COLUMBIA COLLEGE HOMESTAY PROGRAM STUDENT HANDBOOK

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1 COLUMBIA COLLEGE HOMESTAY PROGRAM STUDENT HANDBOOK

2 HOMESTAY: LIVING WITH A CANADIAN FAMILY Homestay lets you live with Canadian families that have been carefully screened by Columbia College. Our hosts are a reflection of the people who live not only in Vancouver but the whole of Canada. There is no typical Canadian family. Our hosts can be single people, couples (married or not), with or without children, of all ages and from diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. Although each home is different, all hosts are kind, generous and curious about people from other countries. They are happy to have students share lives as respected and active members of their households. English must be the primary spoken language spoken in the home. Each host family has been visited by a College representative, usually the homestay coordinator. We look for families who are: kind and friendly **** enjoy meeting students from other countries **** host for the fun of it**** Homestay with a Canadian family lets you: make friends with Canadians****learn about Canadian culture and society****practice English**** When you are staying with a host family, you can expect your own furnished room with a bed, a desk, a wardrobe and three meals a day. You will also have the use of the living room, television, telephone and laundry If you feel your family is not doing their job well, please let us know. Alma Begovic, the Homestay Coordinator, helps students while they are living in homestay. If you have any problems or questions, please come and talk to her. PLEASE READ ALL OF THIS INFORMATION TO HELP AVOID ANY PROBLEMS OR MISUNDERSTANDINGS

3 YOUR HOST FAMILY Your host family may be a family with or without children, an older couple, a single parent or a widow All host families want to share their family life with an international student. They are interested in learning about other cultures. They host because they enjoy having a student in their home. When you arrive in your host family, your family will show you around the house and your room. Take the time to get to know your host family so you will feel more comfortable, don t just stay in your room the whole time. Every host family in our program has met the necessary criteria to provide you with a clean, safe, and comfortable home. Some of our host families live in apartments while others live in houses. The size of the houses and student s rooms vary widely, so it is not fair for you to compare your host family accommodations with other host family accommodations. FAMILY LIFE AND YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES IN HOMESTAY As a student, you also have responsibilities in your homestay. You will find a lot of things are different from your own home and family. Some things to remember: You should be willing to try new things. Your family is not there to serve you. Show respect to your hosts. You are expected to follow the rules of your host family and their home. Your host family will give you a key to their house. Be very careful with the key. If you lose it you might have to replace the whole lock. You should always keep your room neat and tidy. Do not leave clothes or towels lying on the floor You should buy your own toiletries (such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant) Respect the rights, privacy and beliefs of your host family and any other students staying there Always lock the door when you leave. If both your host parents work, make sure you ask for their work telephone numbers.

4 Ask your host family if you can have friends over before you invite anyone. You should not invite guests overnight very often, even if your host parents say this is allowed. Host families may sometimes give you a ride, but they are not responsible for your transportation. Buses run often. Buy yourself a bus transit map. If you are cold at night ask your host parents for more blankets. Your host family may have pets. Be nice to them! They are important to your host family. If you do not like pets, keep your bedroom door closed when you go out so that the animals do not enter your room. Your host family may have a curfew (a time when they want you to be home). Respect the curfew time. You should be quiet in the house between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Remember you are not staying in a hotel, and the members of your family are not there to serve you. Please treat them with curtesy and respect. Family members often have regular activities on weekdays and weekends. You may be asked to join in. If you want to join them you can say: Thank you. I would like to join you If you want to join them, but they have not asked you yet you can say: Do you mind if I join you? If you do join your family you must pay your own entrance fees. If they want to pay sometimes, it is polite for you to offer to pay for yourself Family: Student: Let me pay for that Are you sure? I would like to pay. You are responsible for any damage that you do to your host family s home or belongings. Be careful in the home and treat your host family s belongings with respect.

