Host Guidelines 2017


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All what you need to know about being a homestay

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Welcome to the world of hos ng interna onal students with MLI Homestay! Thank you in advance for welcoming a student into your home. We hope it is a rich and mutually rewarding experience for both par es. This guide is meant to help you navigate the world of hos ng in general and also to familiarize you with roles, responsibili es and rules specific to MLI. We offer a full-service support team who will do all we can to ensure a successful hos ng experience. • Opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life • Introduce your family to other customs and cultures • Travel without leaving home • Create lifelong rela onships and connec ons from around the globe 2


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Welcome ………………………………………………………………………….. 2 Who’s Who? The MLI Team ………………………………………………………… 4 The Role of the Homestay Host The Basics………………………………………………………………… 6 Life at School ………………………………..…………………………………… 9 Travel and Ac vi es……………………………….………………………….. 10 Communica on………………………………………………………………..… 12 Unexpected Issues Conflict Resolu on……………………………………………………… 14 Moves………………………………………………………………………… 15 Payments ………………………………………………………………………..…… 15 Important Rules ……………………………………………………………………. 16 Illness and Emergency……………………………………………………………. 17 Contacts…………………………………………………………………………………. Back cover 3


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We have a strong team at MLI to support our students as well as our homestay hosts. First point of contact for students is their AYP Coordinator. For homestay hosts, it is their Homestay Coordinator (HC). We also have many staff members who speak various languages and can assist with issues that arise. AYP Coordinator AYP stands for “Academic Year Placement” Each student is assigned to an AYP Coordinator who works from one of the MLI offices. The AYP Coordinator communicates with schools with respect to student a>endance and grades and communicates with the agent and with the natural parents on all relevant ma>ers. This is who the students should contact if they are having any issues. They will stay in contact via Skype, telephone, email and social media. An AYP or Homestay Coordinator, will also meet with the student in person twice a semester to check in on their progress and report back to their agent and natural parents. Guardianship Role of MLI Each student is assigned a coordinator who is their legal guardian while they are in Canada. The guardian is the AYP Coordinator or in some cases, the local Homestay Coordinator. The guardian signs all school intake forms, waivers, trip forms, etc. Students can take a photo of the form and forward it to their coordinator for signature, who will then return it to them. Please refer to your confirma on sheet for contact details for your student’s legal guardian. Homestay Coordinator The Homestay Coordinator (HC) is responsible for iden fying and matching homestays to students. They will also call you, the hosts each month to complete a monitoring report. This helps them to understand any par cular needs or concerns about your student; however you do not need to wait for the monthly call to discuss any issues with your HC. Advise your HC of any travel plans or host profile changes as soon as possible. Check with your HC as to the best method of communica on – whether calling, emailing or tex ng is preferable and what the best hours are to reach them. 4


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Toronto Head Office This office supports our group programs and AYP students in Eastern Canada. Payments are processed from this office. If there are any ques ons on payment issues please email and a representa ve will contact you. North Vancouver Office This office supports our group programs and AYP students in Western Canada. Agent The Agency is located in the student’s home country. They are the link to the natural parents. MLI and the Agent communicate frequently from the point of ini al registra on to the departure. The Agent will receive frequent reports on the student progress and will communicate this to the parents. They also manage the flight bookings, and in some cases, the emergency medical insurance. CISS CISS - Canadian Interna onal Student Services is a partner company to MLI. We work together to bring students to Canada and provide group programs and AYP placements to students from La n America and Europe. Home School Some students will choose to study in Canada based on partnerships that MLI has in place with their school. Students will travel to Canada as part of a group. Each school has its own special rules and is part of the decision making process for homestay expecta ons. The students will be visited by their home school teachers during the program. The teachers may wish to come and meet the homestay hosts as well. 24-Hour Emergency Number 1-866-388-6543 If your HC is not available and it is an emergency, please call this line and an MLI manager will be there to assist you. Please use this number only in the case of serious emergency situa ons. 5


