FAQ – Students
What will my homestay be like?
Before you arrive, your homestay has been carefully screened by our staff. The house will be clean and safe, and you will have your own bedroom. Your homestay will provide you with breakfast and dinner (and lunches on the weekend when you are not at school). Your homestay family will welcome you to take part in all family activities so you are able to practice your English skills every day. If more than one language is spoken in the home, something that is very common in Canada, host families are told that they must only speak English when they are with you. Many homestay families and students form a friendship and continue to stay in touch with each other after the program is over.
Can I connect to the internet at my homestay?
Most homestays have an internet connection/wifi that students are able to use. However, many Canadian families do not have unlimited data, and reach a limit every month. If they go over the limit, it becomes very expensive. Please keep this in mind and do not download large files, like movies or games. Try to limit your internet use to communicating with your family and keeping up with news from home.
What if I don’t like the food?
Your homestay will try to make you as comfortable and happy as possible during your stay, including finding out what kind of things you like to eat. They will also share their own favourite foods. Learning about a new culture is all about having new experiences and trying unfamiliar food, so we encourage you to try everything!
I’d like to cook a meal for myself, or for my homestay family. Is that ok?
Host families enjoy and appreciate if you’d like to cook a traditional meal for them. However, please check with them first and only cook when your homestay family is there to help and supervise. Cooking alone is possible but requires homestay permission first.
Will my homestay family take me sightseeing on the weekend?
Your homestay family will be encouraged to involve you in normal family weekend activities during your stay. That might be a picnic, sports event, swimming, family party, shopping or other activities. Some families take their students sightseeing, but they are not required to do so. Every homestay family is different but all of them try to involve their students in fun activities of some kind on the weekend.
What if I have some kind of problem at my homestay?
If you have any kind of concern or problem, please first speak to your homestay family and explain what you are worried about. Do not worry about being polite. Chances are they did not know there was a problem, and can help fix it. If you are unsure about how something works, such as the shower or the laundry, ask your homestay and they can help you.
If you are still not able to resolve the problem, the next step is to speak to the chaperone from your school. They can help you, including by translating between you and your homestay. You can also speak to your classroom teacher. Of course you can always share your experiences with your friends, but remember that the best steps for resolving a problem are to speak directly to your homestay family or to your chaperone.
I have an allergy. Will my homestay know what to do?
If you have an allergy or any other health issue, make sure that you share as much information as you can on your application. That will help us place you in the right homestay family, and will help them prepare for your arrival and make sure you are healthy during your stay. We also share this information with the teachers, so they can properly take care of you during class time.
What happens if I get sick?
With small classes, teacher supervised excursions, and warm and welcoming host families, your safety and health is always of utmost importance. In the unlikely event of illness or accident, the program locations are well-served by excellent health clinics and hospitals that provide first class care. You are required to come to Canada with proper health insurance from your home country so there is no concern about doctors’ fees or other bills for emergency services.
What will the weather be like?
Summers in Calgary are sunny and warm with low humidity. However, evenings and mornings can be cool, especially in the mountains. Summers in Niagara tend to be hotter, with high humidity. Both locations can get the occasional summer storm with heavy rain.
How much money should I bring?
Since the program is all inclusive in terms of accommodations, English classes, meals, local transportation, and excursions, you only need to bring a small amount of spending money for your own personal needs. You may want to buy some souvenirs, or have some spending money if your homestay family takes you on an excursion on the weekend. Your homestay family will explain if an activity has an extra cost.
“I really enjoy the experiences gained in working within the CIS program. The students we teach expand our understandings of our own pedagogy, in working with a cultural background so distinct from our own."
“The program offers students an unforgettable opportunity to see a different part of the world, while developing their English language skills, as they experience Canadian culture through classroom activities, excursions, and interactions with their homestay families.”
"It is very rewarding for me, as an educator, to witness the growth in the students’ language skills over a short intensive period of time. The base of vocabulary they arrive to Canada with serves as a good testament to their English training in their own school system."
"I think the activities that are embedded within the program provide the students a solid means of showing much of the Canadian lifestyle, in terms of day-to-day recreation, but also other features that require the use of larger spaces, that are not as prevalent in their home country. These, in combination with the homestay experiences and dietary differences from home, provide the students with a truly well rounded experience."