5 HOUSEHOLD CHORES You are responsible for doing the following things: keeping your own room clean and tidy Helping out with small household chores such as setting the table and doing the dishes. Your family will be happy you are helping. changing the sheets on your bed (your host family will supply you with the bedding MEALS Your host family will provide 3 meals a day: BREAKFAST **** LUNCH **** DINNER **** You will find Canadian food different from your food at first. Try your best to adapt, as your Homestay host will likely not be familiar with cooking most foods from your country. It s a good idea to discuss what foods you like/dislike when you first arrive with your host. Be adventurous. Try all different kinds of food we eat in Canada. Your host family will tell you about meal preparation and times. Ask your host family if you have any questions about meals. Such as: BREAKFAST: What time is breakfast/lunch/dinner? Should I prepare my own breakfast? Can I use the coffee maker/stove/microwave/kettle? Can I help myself to snacks/milk/bread? Breakfast is usually from 7 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on weekdays and later on weekends. On weekends sometimes families only eat 2 meals a late breakfast or brunch and dinner. You may have to make your own breakfast or someone may make it for you.

6 In the morning your family may be very busy and may or may not all eat breakfast together. Most Canadians will have juice, cereal or toast and coffee or tea for breakfast. On the weekends they may eat eggs, bacon, pancakes, waffles, etc. LUNCH Canadians usually take a packed lunch to work or to school. Your host family will prepare your lunch for you if you want, or you can make your own. You may prefer this as you know best what you would like to eat for lunch. If you make your own lunch ask your host family to show you what you can use to make your lunch. You can ask: Could you please show me what I can use when I make my lunch? Politely let your family know the kinds of things you like to eat in your lunch. Lunches often include: one or two sandwiches such as ham and cheese, egg, tuna fish, lettuce and tomato a piece of fruit (apple, orange, or banana) a small dessert (cookies, muffin, or cake) a drink (milk or juice) DINNER Dinner is usually eaten between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. every evening and is the main meal of the day. Families usually eat dinner together. Sometimes people will eat earlier or later if they have to go out. Your host family may ask if there are certain foods that you do not like. If you do not like something you can say:

7 I am sorry, but I do not like liver/carrots, etc. If you do not like something it is not polite to say at dinner that you do not like it. It is best to tell them before meal time. If your family offers you food you do not like, say: No, thank you. If you are still hungry after you have finished your meal, it is polite in Canada to ask for more food or to take more food the first time it is offered. You can say: Yes, I would like some more please. ` or Could I please have a little more rice? Your host family will tell you if they will not be home for dinner. They will tell you what you can eat. You must tell your host family if you will be late for dinner. They may be able to keep some dinner for you. You must also tell your family if you will not be home for dinner. You should tell them the night before. You can say: I am sorry but I will be late for dinner THE TELEPHONE AND INTERNET If you are calling long distance, you must call home collect or use a phone card. When you call collect, the person you are calling pays for the call. Ask your family to show you how to call collect. Remember that there is usually a time difference between Vancouver and your home. You should not have people calling you late at night or early in the morning as this disturbs other family members Ask your host family: If my family or friends call me, how late/early can they call? DO NOT TALK TOO LONG ON THE PHONE. Usually 10 to 15 minutes is enough for a local phone call

8 Students must pay their host families for use of the internet. Some homestays may ask for this fee and some may not. You should not pay more than $20 for the internet Homestay hosts may enforce any reasonable house rules to ensure that students are using the Internet/computer in a responsible manner Any abuse of or disregard for reasonable Internet/computer house rules and guidelines may result in a disconnection of the service. USING THE BATHROOM Do not stay in the bathroom too long. If your host family only has one bath or shower in their home, check to make sure other family members do not need to use the bathroom before you take a bath or shower. You should ask: May I use the shower right now? In Canadian homes, hot water comes from a hot water tank. It is not endless. Be careful not to use all the hot water in the tank!!!!!!!!!! Someone else may want to take a bath after you Use your own shampoo, conditioner, creams, shaving cream, perfumes and lotions. If you take a bath, fill the bath and wash yourself with soap and water while you are in the bath. Do not wash Clean the bath tub after you use it. Ask your host family how the tub should be cleaned after it is used. Leave the bathroom tidy when you are through. Hang your towel and wash cloth to dry bathtub. yourself outside of the tub.

