How are hosts selected?
The Canada Homestay Network prides itself on the excellent host base available to its students. IF you are receiving this newsletter, it is because you are part of our network of active hosts and have been through the host selection process. Most of our hosts come to us through word of mouth referrals, so useful summary of our processes can be passed on if you have a friend or acquaintance who you would like to refer to us.
Before joining CHN as a host family, a stringent application process is applied. The host family is first pre-screened by telephone to ensure that their values align with ours, that they are hosting for the right reasons and understand the expectations around hosting an international student for CHN. This is followed by an in-person interview at the host’s home, conducted by one of our experienced pre-screening and interviewing team. All members of the household (including pets!) are asked to be present at this interview, to ensure that everyone in the home is ‘on board’ with this hosting experience. This also gives the interviewer the opportunity to see the host’s home and to ensure that the student’s bedroom meets our expectations.
Everyone in the home over the age of 18 is asked to provide an up-to-date Police Record Check (PRC) and the contact information for three references. Once the PRCs are received and the references have been completed, the host family is then ready to welcome a student.
We ask that host families treat their student as a member of their own family and not like a guest. We ask that they are included in all activities, that family meals are eaten together, that the student is cared for and looked after as if they are the host’s own child. We do not want the student to feel excluded or different in anyway and that they know they can turn to their hosts for care and support, just as they would their own family,
As a Relationship Manager, it is our job to ensure that the host and the student are well supported and have someone to turn to if they have any issues or concerns. We are here to act as a point of contact between the student, the host family, the natural parents, the school, the client and the agent. We will act quickly to help resolve issues and problems, and do our best to ensure that the both the host and student feel listened to and supported so that the student’s stay is a happy and successful one. In the event of an emergency, the RM will be readily available to assist both the student and the host.
We ask our students to sign the Student Participation Agreement prior to their arrival in Canada. This is a comprehensive document outlining expectations around the students behaviour while living and studying here. We ask that they are respectful and courteous towards their host and their home, that they listen and follow the host’s homestay rules regarding chores, curfew etc, in order to fit in and feel at home. We expect all students to obey the laws of Canada, and they must go to school every day and attend every class, as required by their study permit and student visa. If they have any issues or concerns, their RM is available to them at school to discuss and help resolve these, and will happily respond to text messages, emails and phone calls too.
– contributed by Hilary Rust, RM Ottawa