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All members of the household must be on board for the hos ng experience, as it will impact the whole family. Your role is to provide a safe and caring environment and to support your student’s efforts to improve their fluency in English or French. Welcome your student as a member of your family and treat them with kindness and respect. There are many ways to support your student: • Be empathe c to the challenges that your student is facing during this immersion into a new culture, new language, new foods, and new environment. Show care and concern for how they are feeling. The more welcome they feel early on will help to reduce the poten al for homesickness. • Treat your “host son/daughter” as you would your own children and make them feel like part of the family. They will need your me, a>en on and love. • Share your interests with your student and invite them to share their interests with you. Everyone can learn to try something new! • Encourage your student to be ac ve with you and in the community by geIng involved in extra-curricular ac vi es so they will have the opportunity to meet new people and gain new experiences. • Talk to your student about how they are doing in school and take an interest in their homework, taking the me to offer guidance when possible. • Miscommunica on and lack of clear communica on can lead to issues. Keep the lines of communica on open and try to resolve issues with an open mind and understanding that your student is trying to express themselves in a second language. In basic terms, homestay hosts provide shelter, food, care and support for students. This should also be an ENGLISH ONLY or FRENCH ONLY environment for the students. 6


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The Basics Arrival Day – students will be met at the airport by an MLI representa ve or host family in regions where this is applicable. In some cases, they will be shu>led to your home. Please ensure that an adult is home to greet them. In other cases there will be a designated pick up point in your community. In this case, hosts should make a welcome sign with their student’s name on it. This will help to set a posi ve and welcoming tone from the outset. Please use the Welcome Day Checklist on the website located under Be a Homestay—Resources Introduce the student to all family members. Provide a key to your home on a keychain or lanyard. The student is meant to safeguard the home as a member of the family and will be held responsible for the cost of having the locks re-keyed if necessary. Complete the Emergency Contact Card with your student, which they must carry with them. For students who have cell phones, ensure that they have saved contact details for your family, and ensure that family members all have contact details for the student saved in their phones. Room and ameni5es – the bedroom should have a window, bed, desk, lamp, closet and dresser. The student should be provided clean linens, clean towels and toilet paper. They are responsible for personal toiletries such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. Security – please show the student a place they can safely store or lock up valuables such as their passport and money. Tour of your home – show the student how things operate in the bathroom and kitchen, where things are located, and be specific if there is anything that they should not use. Garbage – some students will hold onto all the garbage in their room un l you ask them to bring it to the main collec on area. Make it a point from the start to let them know what you prefer in your home. Access to Internet and Phone – internet access should be available to the student, but you can set reasonable limits for internet usage. The student should also be permi>ed to use your phone for local calling and should have a calling card if they are dialing long distance. OMen students will use Skype, Face Time, What’s App, etc. to contact parents on their mobile devices. 7


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The Basics (continued) Cell Phones – DO NOT sign up students on your phone plan or sign any contracts for them. Contracts with mobile providers do require an adult signature, but this should be signed by their guardian or the student can purchase a pay-as-you-go plan. Meals – students require three meals per day and access to nutri ous snacks. You should be ea ng together as a family as oMen as possible. Students SHOULD NOT eat alone on a regular basis. Encourage them to cook with you and be a part of the process. Allergies, preferences and dislikes will be on their profile. Meals will be very different from what they are used to at home. They may not recognize a lot of the vegetables and other foods common to Canadians. Some students are very social and like to be out with friends. Establish a rule early on that they must advise you if they will be home for dinner or want a meal saved for later on. They should be making an effort to eat with the family most nights. Many will not be used to having dinner at 6 pm and might be hungry later around 8 or 9 pm when they are more accustomed to ea ng. Tell them about the kitchen rules to prevent any misunderstandings. If they are hungry aMer dinner or want a snack aMer school, show them what foods they can help themselves to. Teach them how to make breakfast and lunch, which foods they can help themselves to and offer ideas of what they can prepare. Many will have never prepared meals for themselves before. Chores and Household Rules & Schedules – advise them of dinner me, curfews, and explain rules regarding use of bathroom/shower, laundry, houseguests, and removal of shoes. A sample house rules template can be found on the website that can be customized to your rules. You may need to review rules a few mes. Give a copy of the rules for the student to refer to. Curfews - recommended curfews are 10 pm on weeknights and 12:30 am on weekends. There may be special occasions when students ask to extend the weekend curfew, but this should not be a regular occurrence. Give considera on for student’s age, circumstance and type of ac vity when seIng curfews. Ul mately it is what your family is comfortable with. Laundry - it is your choice whether to do laundry for the student or to teach them how to do their own. They should be provided fresh linens and towels weekly. Some students may request to wash items by hand in which case we ask that you show them an appropriate place to hang clothes to dry. 8