9 Laundry You are responsible for doing your own laundry. Your host family will tell you how to use the machines, if they have not, then ask them to show you. DO NOT use a machine if you do not know what to do Make sure you have a full load of clothes before you do a wash. Do not only wash a pair of socks in one load. Your family may want to do your wash with the rest of the family s. If you do not feel comfortable with this, than please discuss it with your homestay. In most Canadian homes, laundry is done once a week. Your homestay should provide you with the laundry detergent Alcohol and illicit drugs The legal age for drinking alcohol in BC is 19. Drinking underage, excessive drinking, the use of illicit drugs and/or the use of false identification is strictly prohibited and may result in immediate removal from the Homestay Program and trouble with the law. SMOKING You are not allowed to smoke in your host family s house unless they say it is okay. You must ask them. Please smoke only where they say it is okay. Please do not smoke in your bedroom.

10 HOMESTAY RENT REGULAR ACADEMIC PROGRAM Your homestay rent is $ per month ($ for minors). Columbia College will send your homestay rent payments to your host family for your first and last months of homestay (this fee should have been prepaid before you arrived to Vancouver). After the first month of your stay, you are responsible to start paying your homestay rent directly to your host. You must pay rent on the first day of each month. For example, you would pay February s rent on February 1st. Your homestay rent does not include internet fees. If you would like to have internet connection in your homestay, talk to your host family. Internet fees will be not more than $20.00 per month. Please pay this fee directly to your host family. If you go away for holidays and are returning, then you should pay 50% of what you would normally pay for the time you are away. For example, if you are in homestay from April 1 to April 17 and go home from April 18 to April 30 you should pay: April 1 to April 17 $ (17 days x $25.00) April 18 to April 30 $ (13 days x $13.50) You should stay in homestay for a minimum of one semester, unless you have a problem in your homestay EXTRA DAYS If you are staying extra days in homestay outside the program dates, then you should pay $27.00 per day. If you do not know what to pay, see the homestay coordinator. MOVING OUT OF HOMESTAY If you want to move out of homestay you must tell (give notice) to your host family and the homestay coordinator at least one month before you move. If you do not give one month notice, you will pay half a month s rent even though you will not be there. If you want to move on May 1, you must tell your host family and homestay coordinator by April 1. Notice should be given in writing; you can pick up the Notice of Homestay Termination form from the homestay office

11 You may feel awkward about talking to your Homestay host about leaving their home. Homestay hosts understand that students leave for a variety of reasons: going back to your country, moving to another city, or moving into an apartment to be alone or with friends. If you are honest and up-front about communicating with them, your Homestay host will do their best to ensure that your last month with them will be FEELINGS Talking and communicating with your host family is one of the most important aspects of homestay. Tell your host how you feel and tell them if you are; unhappy, confused about something or do not understand something they did. This will make you closer to your host family. If you have a problem, talk to someone. If you can talk to your Host Family, that is good. If you do not want to talk to your host family come and talk to ALMA, THE HOMESTAY COORDINATOR A COUNSELLOR OR YOUR TEACHER WE ARE ALL HERE TO HELP YOU If you have a problem and do not talk to anyone, the problem will get Bigger and BIGGER. The Bigger a problem is the harder it is to solve it. SPEAK ENGLISH Always speak English at home and on the phone to your friends. This will help you to improve your English. It is considered impolite to speak another language in front of people who do not understand PARTICIPATE Time goes by quickly. Try to take part in many College and host family activities. Have fun!!! Emergency Number Out of office emergency number (used only in emergencies)

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