FAQs for Homestay Families

Where do students come from?
Are host families paid or compensated?
How much allowance will I get?
How do I apply to be a Study Links homestay?
What must I provide?
What must I provide?
How long should I expect to host a student for?
What should my student call me?
My student is using all my hot water. Is it ok for me to ask them to restrict their shower to 5-10 minutes?
I’m worried that my student isn’t eating
My student has been smoking in their room when I told them that this is a non-smoking household
My student is coming home intoxicated
Do I have to pay for my student if I take them out?
Can I go into my student’s room when they are not there?
My student is overusing my Wi-Fi/ broadband connection, and slowing it down significantly
My student is using my phone
My student is making a lot of noise at night
My student is wasting electricity
My student is complaining that they are cold
My student has asked if their parents can stay
My student has asked if they may bring a friend home to stay the night.
My student has been missing for several days. They did not tell me they were going to be away. What should I do?
What should I do if my student informs me that they are leaving before Study Links told me they would leave?
Where do students come from?

ACCOSAM welcomes international students from across Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia via her student membership drive. 

Are host families paid or compensated?

Yes, host families are compensated to help alleviate the expenses associated with having an extra person in the home.  Hosting is not meant to be a business, but rather a choice to participate in a rewarding experience for the whole family. 

How much allowance will I get?

Homestays receive a daily allowance to cover food and accommodation expenses. The allowance varies depending on the type of student you host (e.g. boarding school/language school/part of a group). To find out what the daily allowance is for the types of students suitable for you, please contact ACCOSAM.

How do I apply to be a Study Links homestay?

To apply to become one of our ACCOSAM homestay, click here.

What must I provide?

Homestays must provide a bed, a space to study and up to three meals per day, depending on the type of students you will have. Students should keep their own room clean and tidy, but there is an expectation for you to provide clean towels and bed linen, as well as keeping your house clean and tidy.

What must I provide?

Homestays must provide a bed, a space to study and up to three meals per day, depending on the type of students you will have. Students should keep their own room clean and tidy, but there is an expectation for you to provide clean towels and bed linen, as well as keeping your house clean and tidy.

How long should I expect to host a student for?

This depends. Long term students can stay from 6 weeks up to one year or more, whereas short term students only stay from a few days up to a few weeks.

What should my student call me?

This is totally up to you. For example, you can allow your students to call you by your first name, or if you prefer title and surname, e.g. Mr or Mrs Oluwole, this is okay too.

My student is using all my hot water. Is it ok for me to ask them to restrict their shower to 5-10 minutes?

Yes. Explain that it is the culture in Canada to have shorter showers, and that this is because of the hot water system: having a long hot shower will use all of the hot water available in the tank meaning other members of the household are not able to shower. Normal house rules apply, and because rules vary from home to home they should be explained to the student upon first arrival. This way they will be aware of how best to be considerate to other members in the house.

I’m worried that my student isn’t eating

Make sure that your student knows when and where meals will be served and also what snacks they are allowed to eat and what they shouldn’t eat. They may not realise that there are meals and snacks available and may have been buying their own food. If you think there may be a more serious problem, contact ACCOSAM.

My student has been smoking in their room when I told them that this is a non-smoking household

You should speak to your student and remind them that you do not allow smoking in your house. In some countries, smoking is not only socially accepted but the social norm. They may not realise that smoking is no longer socially acceptable in the new place, in which case it would be advisable to inform them.

My student is coming home intoxicated

If students are above 18 years and causing a disturbance when they come in having drunk alcohol, you should confront them or speak to ACCOSAM who will confront them on your behalf. If your student is under 18, or you suspect they are using illegal substances please inform ACCOSAM and we will take control of the situation.

Do I have to pay for my student if I take them out?

This is up to you. Many homestays are happy to include under 18s as part of the cost of family outings. If you would prefer your student to pay for themselves, tell your student where you are going and how much it will cost. They can then decide whether or not to go with you. If they do not have the money available at the time but they would like to go, please ACCOSAM Links and we may be able to arrange for the cost of the activity to be added to your payment.

