You may not see yourself as an English teacher, but when you open your home to host an international student, you can’t help but immerse them in a Canadian experience. If this sounds appealing, Victoria’s Education First (EF) language school has some opportunities coming up. “A lot of the students want to come and live with locals, because it’s a great way to practice their English, eat local food and learn the culture,” says Madison Bratty, housing co-ordinator for EF International Language Campuses.
Give home stay hosting a test run.
The students arriving in Victoria each week plan to stay between two weeks and 11 months and as a host, you have the same options. Bratty says more than 500 students will arrive here June 30 for short-term summer holiday stays, and the aim is to have local homes ready to go for all of them. “It’s a great time to try it out, see whether you like hosting
and working with our school,” she says. If you enjoy broadening your cultural awareness, meeting new friends from around the world, and learning new languages, hosting will be a great fit for you.
Here’s some other things to know about hosting through EF:
- More rooms can mean more cultures – If you’ve got the space, consider hosting multiple students at a time. EF assigns up to four people to one home, and does its best to match students from different countries together, to ensure maximum exposure to other cultures, Bratty says.
- No transportation worries – Hosts need not provide a ride to and from the EF campus. Students use public transportation, as a way to gain more independence and confidence.
- Welcome various ages – While most students are between 16 and 25, some are as young as 13, especially those doing summer programs. They can also be older, as many adults choose to take time off to learn English and immerse themselves in Canadian culture. “Our classes are assembled based on students’ level of understanding of English,” Bratty says.
- A truly global program, students come from all over the world, from South America to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Not only will you have a chance to learn words and phrases in different languages, you might even learn to cook a traditional ethnic meal!
While families and individuals receive payment to help cover the cost of hosting, Bratty says the emphasis is on the cross-cultural bonds that are created. You’ll be laying the groundwork for lifelong connections
and truly be discovering the world from your home.