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Chores – students can help with light household chores such as set and clear the table, fill and empty the dishwasher, keep their bedroom, bathroom and the kitchen dy. They are NOT required to maintain the yard, do heavy housework or cook family meals on their own. It is NEVER permi>ed for students to babysit host siblings or neighbourhood children under any circumstances. Transporta5on – where applicable, teach your student about your local public transit – where to purchase a monthly pass, how to transit to and from their school and other points of interest. If you can provide rides, set out the parameters and expecta ons, such as reques ng a day or two prior. Remind your student it is not safe to travel alone at night. Where applicable, show your student where the school bus stop is. If they travel by school bus, please discuss their schedule with them as they join extracurricular ac vi es and help out where possible with drives or seIng up a carpool – things you would typically do for your own children. DO NOT sign any school intake forms or field trip/ac5vity forms – this is the responsibility of the guardian at MLI. Absences – if your student is ill, please call the school a>endance line to excuse the absence. If you receive messages about absences, no fy the HC. Homework – take an interest and discuss homework and school projects with your student. In some countries, students are not accustomed to handing in or showing homework to teachers. Please tell your student that in Canada homework oMen counts for marks. Report cards – it is not mandatory for your student to share their report card with you, as the guardian will receive a copy . However, we encourage you to discuss their educa on with them to see if they are having any issues. Extra-curricular ac5vi5es – encourage your student to join clubs or teams at school – this is an excellent way to make new friends (especially with other Canadians). Interna5onal Students – there is a tendency for interna onal students to s ck together. Recommend your student make friends with people of other na onali es so they are forced to work on their English or French. The more people they meet, the richer and more memorable their experiences will be. 9


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DO NOT sign any waivers for field trips, ac5vi5es, or school intake forms. The MLI guardian must sign these. Day trips – if your student is travelling outside their city for the day, please be sure you have the details of where they are going, what they will be doing, who they are travelling with and how they can be contacted. Students must share these plans with their AYP Coordinator in advance. Certain regions have specific rules about where they can/cannot go. These will be covered during the orienta on. Please contact your HC if you are not sure about specific rules. Overnight Travel- Whether a student is travelling with the homestay host overnight or wants to travel without the host, the student must complete a Travel Request Form to request approval from the guardian who will confirm with natural parents and agent. Travel Request Form – student must complete this form available on our website in the sec on tled Be a Homestay. The form must be submi>ed at minimum 2 weeks prior to the trip to receive proper approvals. Students are not allowed to travel without wri>en consent from the guardian and parents. Crossing the border – AMer submiIng the travel request form and the trip is approved, the guardian will provide a le>er of permission which the student must take across the border with their passport and study permit. The student must also carry a copy of their travel insurance. At the border the student may have to pay a fee between US$6-10 US in cash. High-risk ac5vi5es – if you are planning to go skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, kayaking or any other high-risk ac vity, a waiver must be signed by the guardian and agreed to by the natural parents. Students should send the appropriate waiver with ample no ce to their AYP Coordinator. For skiing and snowboarding, all students will first have to a>end a mandatory safety session organized by their AYP Coordinator. Family Excursions - The cost of excursions including gas, ferry rides, etc should be borne by the host if you are going somewhere as a family. Please discuss with your student in advance if an excursion requires expensive admission or travel costs and give them the op on to join if they are okay to cover their own costs, i.e. a theme park cket, ski pass and rentals. If you are facing language issues, contact your HC and they will have someone explain things to your student. Students have joined host vaca ons to the US, Caribbean, etc. if the natural parents agreed to pay the student’s costs. 10


