CHN’s Homestay Scholarship Student

In the spirit and goal of Giving wholeheartedy, Canada Homestay Network launched its Homestay Scholarship Program in 2018.

The homestay scholarship covers the homestay accommodation costs for the recipient’s entire homestay period.

Applicants have to answer standard questions listing involvement in extra curricular activities, as well as deeper, contemplative questions that describe their motivation for wanting to study abroad, whether they have any community leadership or public service experience,  and how these efforts have helped others and affected them as people.   Additionally, they must provide letters of recommendation from their school and community service organizations.

The first lucky recipient of this program is Juan Carlos Freaner Sanchez, a 16 year old boy from Mexico, currently studying at Brookfield High School in Ottawa.   We conducted a mini-interview  with him to find out how his experience has been going so far:

1) What has been your most memorable experience in Canada so far?

We went to the Aviation and Space Museum and took an airplane ride to see Ottawa and Gatineau. This was an unforgettable and special visit because I went there with my best friends. It was the first time for all of us to have a sightseeing flight and to explore the city we live in from above.

2) Besides the weather, what has been the biggest adjustment you had to make during your time here?

Taking the bus and memorizing the routes was a challenge at the beginning but technology makes everything easier as there are many apps that help with this.  The biggest adjustment for me was to realize that this experience is about getting out of my comfort zone and to allow myself to integrate with a new family. Getting used to a specific sleeping time was also challenging at the beginning.

3) How would you summarize your homestay experience? What were the positives and negatives of the experience? What will you miss the most?

My experience was very good. The main positives were meeting new people and getting to know their culture.  The negative might be that it took me time to adapt to living in a new home with people from different cultural background. I will miss hanging out with my host brother and having a good time with the family.

4) What advice would you give the next scholarship student?

  1. To have as much fun as they can and to try to enjoy every moment they spend in Canada.
  2. To take advantage of the Canadian winter. Most likely winter here is not like anything they have seen before. Instead of counting the days to summer, they can go out and enjoy skiing or skating on the canal.
  3. To take the time to explore their city. They can also learn a lot about the Canadian culture and history at the different museums here.
  4. To join a sports team in their school. It is a great way to make Canadian and international friends.

5) What would you have liked to know when you were applying for the scholarship that you were not told?

Nothing. I was told everything that I need in order to be ready for my stay in Canada. Also, my cousin visited Canada before and he shared his experience with me so I knew what to expect.

6) How do you think this experience will change or make a difference to your life when you return home?

This experience changed the way I appreciate life and different cultures. Now I have many friends from around the world and we plan to stay connected after returning home. Living and studying in Canada also improved my communication and social skills.