To the students and travelers:
- FOOD: Food in your Homestay will most likely be different from the food you are use to eating in your home Country. Please do not expect that families will be serving you the same things you are use too. Most families try to integrate different cultural foods into their weekly meal plans, but they do not do this everyday. Please be advised that you are paying for 3 meals a day (or 2 if it is the case), and you are not paying for an unlimited amount of food in the home. If you feel you are not getting enough food in your home, please take the time to talk to your host family to see if they can provide a little bit more food for you
- LUNCHES: You will most likely be asked to make your own lunch to take to school with you. You should not expect a family to make your lunch for you, as this is not common in Canadian culture. Making your own lunch is a good thing, as you will only be taking food that you know you will eat. If you are not sure about anything, do not be afraid to ask for assistance
- DINNER: Canadian families have set dinner times where they sit down together to eat and have conversation (most family’s dinner times are between 6pm & 7pm). If you will not be home for dinner, please call your host family well in advance to let them know that you will not be home. This is very important, as it is seen as disrespectful if you do not call. You may be asked to clear your dishes off the table and clean them. Please do not be insulted by this, as this is normal in Canadian society.
- HOUSE KEY: You will be provided with your own house key. Please remember to always lock the doors and windows. Put your valuables away in a safe place & do not leave cash out in the open. Remember to return your house key when you finish Homestay.
- YOUR ROOM: Your Homestay parents are not maids. Please be sure that you keep your room clean at all times (you should make your own bed everyday).
- WASHROOM: Please make sure you clean up after yourself in the bathroom after you use it. Remember to always leave the bathroom clean and dry when you are finished with your bathing. Try not to waste hot water. Our water heating systems are probably different then the ones you are used to and we do not have great amounts of hot water available. The used toilet paper goes in the toilet bowl, and not the garbage can.
- SHOWER TIME: Most families will ask that you limit your shower time to between 10 and 15 minutes. Most homes in Canada have hot water tanks that produce and store hot water. These tanks are usually not very big, and hot water can run out very easily if people are using it for extended periods of time. So please respect the fact that there is limited hot water and that there will be other people in the home that will be need hot water to shower and bath as well.
- LAUNDRY: You are responsible for doing your own laundry. Ask your family when you can wash your clothes and how to use their machines. It is normal to wash your clothes only about once a week. You should have a full load of clothes each time, as it is a waste of water to only wash a few articles of clothing at a time.
- COMMUNICATION: Communication in Homestay is very important. Please make yourself available to have conversations with your Homestay family. You cannot expect your family to spend time with you if you are staying in your room all the time or not coming home until late at night. Also, if you are having any problems in your Homestay you should try and talk to the family about the problems before you complain to your agency or your school. In Canada, we communicate with the people we are having problems with to deal with these situations.
- SOCIAL BEHAVIOR: Please remember that it is good manners to say, “Yes please” and No thank you”. It is also polite (& expected) to call your family if you will be late for dinner or are making other plans for the evening. When you go out with your family to a tourist attraction, you will be required to pay for your own admission unless your family offers to pay for you themselves.
- LEAVING HOMESTAY: You must give proper notice of moving out of Homestay or you will be charged a penalty fee. If you want to move out of Homestay, you must give your Homestay family and Quality Homestay 28 days notice.
- PAYMENT OF HOMESTAY FEES: All Homestay fees are to be paid to Quality Homestay and NOT to your Homestay family. Your Homestay fees must be paid no later then 14 days before the due date. A penalty fee may be charged if payment is received late.
- PHONE CALLS: If you need to use the phone, please ask your Homestay family before using. If you need to make a long distance call, please purchase a prepaid calling card.
- DISTANCE FROM THE SCHOOL: Most Canadian families do not live downtown. They live in the suburbs where it is nicer and safer to raise a family. It is very common in Canadian culture to travel from the suburbs to downtown to go to work each day. So it will be common for students to have to travel 30 to 50 minutes from Homestay to school.
- SMOKING: Please know that smoking is not allowed in any Homestay. If you are a smoker, please ask your family where you can smoke outside, and please obey your host family in this regard. Be sure to throw your cigarette butts away in the appropriate place.
- ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION and DRUG USE: Students are not to drink alcohol in excess while in the home. Most families have kids in the home and the host parents will not want to have students in the home that are bad examples to their children. So please know your limits or you will be asked to leave the Homestay. Also, drug use in Canada is illegal, and if you are caught using drugs you will be asked to leave Homestay immediately without any refund.
- PROBLEMS IN HOMESTAY: Please be sure to report Homestay challenges to the staff at the Quality Homestay office, as we want to help you solve these challenges, and we want to ensure that your stay in Vancouver is an enjoyable one. We are here to help.