Queen's University


School of English

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Information for Homestay Hosts

The School of English Homestay program is an integral aspect of the language school and homestay hosts are an important asset to us. Many of our students are far from home and wish to live with a family in Kingston in order to learn more about a new culture and way of life. Students who participate in the Homestay program are eager to learn, not only the English language, but also about the people, ideas and values of another culture. It is important that hosts share this interest in learning about another way of life from the student who lives with them. Hosting a student involves a commitment to helping others and to learning through intercultural communication.

Homestay Host Criteria

A homestay placement must be deemed welcoming, safe and friendly by the Homestay Program Coordinator.  A specific criterion that must be met includes:

  • Be located in Kingston, less than 60 minutes from the QU main campus by bus.
  • Be fluent in the English language
  • Be committed to providing a supportive, English-only environment conducive to language learning
  • Commit to spending at least 30 minutes a day in conversation with your student and include them in as many daily family activities as possible
  • Be willing to help students adjust to a new culture
  • Be open to learning about other cultures and exchanging ideas
  • Provide your student with a full furnished room including a desk
  • Provide three nutritious meals a day (breakfast foods, food for a packed lunch,a cooked dinner) and some snacks
  • Provide internet service, local telephone service and laundry facilities
  • Attend host orientation session prior to accepting placements

Consideration for participation in the QSoE Homestay program requires that the above criteria be met. If you fail to meet the above criteria after receiving a student, the student may be removed from your home and you will be obligated to refund the student for the remaining days.

Homestay Host Responsibilities 

Host-student Relationship

Homestay is one of many housing alternatives available to Queen’s School of English students.  Generally, students who choose homestay do so because they want to establish a close relationship with their host, to learn about the Canadian way of life, and to increase their opportunities to practise speaking English.  The homestay host-student relationship is different from a shared-accommodation situation in that homestay students are included as members of the family.  It is expected that hosts will engage the student in conversation every day, and will invite the student to participate in family activities.

Being There

Hosts are expected to be physically present and available to the student from the day the student arrives until the last day of the session.  It is expected that hosts will plan holidays and weekends away between sessions rather than during the session.  If an emergency requires the host to be absent during the session, the host is expected to a) notify the homestay coordinator of the date and duration of their absence, and b) make arrangements for a responsible adult to stay in their home and prepare and eat the evening meal with the student during their absence.


Ample, nutritious food should be available for students to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  Hosts are expected to encourage students to eat as much as they want (within reason) at meals and any other time they are hungry.  Any food that is available for other family members is also available to the student.  Unless other arrangements have been discussed prior to the student’s arrival, it is expected that hosts will be available to eat the evening meal with the student at least 5 times a week, and that food will be available at times when the host cannot be there.


Students should be allowed to use the washing machine/dryer to do a few loads of  laundry at least once a week.  If laundry facilities are not available or if the host prefers that students not use the washing machine/dryer, the host is expected to do the student’s laundry or have it done at least once a week.


All homestay placements must have an internet connection available for basic internet use at no additional charge. It is important to discuss any rules of use, such as limited downloading. Students should be made aware that exceeding this limit incurs additional costs, of which the student will be required to pay.


Students should have the use of a telephone to make local calls at no extra charge.  In other words, students should not be asked to pay for their own telephone installation or monthly service charges.  Several alternatives exist regarding long-distance calls.

Winter Temperature

Indoor daytime temperature should be reasonable (20 to 22 degrees) when the students are home.


Hosts are expected to request feedback from the student about the student’s experience in their home and to compromise in areas of difficulty or explain why things are the way they are.

Notification of Change

Hosts are asked to notify the homestay coordinator if any change occurs in their living situation (e.g. change of address, change in who is living in the home, pets, etc.).

Private Arrangements

Hosts are expected to require any School of English student who wishes to stay with them to discuss their homestay request with the homestay coordinator before making any definite commitment to the student.

For full details please refer to our host reference manual:

Homestay Fee

Students pay a flat fee per Homestay time period, which is 2 days prior to the session start date until 2 days after the session end date.  This fee is paid directly to the QSoE and then issued to the host 2-3 weeks after the trial period end date.

Application Process

If the host application meets the specific criteria laid out above, potential hosts will be contacted to arrange a home visit with the Homestay Coordinator. Successful applicants will be instructed to obtain a Criminal Reference Check and a Vulnerable Sector Check through CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre).

Once CPIC checks are received and we can confirm applicant can offer a safe environment, the Homestay Coordinator will make final approval. As CPIC checks may take some time to obtain, some applicants choose to request these before final approval so that they are ready for a placement as soon as possible. Please note that this does not guarantee final approval.

Please note that approved applicants will be contacted when a suitable arrangement can be made; placements cannot be guaranteed and depend on both demand and student preferences.