The Process of Acceptance into the NSISP
Student applications are received by the NSISP office and accepted or rejected by the Program Officer. Once accepted, the application information is entered into the NSISP database and the student is placed in a school board on a rotation basis.
Applications are comprised of a variety of components, including past student records. The NSISP does not, as a rule, accept students who are not academically successful in their own country. Students with learning difficulties or behavioural issues in their home countries are less likely to be successful in Nova Scotia. These students are usually rejected so as not to overburden our schools and homestays with high-needs students. However, there are specific cases where boards may choose to give a student a “second chance” for success in the local school system based on a strong recommendation from an agent.
The NSISP has agreed to a student placement formula for the distribution of students. Particular attention is paid to the number of students per country. As boards receive student applications, matches are made based on the protocol used within individual school boards. Student requests are met as often as possible requiring the formula to be flexible to make the best match for the student.
Matching Student Applications with Families
Matching students and families can be a stressful process for a Coordinator. Although the NSISP application contains information about the student it is not always easy to get a sense about his/her personality. The information about a student is limited to the information received in their application. This is why it is important to know and gather as many details as possible about host families and their personalities and interests. This will help make the matching process go more smoothly.
It is important to be proactive and anticipate questions/concerns. For example, if a student’s application indicates she is allergic to dogs but likes them and she is placed in a family with a hypoallergenic dog that information should be indicated upfront to eliminate the concern of families learning the family has a pet dog. This will also instill confidence in the natural family and student and give them the sense that their
child’s best wishes were met.
The NSISP can also provide CultureGrams© as a resource for Coordinators and host families to learn more about the student’s country. CultureGrams© includes information about the country’s background, the people, customs and courtesies, lifestyle, and society.
Sample Student Application
There will be five copies of the student’s application circulated: for the Homestay Coordinator; the host family; the school; the school board; and the NSISP will keep a copy. All original photos are to be given to the host family. This is important to note as students are very disappointed if they arrive and their host family does not have these photos.
Please note: In the case of applications from Mexico from the company Ad Astra, there is a confidential student assessment that was completed by the agent and is for use by the program only. Do not give this confidential assessment to the host family.
NSISP Guidelines on Student Placement
The NSISP has established guidelines for student placement. These guidelines have been given to all agents
around the world and must be followed. The rules of the NSISP include:
The timeline of student placement in a host family is two or four weeks as indicated by the NSISP in their
For all applications received before June 15th, homestay placement letters will be sent out within four weeks of complete application packages being received by their placement board. Students not placed within the four-week period will be moved to the next board on the rotation schedule. For applications received after June 15th, homestay placement letters will be sent within two weeks of receiving the application. (NSISP Policy—August 2006)
After a student and host family have been matched, a welcome letter is sent to the student from the
program. As per the NSISP policy, this welcome letter will include:
A copy of the welcome letter can be found in the HSC section on the website.
Policy on Student Contact after Placement
Many families are excited after being matched with their students and want to start communicating immediately. Advise host families to wait a few weeks before sending their first email as the welcome letters need to be sent from the school boards to the NSISP office then to the agent than to the natural family. This process takes about two weeks.
Please Note: Natural families should be the first to initiate contact with the host family. This is very important to them and they can be quite offended if the first contact comes before the agent has forwarded the welcome letter.