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Gym Memberships – many students will take out memberships at local community centres or gyms. They are responsible for this expense and we ask that you do not sign any contracts on their behalf. Sleepovers – these are generally not recommended, but may be helpful in some circumstances, i.e. if students are coming home late at night it is be>er for them to travel in pairs. Hosts should be asked (not told) about a sleepover. It is up to the discre on of the host but if your student is going to another family’s home it is best to call the family to confirm it is okay. Your student should provide a contact name and number. Conversely, it is your choice whether to permit sleepovers at your own home or not. Sleepovers should not be a frequent occurrence and should NEVER happen on a school night. Temporary Homestay Backup – should you need to travel or be away overnight while you are hos ng, it is your responsibility to provide temporary homestay care for your student. Ideally, a female friend or family member over 25-years old would move into your home for the me you are away. Or you can make arrangements for your student to go to another home (they may have a friend in homestay), no fying the HC and geIng approval for the arrangements. Any financial arrangement is the responsibility of the host. Please advise your Homestay Coordinator of temporary care arrangements in order to address any issues and to know where our students are. MLI will be able to assist in finding backup support for you in case of emergency. Student Travel – if your student goes home for the holidays or leaves the homestay for other trips, it is appreciated if the host can get them to the airport (if you are located in a community that is in reasonable distance to the airport.) If you are unavailable, please contact MLI to make arrangements on behalf of the student. Final Departure – each region will have different departure procedures similar to the arrival procedures. Your HC will no fy you of the arrangements made on behalf of the students. Before they leave, ask your student if they have cleared up things like returning school books, paying and cancelling phone plans, etc. Check the student room together to ensure that they have packed all of their belongings and leM the room dy. 11


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Pre-arrival – you will receive a student profile in advance of your student’s trip to Canada. Please do not contact them un l they reach out to you first. Once they have contacted you, we encourage posi ve communica on perhaps with ps on what to expect, what to bring, etc. This might also be an opportunity for you to “meet the parents” and to assure them that you will provide the care and a>en on their child deserves. Your student may also share their flight informa on prior to arrival. Please wait to hear from an MLI representa ve to confirm arrival date/ me/loca on. Natural parents - you are welcome to dialogue with natural parents during your student’s stay but avoid things such as the natural parents dicta ng more liberal curfews from afar. There is comfort in knowing natural parents are onboard, but they should not be advising you on rules. Communica on with the natural parents should remain neutral. If there are issues to report, please discuss them with your HC. There is too much poten al for hurt feelings and miscommunica on when host parents and natural parents try to manage issues without MLI’s involvement. Tips on how to foster communica5on – the family should make an effort to socialize and make their student comfortable. Include them in family ou ngs and social events, as you would any other member of the family. The general rule of thumb is that if you treat them with kindness and respect, it will come back to you. Open communica on is crucial and students are very skilled at communica ng through text to keep you updated. Open dialogue can work to solve many problems. If you or your student don’t voice concerns, small problems can become larger problems. If you don’t say anything, the other party may not realize there is an issue. Be mindful of asking them how they are feeling and adjus ng. Monthly Repor5ng with Homestay Coordinator - each month families will have a phone call or poten ally a visit from the HC to get an update on how things are going. Keep in mind you do not have to wait un l this call to voice concerns or ask ques ons. The content of these reports will be shared with AYP Coordinators and if there are any concerns or issues we will schedule a follow up with the student and the host family to help resolve any current or poten al issues. The AYP Team also prepares progress reports for the agents and natural parents and the content of the monthly reports is important to help show a well-rounded view of the student experience. Religious Services– you are welcome to invite your student to a>end religious services with you but it is up to them whether they a>end or not. 12


