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The Homestay Experience

For Your High School Programme

A key advantage for your stay in Canada

Our Homestay

Welcoming Families

Families are all different but share the desire to welcome their students. 

Local Presence

Local Coordinators live in the area and offer caring support to students.

Safe and Secure

A safe and supportive home environment during your High School Programme.

Support

24/7 support delivered by an amazing team of local staff.

Private Bedroom

Private bedroom in a family home

Quiet Study Space

Either in the bedroom or another area of the home, study space for student

High School

Our Homestay Services

The nurturing environment in a host family provides the support and care that students need to focus on their high school programme, achieve great academic results and successfully adjust to their new Canadian lifestyle. This is the preferred option of accommodation for 99% of international students in Canada.

CISS has the strong advantage of having a homestay company that is integrated with our own company. MLI Homestay ensures that all students placed in our programme have the same standards of care and lifestyle regardless of the location of placement.  It’s important to note that a few  select school districts manage their own homestay

Homestay

Who are the families that host our international students?

The homestay family is a key part of the student experience while in Canada. The family members are the first point of contact, support and engagement for the students.

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The General English + Activity option is the ideal choice for international summer students who want to improve their English.  With this option, students receive 10 hours of English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons per week. This includes classroom instruction in speaking, listening, reading and writing, with a focus on helping students of all proficiency levels to improve in their fluency and accuracy of speech.

English lessons comprise two of the five daily periods. You can then choose different land, water, or art activities to fill the remaining two or three periods. 

Definition of a Homestay

Host families are among the most welcoming and generous people in Canada. They open their homes and share their lives to ensure international students are in a secure and stable home environment while integrating into their new Canadian community and school. Host families cannot be described in one “perfect” picture. Just as families around the world vary in their size, arrangements and demographics, so too do CISS host families. What they all have in common is their desire to share the Canadian experience and provide a caring home environment to students from around the world.

    Requirements to be a host family

    Our internal homestay team (MLI Homestay) screens, interviews, and constantly monitors host families to ensure top-quality care, safety, and comfort for each student. Host families must be willing to provide the care and nurturing that a teen student requires, not just scholastically, but also socially and culturally. An English-speaking home environment (or French where required) is critical to ensuring students see an increase in their linguistic fluency. Families are encouraged to include the student in their daily activities. An international student will become a member of their new Canadian family. Building this special relationship requires openness by both the student and the host family.

    Reasons our families decide to host

    Families choose to host for a wide variety of reasons. Many are proud of their community and want to share this with newcomers or find hosting to be an ideal way for their own children to know more about the world through having international students.  Others have grown children and see this as an opportunity to continue to be parents.

    Monitoring

    We are privileged to be a well-respected company, known for ensuring standards and personal contact with the hosting families. We employ coordinators in each city or region to manage, recruit and monitor the hosts in that area. During the programme, these coordinators closely monitor each student’s well-being through regular home visits and communication with host families. This information is incorporated into the CISS reports which are provided for every student, twice per semester.

    Homestay

    A Typical Home in Canada

    Homes in Canada vary in size and composition.  All homes are inspected for cleanliness and a nurturing home environment.   Cleaning a home is the responsibility of all family members, as middle-class families in Canada do not typically employ a full-time housekeeper.  Students must expect to assist with chores (ie. Keeping the bedroom tidy, cleaning the kitchen after meals etc).

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    The General English + Activity option is the ideal choice for international summer students who want to improve their English.  With this option, students receive 10 hours of English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons per week. This includes classroom instruction in speaking, listening, reading and writing, with a focus on helping students of all proficiency levels to improve in their fluency and accuracy of speech.

    English lessons comprise two of the five daily periods. You can then choose different land, water, or art activities to fill the remaining two or three periods. 

    Bedrooms

    Bedrooms for all family members. Students will have a private room that includes a bed, dresser and closet.  If there is space, the bedroom may also have a desk.  Otherwise, a desk/quiet study area is available to the student in another area of the home

    Bathrooms

    1-2 full bathrooms that include a toilet, sink, shower or bathtub/shower combination.  Bathrooms are typically shared by family members.  Students should not expect a private bathroom and must respect this as a shared space

    Kitchen

    Kitchen for cooking, and if large enough there may be an eating area

    Dining

    Dining rooms are for family meals.  Not all homes have a separate dining room.  Often, this is incorporated into a larger kitchen.

