With the five to ten per cent rise in international students coming to study in Canada each year, many families have been sharing their homes to these students. You could host an international student at your home, anywhere from one week to four years, opening up your world to another culture without leaving your home.
During my involvement in the Canada Homestay Network, my family and I have hosted six
students from Spain, Columbia, Japan, and China, and are currently welcoming two students from Thailand looking to experience Canadian culture for two weeks. One of the greatest experiences was the time I spent with a young student from China named Grace. Grace had come to us when she was 15 and made a home with us for three years before going to university in Kingston.
Having spent four years in Panama, I experienced a major culture shock, which took a long time to adjust to. That is why I found I could quickly relate to what Grace was experiencing,
not knowing the language or culture, and became more patient with our cultural differences.Through this experience I learned just as much about the Chinese culture without ever being there, as Grace did living in Canada. It was a huge adjustment on both our parts, but we both ended up with a new sister.
For those families that are thinking of taking in an international student, they must know it is not just a room they are renting, but are entrusted by the parents and the organization, to raise this student. You not only have to teach them the language and culture, but you are also nurture them. It’s a huge commitment of time, however, you will definitely love being able to share your home with someone who has fresh eyes.