Hosting international students can enrich your life

For many weary travellers, the customs process is a dreaded and tedious part of their journey. For Sandra Job, it was a daily routine that planted the seed to try something unlike anything she had ever done before.

Job spent 20 years as a border services officer at Pearson International Airport. She witnessed hundreds of international students enter the country — bright eyed and completely out of their element. Many of these students were arriving to the safety and comfort of local homestay families. It was a pattern that caught Job’s attention and sparked her curiosity. In September of 2021, following her retirement, Job took the first step and hosted an international student for the weekend.

“The first one was a young man from Spain,” recalls Job. “He was one of the nicest, mature, and social young people I have met.” Seven students later, Job has now moved up to hosting international students for five-month periods.

This type of experience creates a ripple effect that extends beyond the homestay family and international student. Tatiana Khrystynko is the program co-ordinator for the International Student Program at Simcoe County District School Board.

“Diversification in Simcoe County is increasing,” she says. “For our students, introduction to other cultures, traditions, and perspectives helps them learn to be respectful, mindful, and inclusive.”

Both ladies agree that short-term hosting is a great way to ease into the process and test the homestay waters. “The school board is now accepting short-term students,” says Khrystynko. “It’s only three to four months, so families that aren’t sure can just give it a try.”

Canada Homestay Network (CHN) offers a local designated relationship manager (RM) to support both the student and host. Khrystynko and the rest of the school board meet with the relationship manager on a weekly basis to review how the students are doing. Job’s RM has given her the confidence that if she ever had a problem with a student, the RM would mediate the situation. Job also sees greater value in hosting international students.

“It’s not so much about the money or to make an income,” says Job. “It’s about enriching your life.”

Equity, inclusion, and diversity are topics of great importance that have shifted individual and collective perspectives. Greater global appreciation and understanding are now woven in the tapestry of family values, which can be shared with the next generation of global citizens through a homestay experience.

Homestay hosts are needed across Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area.

Hosts receive a generous allowance to offset expenses, 24-7 support, special health and safety training, and the opportunity to bring the world to their front door.

For more information about hosting international students, contact Canada Homestay Network at or 1-877-441-4443. To learn more and apply, visit