Homestay info for agents and partners

Welcome to the University of Victoria's award-winning Homestay Program! Our staff are dedicated professionals who work hard to ensure that international students and our local host families enjoy cultural exchanges.

"UVic and my home stay family were the most beautiful experiences in my life. If you want to improve your English, UVic is the best place to do it."
—Raul Perez, Argentina

What is Homestay?

UVic Homestay is an opportunity for students to live with a local family while enrolled in classes at the University of Victoria. Homestay families will welcome students into their home and provide them with a safe, comfortable and friendly place to live within easy travelling distance of the university. Students will eat meals with their host family, participate in their weekend activities and become part of their daily lives.

The benefits of Homestay:

  • gives students an opportunity to use and practice their English language skills in an informal setting
  • provides students with an automatic base of support in Canada
  • places students with a family who will provide all meals and snacks
  • provides students with affordable accommodations in a city where housing can be hard to find
  • ensures that students will live within a 60-85-minute commute to UVic, on convenient bus routes
  • places students in homestay for their program dates

Why should students participate in Homestay?

  • Homestay students improve their English skills more quickly than students who live alone.
  • The host family will help students learn about Victoria.
  • Students will have a “home away from home” in Victoria, and the chance to participate in daily Canadian life and culture.
  • The host family will provide a safe, respectful and supportive living environment.

What can students expect from their host family?

The host family will:

  • follow the UVic Homestay Guidelines for Hosts
  • pick up the student when they arrive in Victoria and drop them off at their departure location when the student leaves Victoria (on the program's set arrival and departure dates)
  • speak English at all times
  • encourage students to practice English conversation skills at home
  • provide a safe, comfortable and friendly home
  • provide a private, furnished bedroom (maximum three students per home)
  • provide food for all meals and snacks
  • provide Wi-Fi/Internet access in the home
  • help students adjust to living in a new city and culture
  • encourage students to join in their family activities
  • introduce students to Victoria and the local neighbourhood
  • live within a 60-85-minute commute to the University of Victoria

How much does Homestay cost?

  • Monthly English programs: The homestay fee is $1350 CAD per program. 
  • The homestay fee for consecutive programs or programs longer than a full month is $1350 CAD per month for programs longer than a full month, and $45 CAD per night for extra nights or partial months. 
  • Please see the Detailed Fee Payment Schedule for specific fee information. 
  • Customized program fees vary depending on length of program ($60-$65 CAD/night).

Payment information

  • The student pays homestay fees directly to the host.
  • The student is responsible for the full homestay fee — based on the Homestay Placement contract dates — even if they arrive after their placement start date.
  • The student pays Homestay fees on the day that they arrive, and then (for long-term programs) on the corresponding day of each following month, for the duration of their Homestay Placement contract, based on the placement start date.

Please note that students are placed in UVic Homestay on a first come first served basis as completed applications are received by our office. Homestay is limited and spaces may fill before the deadline. In cases where UVic Homestay cannot accommodate students, students will need to arrange their own homestay privately.

Homestay information for:

Important information to share with your student:

Agent & Third Party policies

Agents and institutions must provide us with the student’s personal email address.

Please note that it is the policy of UVic Homestay that we are provided with the student’s personal email  address. This allows us to not only contact the student with information about their Homestay placement, but it also facilitates communication between the student and host. Early communication between your students and our hosts helps ensure that important information is exchanged early (such as arrival and flight details), and if any issues or problems arise, they can be dealt with in a timely manner.

Our hosts always strive to make a welcoming first impression, as this helps create a strong connection between them and the international students that will join their family in Victoria. Allowing the student and host to connect directly helps create a strong bond from the start. When hosts and students get to know each other through email communication first, it increases the student’s comfort level and feeling of welcome upon arrival at the host’s home.

The host placement information will not be sent until the UVic Homestay Program has received the student’s personal email address.

Homestay Placement Contract
Homestay Placement Contracts will be sent directly to the student. Due to Privacy of Information policies, the contract is intended for the student only. When dealing with groups of students, we may share basic placement contact details with agents.

