Host families facilitate a cross-cultural exchange in their home and provide International students with the experience of being a member of a Canadian household. Host families receive a monthly stipend to assist in covering the reasonable costs of this experience. They assume certain responsibilities and, in return, benefit from the experience of hosting students from other countries. Host families agree to provide a safe, comfortable, and friendly environment where students feel welcome and cultural exchange can take place. Below are the expectations of the three parties involved: the Centre for Education, the host family, and the student.
The Centre for Education agrees to:
- Select homestay settings and homestay families which meet the requirements of the Nova Scotia International Student Program
- Establish the placement most suitable for both the student and the host family based on the information provided by both parties
- Monitor the homestay relationship and assist all parties in communicating to promote a successful experience. Disputes shall be referred to the Director of the International Student Program.
- Agree to pay a predetermined monthly reimbursement to families to assist in covering the cost of food, driving costs, utilities, etc.
- Provide orientations prior to the start of the school year to fully explain the role of the host family, program, and student.
- Provide a Homestay Coordinator to support the students and host families.
The Host Family agrees to:
- Provide a friendly, welcoming family environment which is sensitive to the physical, social, and emotional needs of the student
- Provide a Criminal Records Check and Child Abuse Registry check for every household member over the age of 18 prior to hosting and update all documentation as required by the Centre for Education.
- Provide furnished accommodation in a single room in which the furniture consists of a bed, dresser, closet/wardrobe, and window. The family will also provide internet, food for three
- healthy meals a day, and adequate heat in the winter months
- Facilitate a discussion of household rules with the student upon his/her arrival and review reasons for Canadian/local/family customs and norms
- Allow the Homestay Coordinator, or designate, access to the student’s room when necessary
- Make an effort to include the student as a member of the family, help the student pursue extracurricular interests, including assisting with a reasonable amount of transportation
- Notify the Centre for Education immediately as household information changes (i.e. a new person moves into the home, new phone number, new pet or deceased pet, etc.)
- Maintain adequate home and content insurance to cover an International student living in the home.
- Notify the Centre for Education of any student travel outside of the province and provide any necessary documentation to the Centre for Education at least two weeks in advance.
- Attend a mandatory Host family orientation program provided by the Centre for Education.
- Contact the Homestay Coordinator should significant problems with students occur.
- Keep all information about students confidential, as required under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act. Personal information about students will be shared only with the NSISP.
- Understand that even though a Host family has been approved, there is no guarantee the Host family will be assigned a student.
- Acknowledge students may not use drugs or alcohol and contact the Homestay Coordinator immediately should this issue arise. Further acknowledge drugs or alcohol may not be provided to a student in any situation, including holidays or celebrations.
- Understand where an incompatibility exists between the student and the Host family, the Homestay Coordinator will determine if a satisfactory solution can be found. If necessary, it is understood a student may be moved.
- The NSISP is responsible to ensure students are housed in an environment where all parties feel safe. Host families must inform program staff if they feel their safety is in jeopardy, they become victims of domestic abuse, and/or they request a peace bond, restraining order, etc.
Upon acceptance into the program, the student agrees to:
- Attend all classes, complete all homework assignments, and participate in extra-curricular activities offered by the school.
- Not drive a car, drink alcoholic beverages, or use cannabis or illegal drugs, work illegally, or become involved in any illegal activities.
- Follow the rules of the school and homestay and cooperate with the program administrators, teachers, students, and host family.
- Acknowledge the program reserves the right to terminate participation in the International Student Program and can send the student back to their home country at their own or their parents’ cost, if program regulations are broken.