Homestay FAQ

Yes. All students coming to UVic from outside Canada are eligible for Homestay, even if they are native English speakers. Students must be registered in full-time studies at UVic to be in homestay.

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, our students choose Homestay to learn about and experience life in a different culture.

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

  • you get picked up at the airport
  • you get a private room with a bed, desk, dresser and linens
  • the program fee includes use of laundry, access to Wi-Fi/Internet, meals and snacks
  • your host family will help you integrate and learn about life in Victoria
  • your host family will offer cultural guidance and emotional support
  • the Homestay Program will support you 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
  • 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 30 years, and we enjoy the privilege of working with many wonderful families in Victoria.

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

Once the completed application form and criminal records 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.

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. GROUPS: Due to limited homestay availability, we encourage institutions to send their participants' homestay applications 10-12 weeks prior to the program start date.

Program Duration Homestay Application Deadline
Intensive English Online (ELPI)  
ELPI January 12 weeks    November 1
ELPI April 12 weeks February 1
ELPI - Summer 9 weeks May 15
ELPI - September 12 weeks July 1
ELPI - September + Project-based Presentations   14 weeks July 1
Monthly English (ME)  
January 4 weeks November 1
February 4 weeks November 15
March 4 weeks December 1
September 4 weeks July 1
October 4 weeks September 1
November 4 weeks October 1
December 3 weeks November 1
Summer Language and Culture  
June 5-week Program (P3) 5 weeks April 15
+ English for Professional Communication 5 weeks April 15
University Admission Preparation (UAP)  
August 4 weeks July 1

The UVic Homestay Program will place students in 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.

Please note: The 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.

Please note that:  

  • Your homestay host may be from different backgrounds and will have different life experiences and world views.
  • Our hosts may be couples, single adults, nuclear families, blended families, single parents and same sex couples.
  • Pets are common, and the majority of our homestay hosts have one or more pets which they consider members of their family.
  • Alcohol and marijuana are legal in Canada and some of our hosts choose to use these substances.
  • Your hosts are not able to provide specialty foods such as protein powders and bars, supplements, halal foods, etc. These will need to be purchased by the student.

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

Students have a financial obligation to their hosts for the duration of the 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.

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.

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. The completed form must be submitted to the UVic Homestay office. 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. A Two-Week Notice Form cannot be used in combination with a Vacation Notice Form.


The more effort you put into your Homestay experience, the more reward you will gain from the experience. If you have a problem with your host family, please make sure that you talk to your host family in a positive and constructive manner so that you 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.

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.

These services are offered as part of the University of Victoria's student services, and bear no additional charge to students.


Monthly English programs: The homestay fee is $1350 CAD per program

The homestay fee for programs longer than a full month is $1350 CAD per month and $45 CAD per night for extra nights or partial months. 

Payment details:

  • Homestay fees are paid directly to the host family.
  • Students have a financial obligation to their hosts for the duration of the Placement Contract dates.
  • The student is responsible for the full homestay fee, based on the Homestay Placement dates, even if they arrive after their placement start date.
  • 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 placement contract, based on the placement start date.

ELC Students:

UVic Visiting, Certificate, Diploma and Degree Students:

If you have any questions regarding payment, please contact the Homestay Program.

Please see the information sheet: Your Flight Details and Arrival in Victoria (PDF).

When your host family meets you at the arrival location, they will generally hold up a sign with your name on it. If you have shared photos, you might be able to recognize one another. If your flight was delayed, or in the very rare occasion that your host family is not at the agreed upon arrival location when you arrive:

  • Call their home/cellular phone numbers and leave a message to tell them where you are waiting for them. They may have a delay in getting to the location to meet you.  
  • If you are at the Victoria Airport, go to the Airport Information Booth (Red Coats Volunteers - located in the centre of the Arrivals area, phone: 250-953-7533) and ask if your host family has left a message for you.

If your host family is not at the arrival location to meet you and you cannot contact them by phone

  • Take the Airport shuttle bus from the Victoria Airport to downtown Victoria.
  • Stay at a hotel or hostel for a night or until you are able to connect with your host.
  • If you arrive in the evening or weekend and have not been able to contact your host family, please contact the UVic Homestay Office on the next business day (Monday to Friday), during office hours (8:30am to 4:30pm) at 250-472-4268 or visit our office located on the second floor of the Continuing Studies Building at the University of Victoria.

If you need to arrive earlier than the date listed on the hosting dates:

  • make other accommodation arrangements for any nights outside of the homestay contract dates listed. 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.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to arrange accommodation until the arrival date listed in
    the Hosting Dates of your Homestay Placement Contract. See a list of accommodation options in Victoria.
  • once your accommodations have been arranged, you must contact your host family to tell them where you are staying, so arrangements for pick up can be made
  • you 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 you up

If you are planning to arrive in the Homestay home after the hosting dates listed, you must contact your host with your request via email, with at least one week’s notice.

Students arriving on a weekday may be required to take a taxi, at the student’s expense, to the host’s home. 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 from the UVic campus. Please arrange this directly with your host.

We suggest that you carry your host’s cell phone number with you so you can phone or email them if there are changes or delays to your travel arrangements while you are travelling. If you have a cell phone, please provide your host with the number in case they need to call you.

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