Communicating with hosts
It is important to note that agents should not be communicating with hosts. If you have any questions, concerns or requests for the hosts, we ask that these please be made to UVic Homestay first, so that we can find the best possible solution taking your business and our policies into account. Hosts have been advised not to respond if an agent contacts them, but rather forward the information to UVic Homestay.

Payment to Homestay families

  • Monthly English programs: The homestay fee is $1350 CAD per monthly program. 
  • The homestay fee for programs longer than a full month is $1350 CAD per month for programs longer than a full month, and $45 CAD per night for extra nights or partial months. 

Please note that it is not appropriate for agents to contact the host family and request their personal banking information to make wire transfers, or to discuss alternate payment options. Agents should not be communicating with hosts. If you have any questions, concerns or requests for the hosts, we ask that you please contact UVic Homestay.

Early arrivals

Students should make other accommodation arrangements for any nights outside of the homestay contract dates listed. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange accommodation until the arrival date listed in the Hosting Dates of their Homestay Placement Contract. Hosts are advised not to accommodate early arrival requests, and students are advised to make other arrangements for nights before or after their homestay contract.

If your student needs to arrive earlier than the date listed on the hosting dates:

  • it is the student’s responsibility to arrange accommodation until the arrival date listed in the Homestay Placement contract. See a list of accommodation options in Victoria.
  • once the student accommodations have been arranged, the student must contact their host family to tell them where they are staying, so arrangements for pick up can be made
  • students should aim to arrive on the weekends or weekday evenings, no later than 9 pm (and not during the weekday work hours) so that host families can make the necessary arrangements to pick up the student. Students arriving during weekday work hours, must make their own arrangements and at their own cost, to get to the host’s home at a mutually agreed upon time. Students may also take a taxi or airport shuttle to the University of Victoria campus (Continuing Studies Building) and wait for their host to pick them up. 
  • students should arrive on the weekends or weekday evenings, no earlier than 8:00am and no later than 10:00pm (and not during the weekday work hours) so that homestay families can make the necessary arrangements to pick up the student. Students arriving on a weekday (Monday - Friday) during regular work hours (typically 8:30am-4:30pm), are required to take a taxi or shuttle to the host's home (at the student's expense).

Late arrivals
Students planning to arrive in the Homestay home after the hosting dates listed must contact the host with their request via email, with at least one week's notice.

Students arriving after the Program’s set Arrival Date, are required to book transportation, at their own expense, to their host's home (if arriving in the evening) or to the University of Victoria campus (if arriving during regular weekday work hours). Students arriving early in the day on a weekday are advised to take a taxi to the University of Victoria, Continuing Studies Building, and join the day’s activities – your host will be able to pick you up after their workday (typically after 5pm).

Students who will arrive late must notify their host family with at least one week's notice, otherwise they will be required to pay the Homestay host from the hosting dates stipulated on the contract. Visa rejections or delays—or health reasons—would be exceptions.

Late departures
Groups departing after the Program’s set Departure Date are required to make arrangements to book a hostel or hotel accommodation, at the student’s expense, for the additional night/s. Homestay hosts will drop your students off at the hotel/hostel accommodation on the Departure Date at the check-in time specified by the hotel. Hosts are not required to drop off students before 6:00am or after 10:00pm at any location on the departure date.

Please see Your student's Flight Details and Arrival Information - Group Arrivals and Departures for more information.

Student placement
Please note that our general practice is to place students for the duration of their program. Any student wishing to end the hosting relationship may terminate the placement contract by providing a Two-Week Notice Form that has been signed by both parties (the student and the host). The form can be obtained from the UVic Homestay Office and once completed, must be submitted to the UVic Homestay office for review. Notice may only be given once a student has been living in the home for at least two weeks, so that the student completes one full month/payment period. Move out date into a new homestay placement is subject to availability within the Homestay Program. Student is responsible for paying the host for at least two weeks from the day the Two-Week Notice form is completed and signed.

Gaps between programs
Sometimes there are gaps between one registered program and the next consecutive program offered. When Homestay is the accommodation option provided for a program (Sept. to June), UVic Homestay will place students with a host family throughout their registered programs, including any gap periods. Please note that students applying to our summer short-term programs in July and August have the option of registering for dormitory accommodation only and cannot remain in Homestay during this time.

