Thank you for your interest in UVic Homestay!

Hosting international students is a wonderful opportunity to learn about another culture and support a student's efforts to improve their English language skills.

Please review the information below to ensure that Homestay is a good fit for you and your family.

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.

What is UVic Homestay?

The UVic Homestay Program provides an opportunity for local families to host one to three international students while they study at the University of Victoria. Homestay hosts welcome students into their home and provide them with a safe, comfortable, and friendly place to live. Homestay hosts also create opportunities for their students to learn about Canadian culture and to practice their English in a casual, familial setting. By hosting students from different countries, homestay hosts will gain knowledge about different cultures, languages and people. Hosts often tell us that hosting students allows them to bring the world into their home, and provides them and their children with a wonderful cultural exchange opportunity.

Who can host?

There are many different types of families in our homestay program:  We have single adults; young and older couples; same sex couples; families with young children; single parents with children; and empty nesters.  Our local families speak English fluently and have diverse backgrounds, life experiences and world views.

Homestay involves relationships between people - UVic Homestay hosts must have a genuine desire and willingness to open their homes and share their family lives and customs with the students.

We asked our hosts what homestay means to them. Here are some of our favourite responses:

  • “As a homestay parent, now I have an extended family spread over four continents and many countries.”
  • “Homestay is like an adventure book that never ends.”
  • “To understand another culture is to see a reflection of me in that culture.”
  • “I now have daughters all over the world!”

What role do homestay hosts play?

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

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.

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!

How are hosts compensated?

  • $850 per student enrolled in the Monthly English program
  • $850 per student (per month) for those enrolled in programs longer than one month, and $28 per night for extra nights or partial months

Effective January 1, 2018:

  • $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 months

What is required of homestay hosts?

  • 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
  • Adhere to the UVic Homestay Guidelines for Hosts

What is the application process?

  • All UVic Homestay hosts must live within our catchment area, a reasonable 60 minute* commute from the university by public transit.
  • Prospective homestay hosts must complete a detailed application form, provide two reference letters, and have Police Information Checks (with the Vulnerable Sector Check) completed.
  • 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

*Hosts living in the 50 to 60-minute commute range will likely be offered student placements during peak times:  February, March, August and September.

Why does UVic Homestay require Police Information Checks (PICs)?

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.

How are hosts matched with a student?

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.

What types of students are placed in UVic Homestay?

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.

What if I encounter a problem with my student?

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.


Please review the UVic Homestay Guidelines for Hosts to ensure that Homestay is a good fit for your family.

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

To apply to become a host family, please contact our office at 250-472-4268 or homestay@uvcs.uvic.ca to ensure that your home is located within our location boundaries and to obtain a Host Contractor Application.