Can I go into my student’s room when they are not there?

The student’s privacy is important so we would suggest that you don’t go into their room without informing them first. If you plan to clean the room whilst they are not present, make sure that the student is aware of this before you do so.

My student is overusing my Wi-Fi/ broadband connection, and slowing it down significantly

When your student arrives explain any house rules regarding internet, and reiterate that the internet is shared and that they must be considerate. Explain that you want to involve them in your family too and hope that they won’t spend all of their time on the internet. Please do bear in mind that some students lead very busy lives at school, so their time at a homestay is often when they want to relax and catch up with friends and family back home.

My student is using my phone

If you are happy for your student to use your phone explain what times they can use it and how long they can use it for. Ask them to keep a record of what phone calls they make so that they can reimburse you. If they use your phone without your permission explain that this is not allowed and that they must use their own phone or Skype.

My student is making a lot of noise at night

Explain that they must be quiet and not disturb other people after between 9pm and 7am. If the behaviour continues, ACCOSAM.

My student is wasting electricity

If you find that your student is leaving things plugged in and not turning lights off, explain that this is both wasteful and a safety hazard. Not all students are informed of such things in their home country. If the behaviour continues, contact ACCOSAM.

My student is complaining that they are cold

When you show your student their room, explain that they should sleep under the duvet just in case they have a different kind of bed at home. If they are sleeping under the duvet then they may just need an extra blanket.

My student has asked if their parents can stay

It is your house and this really is up to you. If you are not comfortable with them staying or you do not have enough room, it is ok to say ‘no’ and ask them to stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast nearby. It would be a nice gesture to suggest some potential places that they may like and make arrangements to meet them or invite them to your house for a drink or dinner.

If you agree to them staying and wish to receive payment, the transaction must go through ACCOSAM. Please inform us and we will handle the transaction.

My student has asked if they may bring a friend home to stay the night.

It is your house and this really is up to you. If you are happy for them to stay one or two nights then we would not object. If they would like their friend(s) to stay for more than 2 nights, please inform ACCOSAM. If you expect to be paid for any stay, ACCOSAM must be informed.

My student has been missing for several days. They did not tell me they were going to be away. What should I do?

If you are ever concerned about your student’s welfare or whereabouts, contact ACCCOSAM immediately.

What should I do if my student informs me that they are leaving before Study Links told me they would leave?

Don’t feel hurt if a student tells you this, students are young people who crave new experiences and independence. If they are a non-custodianship student over 18, students are a bit more independent and if they have decided that they don’t want to stay in homestay anymore, we just need to make sure that they are going to be safe: ask them where they are moving to and inform ACCOSAM. We will find out what has happened and why their plans have changed. We will sort out any money owed to you. If they are under 18 and/or a custodianship.

FAQs for Students

How do you select the host family I will be staying with?
When will I know who my host family is?
Can I communicate with my host family before I leave home?
What if I don’t like the food or do not agree with the host family rules?
What happens if I am not comfortable with my host family?
How much does staying in homestay cost?
What do Canadians eat?
What if I have special dietary needs?
Am I able to use the phone at my homestay family’s house?
What do Canadian families usually do in their free time?
How do you select the host family I will be staying with?

We try to get as much information about you from the application as possible to help us match you with a great family.  If you are attending a school program, we will look for a host family that is within reasonable distance of your school location, accessible by transportation and has similar interests to you.  We have a database of Godly host families that we search through to find the best match possible for your stay in the community of your choice. 

 

When will I know who my host family is?

Once an application is received we will begin to look for your host family match.  Once we have made a match, we will prepare a Host Family Profile that will tell you about the home, the members of the family, and their interests and preferred activities.  We will send this to you via email at minimum 2 weeks prior to your arrival.   

 

Can I communicate with my host family before I leave home?

Yes, the Host Family Profile that is sent to you will also include the telephone numbers and email addresses of the host family.  The host family is looking forward to hearing from you and being able to connect via email or telephone prior to your arrival.  A connection prior to departure will make your first meeting more comfortable and you will definitely be feeling excited to start your adventure in Canada. 

