Future Host Families


Wonderful local families provide support and assistance while International students adapt to the lifestyle and demands of a Canadian culture and the Nanaimo Community. If interested in becoming a host, we encourage you to read through this information.

Check out the Learn about Hosting section below to find out more about the hosting experience, the benefits and the responsibilities involved.

Application Details

Any family, couple or single person (over the age of 25), with or without children, can apply.

Hosts must live near the University. Host families should be less than a 45 minute travel time by bus. This includes walking time from home to the bus stop. Host families must also meet our Home Requirements listed below.

Our Homestay Host Family Application is a comprehensive process to ensure we provide the best possible experiences for our students and also support and prepare our hosts. 

Applications are processed in the order they are completed and take into consideration the following:

  • Location in proximity to Vancouver Island University
  • Willingness to host either male or female
  • Willingness to host either High School or University students
  • Willingness to host students from any country
  • Willingness to host students with particular dietary practices/restrictions
  • Willingness to eat dinner with your students on nightly basis
  • Willingness to invite students in family activities 
  • Meet proper home requirements
  • Meet application deadlines
  • References



Application Deadlines

*Homestay Start Date

Spring 2020

Application opens September 20, 2019 and Closes November 22, 2019.

Various Move-in Dates (January-May)

Summer 2020

Application opens February 2020

Various Move-in Dates (June-August)


Hosting: An Intercultural Perspective

"Hosting international students has been a fantastic cultural experience for our whole family. We love that hosting our international students gives our children in-house exposure to other cultures. Every night at the dinner table we get to know our students and their culture. At the same time we get to share our Canadian culture with them." -Watson Family

Application Currently Closed - Check here for future opportunities

Learn about Hosting

Host Responsibilities

  • Provide each student with a clean, stable family environment

  • Reasonable use of the house and amenities as enjoyed by the Host Family's own children of similar age or, if no such children in the Host Family, as appropriate for someone of the Student’s age

  • For each Student, except those on a “homestay without meals” arrangement, the Host Family will provide a variety of nutritional, well-balanced food, which is accessible in their home so the Student can prepare breakfast and lunch for themselves. When possible, Host Families are encouraged to supply dietary staples from the Student’s home country, but junk food, allergenic and diet-sensitive products such as dietary supplements, vitamins, lactose-intolerant or diabetic replacement foods are the responsibility of the Student to purchase. If eating out as a family, the Host Family is responsible for paying for the student’s meal.

  • For all Students except those on a “homestay without meals” arrangement, the Host Family will provide dinner each night for their Student. Hosts and Students are expected to eat together as a family each night. Host Families are to communicate to their Students what time a Student is to inform the Host family when they will not be home for dinner

  • Make cross-cultural exchange the primary consideration for hosting, not being dependent on Homestay Fees to meet primary financial obligations

  • Provide an English speaking environment and encourage students to speak English in the home

  • Respect the rights, privacy, and culture of the student including religious and political beliefs

  • Include students in family activities, outings, and social or community activities

  • Pick up the student at their arrival point (Nanaimo airport, ferry terminal, or VIU designated spot) and arrange for transportation for departure

  • Assist with emergency medical treatment of the student (guided by VIU and THS)

  • Give clear house rules and expectations in simple, written and spoken formats, consistent with other family members and VIU practices

  • Keep the VIU Homestay office informed of any changes in the home (new pets, children moving out, renovations etc.)

  • Clearly written household rules, which will be discussed upon arrival and followed up on a regular basis to ensure the Student’s understanding of such rules.

  • Attend a New and Returning Host Orientations/Training sessions

  • Read and sign the Homestay Host Letter of Agreement and Hosting Experience Manual.

Homestay staff will do their best to match students and hosts appropriately and to facilitate healthy relationships between them. The number of student placements per term will depend on the number of new students arriving. Hosts with available rooms at any given term may not be guaranteed a student.

  • Means the world comes to you in —your own home

  • Develop life-long relationships with people from other countries

  • Is an opportunity to experience ethnic foods

  • Infuse your lives with unique perspectives of the world 

  • A cultural exchange 

  • An opportunity to help a person from another country learn and practice English

  • A chance to show off Vancouver Island

  • Is an opportunity to help people from other cultures survive and thrive in Canada

Homestay without meals is all of the above, but for experienced hosts, where students use the host family’s cooking facilities and equipment, but do their own shopping, cooking and clean up. Usually these students are more independent, or have special dietary requirements.

Homes must provide:

  • A clean, orderly, pleasant and safe living environment including a private bedroom (not used for any other purpose such as storage or guest room) with natural sunlight, a window suitable for egress as per the BC Building Code, and a dresser, closet, night table, lamp, bed, and desk or suitable area for quiet study (not required to be in the bedroom),

  • Access to a private or shared bathroom that is clean and hygienic with adequate fixtures that are in good repair,

  • Each bedroom is to have a window Such windows shall provide an unobstructed opening of not less than 380 mm (15”) in height or width and .35 m² (543”) in area and maintain such an opening during an emergency without the need for additional support,

  • Bedroom ceiling height of 6'6",

  • Wireless Internet access,

  • Access to a landline telephone or an emergency cell phone (always charged, kept in the same place capable of calling 911),

  • Access to in-home working laundry facilities and clear instructions on usage,

  • Access to cleaning supplies and instructions for students on their use to clean bedrooms and bathrooms,

  • Use of family articles, such as laundry soap, toilet paper, etc. Student special requests or needs are not included and the student must pay for such items themselves,

  • Smoke alarms located on each floor between the bedroom and living room,

  • Updated and current home-owner and renter's insurance,

  • Where the student is on a “homestay without meals” plan, clean working facilities (including appliances) for the student to prepare meals and clean storage spaces to store and refrigerate food,

  • A key to the house (and to their bedroom, if a lock is installed),

*The Homestay program reserves the right to choose hosts using these criteria and to remove hosts from the program who fail to continue to meet these criteria.

The homestay host receives $850 per month for each University and Adult THS Student and $925 per month for each High School Student. Homestay without meals hosts receive $500 per month. When students are matched, they are provided a fee payment schedule indicating who will be paying the student's fees (students may make payments directly or VIU may process payments on their behalf) and the amount to be paid. VIU students will advance their first two months of fees to the Homestay Office. The Homestay office will them pay fees directly to the host family on behalf of the student for the first part/full-month and the next full month. Students will then directly pay their hosts on the first day of the second full month.

Host families are required to read, sign, and agree to the conditions of the letter of agreement in order to participate in the program. If there are questions or hesitations  we encourage you to discuss them with our office before signing. Please sign and return to the Homestay office at VIU or email to homestay@viu.ca.

Download the copy below:

Homestay Host Letter of Agreement 2019-2022.pdf

Part of hosting with the WolrdVIU Homestay program is agreeing to the host expectations and responsibilities and understanding  the Hosting Experience Manual.  The manual acts as a support and resource for host families to provide the best hosting experience. This most current edition is from May 2019.




Register online to attend  a Host Info Session  on date that works for you.  This session will help you gain an understanding of hosting international students for the High School and University within the WorldVIU program. It will also provide an overview of host benefits, responsibilities, and home requirements.

Making the Right Choice for You: If reading this information means that you feel that you would be a great fit for our program, please apply. However we recognize that participating as a Host family to host a High School student or university student may not work for every families needs or schedules.  Other options, may include posting your room or house for rent on Places4Students which is VIU's  preferred off campus housing listing service for students. To talk more about renting to students please email ie.housing@viu.ca