Homestay Guidelines - Food, Language, Sleeping Arrangements, Smoking

Homestay Guidelines

Welcome to the Homestay Program. To help ensure that you and your student have an enjoyable time together we have prepared these basic guidelines for you.

The student is a GUEST at your home and should be made to feel welcome. This is not a simple landlord / tenant arrangement. Time spent with students is a requirement.

Cultural differences can often make the most basic areas of daily life a problem for overseas students. Sensitivity and awareness on your part will help to ease the students adjustment into life in your home.

It will be helpful to both you and your student if you have a discussion of family rules and schedules shortly after arrival. Patience will be required in all of your explanations to the student. If they seem to have difficulty understanding you, it is often valuable to write things down. The student often has a greater comprehension of written English than they do of spoken English.

When you guide the student through your home, it is a good idea to explain how to use some of the facilities. (Bathroom, Washer/Dryer, etc..). Show him/her how to get breakfast and what is available to eat in the mornings, if you have to go to work early. Help the student with making lunches. Tell him/her what time dinner is at your home. Encourage him/her to ask questions. Use simple language in your explanation.


To a student from overseas, Canadian cooking may seem very exotic indeed. Just as you may find raw squid a little unusual, your best-barbecued bacon cheeseburger may puzzle your student. The whole idea of homestay is to experience Canadian family life, so dont make drastic changes to your familys meals. However, you should become aware of your students preferences. Vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli, served raw or heavier meats may cause digestive problems for Asian students.

Everyone has a strong attachment to Moms cooking. Homesickness can occur. A nice cup of tea may help.

Visiting students have Medical Insurance so dont hesitate to call a doctor if necessary. However, any food-related problem that may arise can easily be fixed with a trip to the grocery store together. This is a good time to get a cooking lesson from your student. A student is usually happy to share his/her culture with you in a way that would be mutually beneficial.


The primary reason for the student to visit Vancouver is to study English. If you, as a host speak an other language, we ask you to not speak it while the student is at home (even when the student is not in the room). This is very important to your student and CCEL.

A student learns much at school, but he/she wants a chance to use English at home. Therefore it is good to try to engage your student in conversation. Speak in short. Basic sentences to help reduce confusion. Avoid negative questions such as Dont you want any more? The answer will likely be Yes, I dont want any more, instead of No, I dont. Many Languages respond too the verb rather then the meaning of the sentence. Be clear regarding Yes and No. Remember that if a problem arises and you can not sort it out please contact the homestay coordinator.

Sleeping Arrangements

Here, again, your guidance is essential to help your student feel at home. Define clearly where the student can put his/her clothes, belongings and make sure that he/she understands how the covers on the bed work (Japanese often use simply a futon and quilt and are unused to getting under many layers of covers which we use). Show your student how to make the bed, let him/her know at what time you will be retiring, and set a time for the student to be quiet (about 10:00 is good). At no time are sleepovers of the opposite sex allowed. Please call the homestay coordinator if this happens. This is an extremely serious issue with CCEL and the students families.


Smoking rules should be made clear. We tell all students there is no smoking in the homestay. A student may ask the host if he/she can smoke outside.