Vacation policy
Students that are away for 5 or more consecutive nights pay a reduced rate.  Student will give a completed Vacation Notice Form to Host at least one week prior to travel. If the Student is away from the home for:

  • 1 – 4 consecutive nights: Host and Student are not required to complete a Vacation Notice Form as the home placement fee will not be reduced.
  • 5 or more consecutive nights: Students can keep their belongings in their rooms and the Host will not use their rooms for any other purpose while they are away. During vacations of 5+ consecutive nights the Homestay fee will be reduced to half the regular per night rate.

Frequently asked questions

Homestay provides a great accommodation alternative for those new to Victoria. The ideal Homestay student is flexible, a good communicator and someone that can appreciate differences. Every family in our Homestay Program is different. Ideally, students choose Homestay to learn about and experience life in a different culture.

Homestay also provides a great “soft-landing” for students:

  • they get picked up at the airport
  • they’re provided with a private room that has a bed, desk, dresser and linens
  • the program fee includes use of laundry, access to Wi-Fi, meals and snacks
  • the Homestay family will help the student integrate and learn about life in Victoria
  • the Homestay family will offer cultural guidance and emotional support
  • the Homestay Program will support the student with any problem solving and dispute resolution

As an adult international student living in a Canadian family home, you are required to:

  • adhere to the UVic Homestay Guidelines for Students
  • pay your hosts on the first day of your arrival (unless otherwise specified)
  • prepare your own breakfast and lunch
  • keep your bedroom clean and tidy
  • clean up after yourself in a shared or private bathroom, or in the kitchen after preparing food
  • bring your dirty dishes to the kitchen after you are finished eating or drinking
  • wash your clothes and bed linens in the laundry machines
  • call your host family if you will be late for dinner, or if your evening plans change while you are away from home
  • keep your emergency contact card with you at all times
  • always be respectful and polite with all members of your host family
  • be aware and respectful of the manner in which your hosts manage their home

UVic Homestay strives to provide quality homestay experiences for students enrolled in UVic programs. Our award-winning program has been operating for over 25 years, and we enjoy the privilege of working with many wonderful families in Victoria. Homestay host families must:

  • live within our catchment area, generally a 10km radius, or about an 85-minute commute from the university
  • adhere to the UVic Homestay Guidelines for Hosts.
  • complete a detailed application form and provide Police Information Checks

Once the completed application form and Police Information Checks are received, the UVic Homestay Program sends staff to meet with and interview the family in their home. Staff tour the home to ensure it is a safe environment that meets our requirements.

The UVic Homestay Program will place students with Homestay families that, given the information known at the time and provided in the application form, best match the needs of the student and the Homestay family. Health concerns or issues will be prioritized for matches. While our program does its best to match a student’s preferences, we cannot guarantee that these will be met.

The Homestay Program places students with local families of diverse backgrounds, life experiences and world views.

Please note: the Homestay Program adheres to the University of Victoria’s Policy on Human Rights, Equity and Fairness (GV0200). 

Once matched, a UVic Homestay Placement Contract is sent to the student and host.

Students have a financial obligation to their hosts for the duration of the Homestay Placement Contract dates. Students shall pay their hosts on the first day of their arrival in the home, and on the corresponding day of each following month for the duration of their stay, for the duration of their placement contract, and based on the placement start date.

The more effort the student puts into their Homestay experience, the more reward they will gain from the experience. If students have a problem with their host family, they must first make sure that they talk to their host family in a positive and constructive manner so that they can solve the problem together. If a resolution to the problem cannot be found, students are encouraged to talk to the UVic Homestay staff about the situation. Our program staff and counsellors are available to provide students with professional care and support to help them have the best experience possible with their host family.

We always keep the students’ welfare in mind, and strive to support our students and hosts should a problem arise. Students are encouraged to come and speak to a Homestay Coordinator to explore ways to resolve the issue or conflict. In case of emergency, the services of a translator will be secured by the Homestay Program to ensure the matter is resolved. This allows students to express themselves freely without the language barrier. We have a roster of translator agencies in Victoria, which we have used in the past.

Additional services offered include:

  • meetings with personal safety officers
  • counselling services
  • mental health services
  • chaplains, etc.