VIU Homestay student and bedroom

Hosting High School Students

In most cases, high school students are longer-term homestay placements and tend to stay at least one academic year. Students usually stay for the academic year September-June. Sometimes students stay for one semester, September-January or February-June.  

In most cases, the High School Principal acts as the custodian for international students while they are attending The High School at VIU (THS) in Canada. Any student the principal is the custodian for is required to be in the VIU Homestay Program. As the students’ custodian, the High School Principal is legally responsible for them while they are studying in Canada. In the event of an emergency, she needs to know where the students are at any time. 

Because THS students are minors, there are a few additional requirements when hosting them:

Hosts of THS students will ensure that:

  • THS student will never be left alone overnight without one of the homestay hosts present unless appropriate permission from the Homestay Program has been granted;
  • THS student obtains a signed permission form from THS Principal (student’s custodian) for any and all travel outside of Nanaimo with or without the homestay host;
  • the host will call the High School Office when the student will be absent from classes;
  • THS student will have an appropriate curfew as set by the host. House rules include the hours that students will be permitted to spend outside the home, especially in the evenings. Factors determining curfews include whether it is a school night or the weekend, what types of activities the student is involved in, and the ages of family members in the homestay.

The sections below provide information on some of the key differences associated with hosting high school students.

Differences Hosting Students of The High School at VIU

The purpose of the BC K-12 International Student Homestay Guidelines is to provide consistent, province-wide best practice standards for B.C.’s K-12 homestay sector.

The Guidelines were originally developed between October 2014 and June 2015 by a working group comprised of K-12 school district, independent school, and Ministry of Education representatives. They were subsequently consulted on with the K-12 sector in the spring of 2015. Over the summer of 2017, the Guidelines were updated with an expanded working group including K-12 and post-secondary representatives to capture changes in the International Education sector relevant to homestay. They represent the commonly-held view on industry best-practice.

VIU is guided by the guidelines when placing Students from THS. Homestay hosts should familiarize themselves with the guidelines below, as there are sections pertinent to hosts.

Please follow the link to view the BC K-12 International Student Homestay Guidelines.

Students Staying Somewhere Overnight or Traveling Outside Nanaimo

The High School and the Homestay Program do not have a designated time for curfews, but here is the general guideline for homestay hosts. Students should be treated as a child of similar age in the home would be or is treated. Hosts with questions about appropriate boundaries or curfews are free to consult with the Homestay Program.

Any time your student is staying overnight outside your home and/or traveling outside of Nanaimo, the custodian (Catherine Brazier) must be informed. 



Student and host family taking a day trip outside Nanaimo

Email about where you are going and when

Student and host family going overnight outside Nanaimo

  • Student to obtain a travel form from THS
  • Host fills and signs the form
  • Student returns the form to THS, and Cathy signs it
  • Student returns a copy of the signed form to the host

Student traveling outside of Nanaimo without the host family

  • Student to obtain a travel form from THS
  • Host fills and signs the form
  • Student returns the form to THS, and Cathy signs it if travel is approved
  • Student will return a copy of the signed form to the host

Student staying overnight at a friend’s in Nanaimo

  • No overnights with other students/friends of the opposite gender
  • Sleep-overs that are not at another VIU Homestay home must be approved in advance. Please email
  • If the student is sleeping over at another Homestay home, please email so the custodian always knows where the student is.  (Please note, if this is a respite arrangement made by the Homestay Program, the program will inform THS.)

If a student is staying home from school, the homestay host must call The High School's office at 250-740-6317.  THS worries if they can’t find a student and will call the number on file to connect with a homestay host.