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Cultural Differences – you may be exposed to a broad range of cultures through MLI and each has its own sensi vi es. Customs surrounding cleanliness, including showers and laundry, to personal space, including shaking hands, hugging and table manners may vary greatly. We encourage you to respecTully discuss these and other habits with your student as early as possible. Silence and lack of curiosity may seem rude to us, but in some cultures it is a sign of respect. There are some cultures where “please” and “thank you” are not readily said. In South American countries dinner is oMen eaten much later than we are accustomed to. Japanese students don’t generally eat dairy. Discuss their differences and their needs, and be understanding and pa ent as they learn our Canadian customs. Privacy – while it is important to respect the student’s privacy, it is also recommended you periodically visit the student’s room. Forewarn them that you plan to vacuum and air out the room so they have the opportunity to put away any personal items. If there is something you don’t like, such as finding food or garbage in their room, please have a discussion about your expecta ons. You should not go through backpacks and personal items. You can also show them how to use the vacuum and change the linens. Many students may never have made up a bed before this experience away from home. Social Media – have a conversa on with your student about social media and your family’s policy. There will be lots of photos taken over the course of their stay. Let them know if you do not want images of your family posted on social media or names tagged. Please confirm with your students if they are comfortable with you pos ng photos of them on your social media, as they or their parents may not be comfortable with this either. 13


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Conflict Resolution MLI does its best to facilitate an easy transi on into hos ng. Your students receive an orienta on prior to arriving in your home. They are fully aware of our expecta ons of them as a homestay student. You are not providing a hotel, but a home with a family life. However, issues arise and we are here to help. You might face issues like not obeying curfew, not a>ending school, general disrespect or not ea ng/fussy eater. From the beginning, explain to your student things like curfew, expecta ons as a family member, use of household items, meal mes, etc. Be clear from the outset – house rules must be wri>en down so there is no room for miscommunica on or forgeTulness. Keep a copy on the fridge or give a student their own copy to keep in their room to refer to. Steps to Resolu5on: 1. Discuss concerns respecTully with your student. 2. Contact your Homestay Coordinator who may provide advice or seek further help from AYP Coordinator. 3. The AYP Coordinator will contact the student to discuss the issue and follow up with sugges ons for resolu on. 4. If necessary, the agent and natural parents will be introduced into the conversa on to help support the required behavior from the student. MLI has a structured escala on process that may include the following, depending on the severity of the issue: Verbal Warning from AYP Coordinator Proba on Warning Le>er Termina on of Program and return home The host family will be kept up to date as the issue progresses and with regard to which steps have been taken. 14


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Moves Students may be moved from a homestay for various reasons, for example the student and family are unable to create a comfortable bond, the family is not mee ng the expecta ons listed in the Host Agreement, a household member is abusing alcohol or drugs, the homestay is hos ng too many students or mixed genders of interna onal students or students of the same na onality or first-language. In the First Month – if a student would like to change their homestay, no ce is NOT required. This also extends to the host family if a student is not fiIng into the home. If the student moves out, a refund will be expected for the days remaining in that first month. A@er the First Month – if a student decides to leave the homestay, they are expected to provide two weeks’ no ce. This also applies if the family requests that the student move out. Once no ce is given, payment is granted for the next two weeks and the student can stay un l the comple on of that two week period. The host family is required to pay back the amount owing past the two week no ce period. In cases where element(s) of the agreement are disregarded, the two week no ce period and applicable payment policy will not apply. Please con nue with your obliga ons regarding food and a safe and caring environment un l we move the student. Payments Families willl be paid bi-monthly by direct deposit for the 1st and 16th of the month. Please provide a void cheque or bank deposit information to your homestay coordinator for this purpose. Par al stays are pro-rated (monthly rate divided by 30 days). If a student moves out during the month, the remainder must be reimbursed to be paid to the new family. If the family takes the student to dinner or a social event, the family is responsible for the cost. If there are any ques ons on payment issues please email head office at and a representa ve will contact you. 15



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