 

What if I don’t like the food or do not agree with the host family rules?

While it may be difficult for you to speak with your host family about difficult topics, we do encourage sharing your feelings.  MLI Homestay Coordinators are available to help you adjust to your host family and provide you with tips on how to communicate, as well as provide feedback to the host family when you are feeling uncomfortable about discussing something with the family.  We want to be sure that you feel confident in our commitment to ensuring that the homestay experience is positive for the visitor and the host family. 

 

What happens if I am not comfortable with my host family?

While ACCOSAM Homestay Coordinators do their best to match host families with visitors, there may be potential for miscommunication, personality mismatches or other factors that may influence the connection between a student and the host family. 

ACCOSAM Homestay Coordinators are a local support for students and the host family.  They are there in the community to help clarify misunderstandings, mediate any difficult topics and help students and host families to build closer bonds.

In the case that the best choice is to move to a different host family, we are right there to help you find a new host family.  

We encourage you to connect with us to ensure that any questions or concerns that you have are addressed and resolved as soon as possible.  We want to be sure that you are happy and getting the most out of this experience. 

How much does staying in homestay cost?
While your ACCOSAM membership covers for your homestay placement and coordination, you may visit our additional services chart or Contact us today to provide you with a personalized quote based on your length of stay, time of year you will be staying and your location of choice.
What do Canadians eat?

Breakfast is usually at about 7:30am to 8:30 am on weekdays and later on the weekends. Canadians eat cereal or toast with tea/coffee, juice or milk for breakfast.  It is very typical for each member of the family to prepare their own breakfast as everyone may be leaving for work or school at different times. In Canada, it is very likely that your host family will show you where things are in the fridge and cupboards and ask you to “Help Yourself.”  It is not common that the host mom or dad will prepare breakfast for the family. 

On weekdays, Canadians usually have approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour for lunch. Your lunch break at school could be anywhere between 11:30 am to 1:00pm. On the weekend, families may have a brunch together around 11:00am or a later lunch around 1:00pm or 2:00pm.  Brunch is like a larger breakfast or a breakfast/lunch combination that may include pancakes, bacon, eggs, toast and potatoes.

An example of a typical Canadian packed lunch is a sandwich and fruit, leftover from dinner the day before like pizza, pasta, soup.  Snacks like a piece of fruit, some cookies or cut vegetables are sometimes eaten between meals and may be packed in your lunch bag or you can “Help Yourself” if you are at home.

Canadian supper/dinner time is usually between 5:00pm and 6:30 pm. Meals often consist of meat, potatoes and vegetables. Of course, every family has different likes and dislikes, so you may find your family enjoys foods like pizza, fish, spaghetti, or pasta. Also, sweet desserts like cookies, cakes, and ice cream are a favourite among Canadians. 

What if I have special dietary needs?

If you have a special dietary need such as an allergy to specific foods, or you are a vegetarian, please indicate this on your application form. This is important for us to know when we are trying to place you in a homestay.  We will advise the family of your dietary needs to be sure that your stay is as comfortable as possible.  

Your homestay family may ask you to help with supper, such as setting the table before supper or clearing away the dishes after supper. It is good manners to offer to help if you see that the family is busy with preparations. This is also a good time to practise English! Take time to talk to your family about food likes and dislikes.

Am I able to use the phone at my homestay family’s house?

You should ask your homestay family about using the phone. Local calls are free; however, some families will tell you if they have house rules about the length of time you should talk on the phone. If you are making long distance calls, we suggest that you buy a calling card in order to pay for the call. Also, most families prefer that you do not receive calls really late at night or really early in the morning. Ask your homestay family what is OK in their house. 

What do Canadian families usually do in their free time?

Some activities families like to do are visiting friends and family, having BBQs or inviting friends and family for dinner, playing sports, using computers, going for walks, crafts, etc. Being a new member of your Canadian family, you will be invited to do things with the family. We encourage you to join in and enjoy the fun times with your family. Your English will improve if you get out and are active.