The first few weeks of the program can be difficult as everybody learns how to adjust to a new routine, but this can also be an exciting time as you get to know more about your student.
It’s normal for there to be an adjustment period; after all, you’re bringing a new person into your home. Hesitation and confusion often happen for both host families and students while you get to know each other. Be clear and direct with the student and approach matters and questions with an open mind.
Food is often a big topic of discussion. It’s typical for students to take a week or two for their appetite to adjust. A good way to help make this easier is to take a trip to the grocery store together where they can point out some of their favourite foods.
You may need to explain to your International son/daughter that Canadians typically buy seasonal food (apples in the fall, berries in the summer, etc.). You may also need to explain that Canadians often freeze food, and if they see an expiry date on that package of frozen chicken, no need to panic; it was frozen the day you brought it home from the grocery store and it is still safe to eat.
The other major topic of conversation is supervision. Students agree to follow the house rules set out by their host families. Often, these can be different from what they are used to. It’s important to be clear with your expectations in regard to curfew and other liberties as soon as your student arrives. This ensures that everybody is on the same page and can prevent conflict.
Remember: Be patient with your student. They are trying to figure out the place they have in their new family, just as you are trying to figure out how you will fit into their life. Neither of you has the benefit of knowing each other’s history. It’s a new relationship for everyone.
“We went over the rules. They still aren’t putting their dishes in the dishwasher!” Maybe they didn’t understand; maybe someone offered to clear the dishes one day, and they think it no longer applies, or maybe they are simply being lazy. Time for a refresher/reminder. If you need some ideas or support, remember to contact your Homestay Coordinator, as they can help you.
Students and their natural parents sign a participation agreement, which includes: