Understanding the role of Homestay Coordinators in the NSISP

Job Description of a Homestay Coordinator

The job description of Homestay Coordinators may vary from board to board. What remains standard across the province is the Homestay Coordinator is a support for students, families, schools, and the program. Homestay Coordinators use their skills in welcoming students and resolving conflict to assist all parties in adapting to the new relationships. Homestay Coordinators are also expected to maintain paperwork and documentation. A full job description can be found in the HSC section of the website.

The role of the Homestay Coordinator is not to be undervalued. Constant communication and support for students and families is what allows the program to grow year after year.

HSC as Chaperones
Homestay Coordinators are regularly in the role of student chaperone (during trips, activities, and events). The expectations of a chaperone are varied; however, the biggest expectation of a chaperone in every situation is to maintain safety for all participants involved. The safety of students and the activities they participate in must always be first.

NSISP students must follow the rules set by the program. These rules include no drinking alcohol; no drugs; no driving; etc. It is important the Homestay Coordinators and chaperones understand these rules are in place for student protection and also for the protection of the NSISP and the school board.

The school board has assumed custodianship for these students and has a responsibility to keep them safe. There is a fine line between being friendly with students and being a student’s friend. While the NSISP encourages personal relationships between Homestay Coordinators and students, the responsibility to student safety and the NSISP policies must be at the forefront. The students must know Homestay
Coordinators are in a position of authority.

HSC must not friend their students on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms. They are encouraged to use group pages to interact with the students but not their own personal pages.

Annual Homestay Coordinator’s Conference
Each year the NSISP holds a Homestay Coordinator’s Conference as an opportunity for HSC to meet, share ideas and stories, learn more about their role, and improve their skills. It is an expectation of all Homestay Coordinators to attend this yearly professional development conference.

Sessions held at the conference meet the requests from coordinators to improve their conflict management skills, become better communicators, share best practices, school support, skills to recruit host families, and student issues. There is an opportunity to meet students, and occasionally agents, from around the world and learn more about international students and their backgrounds. This forum also
allows coordinators to learn about the new programs of the NSISP.

Homestay Coordinators Cultural Familiarization Tour
Every two years a Familiarization (FAM) tour is organized to visit another country. The purpose of this tour is to introduce Homestay Coordinators to the environments in which our students live. When HSC has a better understanding of the home lives and schools of our students they make better homestay placements, have a deeper understanding of student expectations, culture, and language, and generally
better serve the NSISP and its international students. All participants are representatives of the NSISP and are expected to be good ambassadors of Nova Scotia, our families, and our program.

As a FAM Tour participant the HSC will:

  • Participate in all scheduled activities and upon request.
  • Attend school every day. A schedule will be provided.
  • Prepare to do presentations on Canada and our culture and possibly assist in promotional NSISP presentations.
  • Be aware of the protocol of the NSISP in promoting the program internationally.
  • Learn a new culture and share your culture with students, staff, and families in the host schools and host families.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to increase language proficiency, awareness, and understanding of the host country’s education system by attending and participating in all activities; meetings; professional development activities; community events; or language classes.
  • Work independently in the host school, if requested.
  • Write a final evaluation report on the trip and submit it to the lead chaperone. The report is due two weeks after the tour is completed.
  • Be professional and conduct yourself as a representative of the NSISP.

Participant Criteria: The NSISP limits the number of participants to 10 Homestay Coordinators per tour.
The participants will be chosen using the following criteria:

  • Maximum two HSC from each school board
  • Preference is given to HSC with longer terms of service working with the NSISP and those committed to continuing their relationship with the NSISP
  • Recommendation from School Board Directors
  • Consideration of previous travel

Participant Contribution: Each participant will be asked to pay a nominal fee. Participants will live with homestays or stay in a hotel with some meals included.

School Board Policies for Events
Homestay Coordinators will regularly be asked to organize and chaperone student events. Each school board has different policies concerning extra-curricular student excursions. HSC should be aware of the policies in place when organizing events and activities. As an example, school boards have very strict policies for skiing including the number of students per chaperone, natural children on ski trips, access to an extra vehicle, number of chaperones on the ski hill/lodge, parental/guardian permission, ski safety sessions, and use of ski safety equipment including helmets, etc. School boards also have general student-chaperone ratios for activities (even a shopping trip) which differ depending on the age of the students in question. It is very important to know and follow school board policies on extra-curricular/program activities.

Dates to Remember
Homestay Coordinators have responsibilities to organize and chaperone student activities during the school year as determined by their school board. The NSISP has a list of important dates to use as a guide for personal scheduling. The list is below:

New host family orientation
Student arrival weekend (weekend before school begins)
Student orientation
Student evaluations due to NSISP office
Student mid-term report cards due to NSISP office
NSISP cultural trip to Toronto
Board-wide student activity
Student evaluations due to NSISP office
Student departures
Student report cards/final transcripts due to NSISP office
Student arrival weekend (weekend before school begins)
Student orientation
March Break
NSISP Cultural Trip to Montreal/Ottawa
Student evaluations due to NSISP office
Student mid-term report cards due to NSISP office
Homestay Coordinator’s Conference
Board-wide student activity
Student final report cards/transcripts due to NSISP office
Student departures


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