    Entertainment Area

    Living rooms are for family gatherings or guests when they visit.  They may include a TV or other entertainment.  Larger homes may also have a family room or “rec” room that holds the main or secondary TV and other entertainment.  If a home has both, the rec room is often where the kids play or watch TV, leaving the living room for more formal use.

    Basement

    Basements in most Canadian homes are finished and considered a livable part of the house (not to be confused with a cellar).  Living rooms or rec rooms are often in the basement.

    Laundry Room

    Laundry rooms have a washing machine and dryer.  Some families may hang laundry outside to dry. Each host family will advise the laundry schedule and who is responsible for the laundry, and how to use the machines

    Backyard

    Backyards range from small to large, and are typically used in warmer weather for outdoor entertaining, including BBQ dinners and activities.

    Frontyard

    Front yards (and backyards) are often landscaped with grass and small gardens.  Mowing the grass is the responsibility of the homeowner, and may be a chore for the children (or students).

    Home Formats

    Homes may be large and multi-story, or bungalow style where the main living areas are all on one floor.   Homes may be detached, or attached to one other or to multiple homes.  Apartments or Condos are also appropriate provided there is sufficient space for the student.

    Homes in small towns

    In smaller towns, families may live on a farm or in a farming community.

    Homes in large urban cities

    In general, homes in large urban cities are typically smaller (or are apartments) as the density of the city requires smaller residential land plots.  Larger homes are more often found in suburban areas or smaller towns, where more available land allows for a larger home.

    High School

    The Homestay Experience

    The homestay experience is wonderful!  Students join into the homelife of a Canadian family, and come to see them as their “2nd family”.  CISS has had the pleasure of seeing students extend their initial placement on the condition that they can remain with their families!  We also see many tears shed when it is time to say good.  We know that many of our host families stay in touch with students well beyond their high school programme, and have reunited with their students around the world.  We hope that all our students can experience such an amazing connection with their host families.

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    The General English + Activity option is the ideal choice for international summer students who want to improve their English.  With this option, students receive 10 hours of English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons per week. This includes classroom instruction in speaking, listening, reading and writing, with a focus on helping students of all proficiency levels to improve in their fluency and accuracy of speech.

    English lessons comprise two of the five daily periods. You can then choose different land, water, or art activities to fill the remaining two or three periods. 

    Host Family Expectations

    Host Families are expected to include the student in their daily family life and make the student feel like a member of their family.  It is not realistic to expect that families spend all their time with the student or become a chauffeur to take the student everywhere he/she would like to go, but families are encouraged to interact with the student on a daily basis – especially during meals and showcase their community.

    Students' Expectations

    Students are expected to interact with the family and do his/her best to become a part of the family and integrate into the family lifestyle.  This includes assisting with small household chores, keeping his/her bedroom clean and taking meals with the family – especially dinner and weekend meals.  Students are expected to respect and follow all rules and customs of the host family.

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    Maybe you still have some questions for us regarding our programmes

    FAQ

    High School FAQ

    Here are some of our frequently asked questions about the High School program

    Homestay

    Find some of the frequently asked questions about our homestay.

    Study Tours

    If you have further questions about our Study Tours, you may want to check our frequently asked questions

    Apply Now

    Ready to start your programme?

    We would love to hear from you and to provide you with the full set of documents that are necessary for your application process.

    High School

    Whether you’re looking for a more academic environment, or specific classes, or a school with great sports, our wide variety of options means we have something for everyone.

    Canadian Explorer

    In this lower-cost, no-choice academic year option, CISS places you in an Ontario city or town where you’ll be one of only a few international students in the school. Placement locations are in “off the beaten path” destinations, giving you a truly unique Canadian high school immersion experience.

    Study Tours

    Study Tours provide an opportunity for students to practice their English, integrate with local students in a high school, experience life with a host family, enjoy unique activities, and have a genuine Canadian cultural experience.