International Program International students have been attending schools in the Nelson area since 1999. The acquisition of English as a second language is very important to our students. Being immersed in an English speaking environment is an ideal situation for learning an additional language. In order to attend Kootenay Lake schools, our international students need to be matched up with local families who will care for them as one of their own. Our international students will benefit from the once in- a-lifetime opportunity to take part in daily Canadian family experiences, which will further enhance their English language skills, as well as enrich their Canadian cultural experience. Many of our host families have been involved year after year, as they find the experience so rewarding and enlightening.
Homestay must offer students:
- a clean, safe and well organized living and sleeping environment
- a private bedroom: including a comfortable bed and dresser/closet for clothes and an environment suitable to study and do homework, including desk or table and lamp
- wi-fi, so the student can connect with their own device or laptop
- airport pickup and delivery for arrival and departure; at the nearest airport
- a supportive and nurturing environment
- three substantial meals a day and nutritious snacks
- help with transportation requests by the student, so the student can participate in some extracurricular and community activity
- opportunities to participate in family activities
- support in joining school or community activities, teams or clubs
- an opportunity to engage in frequent informal conversation, to develop spoken English skills
Benefits of becoming Homestay:
- Experiencing a foreign culture in the comfort of your own home
- Gain intercultural skills and understandings, appreciate and tolerate similarities and differences
- Make global friendships and global connections
- Experience your home and community through the wondrous eyes of an international student
- Learn or expand on your ability to communicate across cultures
- $900 per month compensation, to cover the costs to cover food, lodging, etc.
What can the homestay family expect from the International Program staff?
- Orientation and support for new students, to learn the rules and expectations of the program
- Orientation and support for new homestay families, to prepare them for their adventure
- Regular communication via email and phone - policies, reminders and more
- Planned monthly activities for the international student - activities like ziplining, rafting and more - opportunities for them to interact with other international students
- Medical coverage for the student - with clear communication regarding procedures and documents to seek treatment
- a Contractor who is assigned to support the student and homestay family in establishing and building relationships and solving problems
Host Family and Student Agreements (updated annually)
Our families are diverse - they may consist of a single parent, older retired couple, couples without children, couple with children, working parents, or a traditional nuclear family with children and a stay-at-home parent. Contractors work with agents and families to match students. Every effort is made to meet student and family needs. Once in a while, students are moved, when it's in the best interests of either the student or family.
Our families pass all safety screenings and their homes are visited on an annual basis to be sure that the environment is safe, friendly and suitable for an international student. Host family agreements, Criminal Record Checks and Offense Declarations are reviewed and signed each time a student is going to be placed in a home.
Host families are paid $900 in two installments each month (payments scheduled by the International Program Coordinator). This money is not 'income,' and therefore, it can't be paid until a student is placed. As well, it is meant to support student(s) in the home, so payment is terminated when a student leaves the home.