Host Family Handbook
A handbook has been created for use by host families to give information necessary for helping their student adjust to a new environment and explain the expectations of the student and the host family. Many families use the handbook as a reference to locate information for questions concerning program rules, cultural shock, medical insurance, student travel, etc. There is a host family handbook
Host Family Orientation Session
A host family orientation session is held each year for new families to help them understand the rules and expectations of the program, give them guidance about their role, and help them understand the support offered by the program. The Host Family Handbook is reviewed during the orientation session allowing families an opportunity to ask questions for clarification.
The orientation session is a good networking opportunity for both coordinators and families. Many coordinators prefer to invite experienced host families to this information session so they may provide a different perspective.
A sample session may look like this:
Many of us have been doing this for a very long time, but to most of our kids, this is the most exciting thing they have ever done in their lives.
Host families must never feel they are alone in dealing with their international students. While host families should accept the student into their homes and treat them as one of their own children, it is important they understand they have the support of the program behind them.
A major part of the Homestay Coordinator’s role is to regularly communicate with students and families. Regular communication allows many small issues to be dealt with before they become larger ones. While each Homestay Coordinator may vary in how they communicate with their families, the NSISP has the following expectations for communication:
All Homestay Coordinators have business cards and these should be given to host families to have at their disposal. Purchasing magnetic business cards and asking families to post them on the refrigerator is an example of how to be certain the contact information is available at all times.
A good tip for Homestay Coordinators is to have a group set up in their email account allowing them to share the news with host families. This news can be about upcoming events, holidays and in-service days, ideas for Christmas vacation, etc. It is a good idea to copy families on all emails for students even when an activity is only for international students as families should be aware of upcoming activities to help
organize drives, give permission, organize personal schedules, and encourage reluctant students to participate.
In many cases, host parents are in communication with the student’s natural parents, and having information about upcoming program activities, in-services, etc. is information they will relay and explain to natural families.
Please note: In the case where the host parent is also the Homestay Coordinator, an effort should be made to have someone else act in the Homestay Coordinator role for this student. This can be done by another Homestay Coordinator or the Program Manager. The student should be informed of who is taking this role for them very early in their stay in Nova Scotia.