Skip to main content

Homestay FAQs

Homestay Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to all you important questions.

Many of Your Questions Can be Answered Right Here

Saanich International Student Program welcomes all families living in the catchment area of one of our schools (Claremont Secondary, Parkland Secondary, Stellys Secondary, North Saanich Middle School, Royal Oak Middle School and Bayside Middle School) to apply as a host family. Large families, singles, empty-nesters, young couples, retirees; we have host families of all shapes and sizes! English should be the spoken language in the home.

Becoming a host family is an important decision. It takes openness, kindness, and understanding to host a teenager from a different culture. Students will often become part of the family. All members of the family have to be on board in making this commitment.

We have short term and long term students. Short term students stay here 3-5 months, long term students stay 10 months or longer. You can state your preference for hosting either a short or long term student.

Students in our program can reside in a homestay when they are in Grades 6-12. Even though the majority of our students is in high school, we also have some middle school students living with host families. Elementary students can be enrolled in our program but are required to live with a member of their family and don’t qualify for our homestay program.

As a home-stay parent you are expected to provide the environment and support that you would normally provide for your own family. This means you are required to offer your student:

  • a private bedroom furnished with the following:
  • a bed with a proper mattress and bedding
  • a desk with a lamp and adequate lighting
  • a window that opens
  • a closet and set of drawers
  • three wholesome meals a day and snacks as required
  • a quiet, adequately lit and heated study space
  • hot water and facilities for daily bathing and basic toiletries, such as soap, shampoo, etc.
  • laundry (you may expect a student to do their own laundry if you wish)
  • access to the common living areas of the house

Additionally, we require you to treat the student as a valued member of your family. This looks like:

  • emotional support if the student suffers from homesickness, difficulties at school, etc.
  • academic support (help with homework if possible, communication with teachers, attendance at parent-teacher-student interview, etc.)
  • inclusion of the student in family outings, trips to restaurants, special occasions, recreational activities
  • giving your student a house key
  • pickup and drop-off to the airport or ferry
  • transportation to and from student activities (host families living in remote areas will be required to provide more transportation)

We offer our host families:

  • a monthly remuneration
  • orientation at the beginning of the year
  • homestay meet-ups to connect with other host families
  • ongoing support of the SISP Homestay Team
  • 24/7 emergency contact number

You can apply to become a host family by filling in the online application: https://mytruenorth.ca/hsportalindex.php?db=saanich

After filling in and submitting the application, the Homestay Coordinator for the school in your catchment area will contact you to set up a home visit. The Homestay Coordinator will conduct a home visit, where we can get to know you and your family and learn about your motivation for hosting for our program. After the home visit, if there is a mutual connection, we will ask you to fill out the necessary paperwork and apply for a Criminal Record Check. Once this is all taken care off, you can be accepted as a host family for our program!

No; getting accepted into the program as a host family or having hosted successfully for us before, does not guarantee a student will be placed with you. Student placement all depends on whether or not we have a good match for your family.

Some suggestions are:

  • Teach your student how to use the phone, what your family’s phone numbers are and emergency numbers, how to use the phone directory, and rules for making calls
  • Help your student arrange for a personal phone (but don’t sign any contracts for them)
  • Go with your student to open a bank account. Stress not to carry large amounts of money or leave it at home
  • Show your student how to use his/her ATM card and explain the importance of keeping the PIN number secret
  • Go over school information with your student
  • Discuss schedules for breakfast, showering, school, supper, etc.
  • Show your student the route to and from school, or where to get on/off the bus
  • Visit some local points of interest and go shopping for food together
  • Have fun getting to know each other!

You can now apply for your Criminal Record Check (CRC) online. Go to the link below and follow the instructions: https://justice.gov.bc.ca/eCRC/ and use Access Code 8MC7PY29BC

There is a $28 charge for the CRC which can be paid online. Clearance Letters will be sent directly to us. When it is not possible to complete the application for a CRC online, you can print out the forms and come by our office to have us submit it manually, or visit a local police station.

If you already have a CRC (make sure it has the “vulnerable sector” check, since you are working with children), you can share this with us. The process for sharing a CRC is the same as applying for it online. When you click on the link above, it will give you the option to choose “share a CRC”.

The SISP Emergency Contact Number is: 250-812-0731

Please call or email the school absence line:

Claremont: call 250-658-6666 or email claremont_attendance@sd63.bc.ca

Stellys: call 250-544-0300 or email stellysabsence@sd63.bc.ca 

Parkland: call 250-655-2713 or email parklandattendance@sd63.bc.ca

Once you have arranged the appropriate medical care please inform SISP Administrators through the emergency number: 250-812-0731

Students are required to fill out travel applications if they are going outside of Greater Victoria without their host parents. Once we receive the travel application, signed by you and their natural parents, SISP will email host parents with the approval or denial, not the student so please let them know. When students are going on a trip out of Canada during their stay here, we will need a release waiver signed by their natural parents.

  • Day Trip Form:
  • Overnight Trip Form:
  • Flight Travel Form:
  • Release Waiver for Travel Outside of Canada:

You are required to inform your Homestay Coordinator at least 5 days in advance whenever you are planning to be away and get approval for the responsible adult over the age of 25 that you have arranged to supervise your student. Under no circumstance are students to be left alone overnight.

Please contact the school directly, each student is assigned an advisor that you will be directed to. The advisors will help you and your student figure out how to improve the situation.

Host families should not sign any contracts for students. Please assist them with setting up a pay-as-you-go cell phone account and be sure they have cancelled everything before leaving your home.

No! SISP maintains a zero tolerance policy and students in the SISP program may not use drugs or alcohol under any circumstance.

Your assistance for pick up and drop off at the ferry/airport for arrivals, departures and school related trips is required, however arranging carpools with other host families is encouraged. Please regard these situations as you would if the student were your own child.

Yes, students may engage in sleepovers as long you have confirmed with the other parents that they will be properly supervised.

Ultimately is is up to you to set the curfew, although SISP has created the following guideline for weekend (Friday-Saturday) curfew:

  • Grade 9 ⇨ 9:00pm
  • Grade 10 ⇨ 10:00pm
  • Grade 11 ⇨ 11:00pm
  • Grade 12 ⇨ 12:00am

Students should be home by 8:00pm on weeknights (Sunday-Thursday) and the expectation is that they are home most nights for family dinner.

No, you are not required to accommodate any family members that come to visit. You may want to recommend a nearby hotel or AirBNB.

Please contact your Homestay Coordinator if you and your student have not been able to work a problem out quickly. Usually lack of communication, cultural differences or simply being a teen can contribute to homestay issues. Let us help you work things out!