Host Benefits and Responsibilities

Host Benefits 

  • 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.

Host Responsibilities

  • Provide each student with a clean, stable family environment
  • Provide three wholesome meals a day.  Breakfast and lunch materials to be provided for student to make own meal. Dinner prepared and cooked by host member
  • 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
  • Share the services in your home with the student – hydro, water, cable, telephone, and Internet service
  • 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)
  • 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.)
  • Attend a New and Returning Host Orientations/Training sessions
  • Host several short-term Homestay students prior to hosting a long-term  student
  • Read and sign the Homestay Letter of Agreement and Host 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.