Moving to a new country can be quite stressful and intimidating. Aspects such as getting used to a new language, people and a new culture(s) are especially tough to deal with. Hence why it is essential to try and get the best out of your early experiences in Canada. Many students who move to Canada decide to live with a host family to lower such burdens. And this is quite effective as well since homestay provides students with loving host parents and a place they can comfortably call home. Although it can be quite scary living with strangers, it does help students in the long run especially if they follow the tips discussed in this article.
Make sure you state your needs and restrictions both to your homestay organization and homestay parents. For instance, details about dietary needs, allergies, and mental health are important to mention. The more you inform your organization about your needs the more suitable host parents you will match with. In addition, effective communication with the hosts will also help you establish boundaries.
As a guest in someone else’s house, you need to be respectful of the family’s customs, culture and house rules. This is essentially the golden rule that states “treat others the way you want to be treated”. By being respectful towards the host family you indirectly cause the hosts to be respectful towards you.
If you want to bond with your homestay family you need to join the family events. For instance, if the host parents invite you to have dinner with them don’t say no. Or if they are going to watch a movie and they invite you, just tag along! By doing so you will create a mutual bond with your hosts which will help you immensely when you need extra support or help. What’s more, you will get to improve your English/French since you will get engaged in more conversations! It’s a win-win for everyone.
One of the host family’s worst nightmare is an irresponsible student guest. Certain housework falls under your responsibilities and you need to ensure you take care of them on time and all the time. For example, once you finish your breakfast, don’t leave the dishes on the table. Or if the host told you that members of the family take turn vacuuming the house, vacuuming becomes part of your responsibilities as well.
Although bringing a gift may not seem like a big deal, it is a nice gesture that the hosts will appreciate and it will help you break the ice. It’s important to note that the gift doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy by any means. In fact, the gift’s impact will be greater if it has sentimental and cultural value rather than monetary value. Since such gifts will get you to introduce your culture and begin forming a connection with the hosts right away.
If you feel as though there are unbearable disagreements between you and the homestay family, you should first try to resolve them with the hosts. However, if that doesn’t pan out, you should contact your homestay organization and state your concerns. For instance, you may feel as though the hosts are being too hard on you with the house chores or they may be disrespectful towards your needs and culture. No matter the issue if it’s affecting your mental and/or physical health, you must seek your organization’s help.
Even the idea of living with a family of strangers in a new country is distressing. But fortunately, most homestay families are very welcoming towards international students. In fact, they often want the student to a member of their family. So as long as you follow the tips above you should have yourself a very successful and enjoyable homestay experience in Canada.