_new/index.cfm.
We will contact you after we receive your completed application.
Someone will visit you in your home, where we will be able to discuss
the program with you. After the visit, we will begin trying to find
an appropriate student for you. We match students and families very
carefully, to ensure that your habits and interests are compatible,
so it might take a little time.
Your student will be as
excited about this visit as you are. You can ensure a good first
impression by preparing before your student arrives. The bedroom
should have a desk, bed, closet and dresser. The bedroom should
be clean and bright. The student will feel more welcome if you leave
a bouquet of flowers or fruit basket on the dresser. Another nice
touch is a photo of your family, with your names on the back. You
should have a spare key ready. If you can’t pronounce the
student’s name, you can ask someone who knows-then practice.
After the student has
arrived, you should offer a tour of the house at your earliest convenience.
Don’t forget to explain how to utilize your appliances. This
is a good time to discuss house rules and customs. Since jet lag
may be a problem, your guest might like an early end to the day.
To enhance the immersion
experience, we have an “English only” policy both at
school and at home. You may need to remind your student occasionally.
A notepad or a chalkboard can be useful when you are having trouble
making yourself understood.
You are not expected to
pay for your student’s shopping, entertainment, or long distance
calls. You should make sure that all long distance calls are collect
or by calling- card. Adding a long distance call block on your phone
is a recommendation. Hosts normally pay for their students at restaurants
Your diet might be quite
different from what your student may be accustomed to. Since many
students are too polite to complain about the food, it helps to
discuss the subject enough to determine your guest’s preferences.
Many hosts allow students to prepare their own lunches for school.
People from some other cultures won’t accept another helping
until you ask them two or three times. It’s good to take the
student grocery shopping during the first few days, so that you
can get a feel for what the student likes.
This is the most common
problem encountered by our students. You can help by suggesting
the following procedures:
1) Students record the numbers of all credit cards, passports, traveler’s
2) Label all valuables with name and address. We provide self-adhesive
3) Students should not carry unnecessary money, credit cards, or
Although most students
learn how to use our public transportation very quickly, there is
a chance during the first few days that a student may get lost.
You can help avoid this problem by doing the following:
1) Try to arrange for your student to go with others from the same
neighborhood. Groups tend not to get lost.
2) Escort your student on a bus, or explain the route and where
to get off. You might make a note for the driver.
3) Make sure your student has a bus pass, or the correct change.
House rules are most easily
enforced when they are presented orally on the first day. You should
keep in mind that these students are usually adults, capable of
making their own decisions. They may have quite independent lifestyles.
Thus, flexible rules are better than rigid ones. For example, instead
of enforcing a set schedule, it may be better to simply tell your
student that anyone late for dinner can re-heat their supper in
the microwave. Some standard house rules are: no smoking, no drugs
and English only.
You might want to have
some souvenirs on hand, in case your student offers a gift to you.
Don’t confuse cultural
characteristics with personality traits. Japanese students might
expect to remain in their bedrooms until you invite them to join
you. In Latin American countries it is sometimes customary to wear
shoes inside a house. People from some cultures will always agree
with you, because for them, it would be impolite not to.
This can be a great adventure
for the entire family! Take the time to learn about your visitor.
This is a good excuse to be a tourist in your own city, or to just
relax and play a game, or cook a good meal. Whatever you do, don’t
forget to include your newest family member!
We are available at 687-1600 from 9:30 to 3:30, seven days a week.
Feel free to give us a jingle.
Flight Information: Inga 687-1600
Email Ms. Inga Carter
General Host Inquiries: Dorothy 688-5605
Email Ms. Dorothy Gray
Homestay Fee Payments: Dima 484-2698
Email Homestay Fee Payments
Host Address Changes: Dorothy 688-5605
Email Ms. Dorothy Gray
We sincerely hope you have a wonderful experience with your students!
More Information for
Vancouver Host Families
to Become a Homestay Family in Vancouver.
Online Pronunciation Practice.
360-degree Tours of Vancouver Canada.
Association of Private Language Schools.
Insurance for Students in Canada.
250 Smithe Street
V6B 1E7 Canada
a Student from Canada's Leading Language School