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Policies and procedures may change during COVID-19. For up-to-date information, please view Homestay requirements during COVID-19

Share what it means to be Canadian!

As a UVic Homestay Host, you’ll have a unique opportunity to share your perspective on a Canadian lifestyle with young people from other countries. Make new friends, learn about other cultures, and join a very special group of people who want to make a difference in the world. Our award-winning program staff support you every step of the way and qualifying hosts can receive up to $950/month.

About UVic Homestay

UVic Homestay strives to provide quality homestay experiences for our hosts and students. Our program has been operating for over 30 years, and we enjoy the privilege of working with many wonderful families in Victoria. 

Our staff are dedicated professionals who work hard to ensure that our local host families and international students enjoy cultural exchanges. UVic Homestay matches over 1,600 students per year with local families in our program.

UVic Homestay provides our hosts with support and guidance before and during each placement.

Reasons to become a host

  • to learn about other cultures and share their own 
  • to establish lasting friendships with people from other countries 
  • to share their favourite parts of Victoria and the West Coast 
  • to help students improve their English and learn about life in Canada 

Eligibility to host

There are many different types of hosts in the UVic Homestay Program: single adults, families with children, same-sex couples, single parents, and empty nesters. Our hosts speak English fluently and have diverse backgrounds, life experiences and world views. UVic Homestay hosts must have a genuine desire and willingness to open their homes, along with sharing their family lives and customs with the students. 

All UVic Homestay hosts must live within our catchment area, a reasonable 60 minute* commute from the university by public transit.

*Hosts living in the 50 to 60-minute commute range will likely be offered student placements during peak times:  February, March, August and September.  Homes must be located close to convenient and regular bus routes with bus stops accessible by approximately a 10-minute walk.

Role of host

Homestay hosts welcome students into their home and provide students with care and support as they experience a new culture and language. Hosts provide a safe, comfortable place to live, all food, language practice, and the sharing of family life and customs. 

Hosts also create an opportunity for international students to learn about Canadian culture and life firsthand, and to practice their English in a casual, comfortable setting. 

For our students, it’s the little things that make their stay in your home special: walking the dog, helping with dinner, going to local events with the family, hiking, shopping, spending time together. Hosting a student doesn’t take anything extraordinary – you can provide them with what they need just by being yourself!

Read about Joanne and Mike's experience hosting Homestay students.

Read article

As a host, you are required to:

  • Provide students with a safe, comfortable and friendly home
  • Provide students with a private, furnished bedroom (maximum 3 students per home)
  • Provide students with food for all meals and snacks
  • Help students adjust to living in a new culture
  • Involve students in family activities
  • Pick up students when they arrive in Victoria and drop them off at their departure location when they leave Victoria
  • Speak English at all times
  • Encourage students to practice their English conversation skills at home
  • Live within a 60-minute* bus ride of the University of Victoria
  • Provide students with basic wireless internet (wifi)
  • Adhere to the UVic Homestay Guidelines for Hosts

How are hosts compensated?

  • $950 CAD per student enrolled in the Monthly English program
  • $950 CAD per student (per month) enrolled in programs longer than one month, and $32 per night for extra nights or partial month

How do I apply to become a UVic Homestay host family?

If you speak English fluently, live within our catchment, and can make the commitment to host students, we encourage you to join our community of homestay hosts!

To apply, please contact our office at 250-472-4268 or to ensure that your home is located within our location boundaries and to obtain a Host Contractor Application.

  1. Prospective homestay hosts must complete a detailed application form, provide two reference letters, and have Police Information Checks (with the Vulnerable Sector Check) completed.
  2. Once the completed application package has been submitted, a member of the UVic Homestay Program will conduct a home visit. Staff will meet and interview the family, tour the home to ensure it is a safe environment that meets our requirements, and answer any questions.  The home visit takes approximately one hour.

Homestay host and student

Additional FAQs

Ministry of Justice Criminal Record Reviews are restricted to charges and convictions only, and do not check for police files which include:

  • Incidents of Mental health
  • Negative interactions with police
  • Allegations of sexual assault
  • Reports of domestic violence

The above are key insights into vetting prospective hosts for our homestay program. Hosts in our program are required to submit PICs every 5 years.

The UVic Homestay Program always does its best to match students with hosts who have similar interests and preferences. Students are placed in homestays that, given the information known at the time and provided in the application form, best match the needs of the student and the homestay host.  Health concerns or issues will be prioritized for matches. 

Please note: The UVic Homestay Program adheres to the University of Victoria’s Policy on Human Rights, Equity and Fairness (GV0200). The University promotes a safe, respectful and supportive learning and working environment for all members of the university community. The University fosters an environment characterized by fairness, openness, equity, and respect for the dignity and diversity of its members. The University strives to be a place that is free of discrimination and harassment, injustice and violence. The strength and vibrancy of the University is found in the diverse life experiences, backgrounds and worldviews of all its members.

The University endeavours to provide the best possible educational experience for all of its students. The academic excellence for which the University strives is unattainable without human rights, equity, fairness and diversity. These values are a foundation for achieving excellence.

Anyone affiliated with the University of Victoria who is 18+ years of age can choose Homestay. The majority of the students we place are EAL (English as an Additional Language) learners between the ages of 18–25. We also have visiting researchers and faculty that may be 30–60 years of age. Most of our students are from Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Mexico and Brazil, and we also place students from Quebec that are here to learn English. Our program has placed students from over 30 countries.

The two main types of students we place are those registered in the English Language Centre (ELC) or in degree programs at UVic.

Students at the ELC may be here for short-term or long-term programs:

  • Short-term students are typically here for 3–6 weeks.  Our shortest placement is one week.
  • Long-term students are typically here for 9–12 weeks.  Students may register in several consecutive short-term or long-term programs, or a combination of both, thus staying in Victoria for several months.

Degree programs:

  • Students in degree programs are typically here for one term (September–December or January–April) although some are here for a full academic year (September–April).  Students in degree programs represent a small percentage of placements.

We want you to have the best experience possible with your student.  If you have issues or concerns regarding your student, please make sure that you talk to them in a positive and constructive manner so that you can solve the problem together.   If a resolution cannot be found, hosts are encouraged to speak to a homestay coordinator to explore ways to resolve the issue or conflict. 

Our program staff can refer students to counsellors so that they are provided with professional care and support. Additional services offered to students include meetings with personal safety officers, counselling services, mental health practitioners, chaplains, etc.  These services are offered as part of the University of Victoria’s student services, and bear no additional charge to students.

At the end of their program, Students complete evaluations on their homestay experience. UVic homestay may contact hosts if follow-up is required. Host are welcome to contact UVic Homestay for feedback.  Students will be asked questions regarding comfort level of the home, food provided, activities and interaction with the host family, communication, and overall experience. We also ask students whether they would recommend their family to other students.