Hosting international students “a wonderful experience”

When Michelle Hempel thinks of hosting international students, the word “firsts” come to mind.

“When students see their first snow fall, get their first stocking at Christmas, visit iconic places like Niagara Falls, you really see the joy in their eyes,” she says. “It’s a wonderful experience.”

When Michelle’s husband Dave learned the district was urgently looking for homestay families to support international education programs, the timing was perfect. Their twin boys were going into Grade 11 and their daughter was leaving for college. Having an extra room in the house, the Hempels seized the opportunity for a dynamic new family experience and applied to host.

In September, they welcomed Loc, a Grade 12 international student from Vietnam, who will be staying with them until June while he studies in Sudbury.

“He fit in well from the start, especially with our twins,” Michelle says. “There’s a bit of a language barrier, but teens are teens. No matter the culture or where they’re from, they’re exposed to the same things, they like the same things. They have common ground.”

And as Loc studies English and learns about Canadian culture, the experience is reciprocated.

“It’s really good for our boys to learn more about what’s beyond their own city and country,” Michelle says. “It takes them outside their box.”

Your family can benefit from hosting international students

Canada Homestay Network (CHN) is a family-run, non-profit society that for nearly 25 years has helped thousands of Canadian families welcome students from more than 70 countries.

We’re looking for international student homestay hosts across Canada. Hosts get 24/7 support, an allowance to offset expenses and the opportunity to bring the world to their front door.

To apply to host, go to our host application. For more information, call 1-877-441-4443 or email