Hansa offers homestay service to assist our international students in finding suitable accommodation during their stay in Toronto. This is the best way to help them assimilate into Canadian life. Our ESL Students are generally between 18 and 25 years of age, and usually, study at Hansa for terms of four weeks up to a year. We receive about a third of our students from Asia, a third from Latin America, and a third from Europe, the Middle East, or elsewhere.
We have two campuses, both located in the Yonge and Eglinton area. Beginner and intermediate students study at our Eglinton campus. Advanced and night school students study at our Yonge Street campus. In addition to teaching languages, we organize extra-curricular activities, sightseeing trips, and advise students on numerous other matters of interest to them.
Normally, students apply for homestay from abroad when they register for classes at Hansa. Generally, these students ask to stay with a Canadian family in order to improve their English and experience the Canadian way of life first-hand. For many, it is their first trip abroad and they seek a nurturing and supportive home away from home. Students often refer to members of their homestay as their “host mother”, “host father” or “host family”.
Requirements for Homestay Hosts
Being a homestay host demands more than simply providing room and board in your home. It requires patience, understanding, and a commitment to ensuring the students feel comfortable, especially during their first few weeks in Canada.
In offering homestay, hosts are expected to:
Be fluent in English
Be within a 45-minute commute by public transit (including nights and weekends)
Prepare breakfast and dinner daily, and eat dinner together with the students so that they may practice their English
Provide an internet connection for students' use
Furnish the room with a bed, desk, dresser or closet for belongings, and adequate lighting
Provide each student with a private room that nobody else has access to without their permission. This room cannot be located in the basement (with some possible exceptions)
Do their student’s laundry or make laundry facilities available to their student
The Ideal Homestay Host
Our best homestay hosts integrate students into the household as much as possible. This includes taking students shopping with them, showing them around the city, and keeping them company while at home. Students feel most comfortable with hosts who enjoy their company, spend time with them, and are friendly and helpful. Students also comment on the amount and quality of food, general cleanliness, accessibility to school, and the rules they are expected to abide by.
When students are happy with their homestay it is usually a far more enjoyable experience for the hosts, and students often decide to stay longer, return the following year, or refer a friend. The Homestay office uses the comments provided by students in considering future homestay placements.
Students, their Host Family, and the Homestay office
As our international students are new to Toronto, often having a limited knowledge of English and very different cultural norms, we ask that homestay hosts try to recognize how difficult it can be for them to adjust to their new environment. Students should feel they can rely on their homestay to find out where to go on their first day of classes and to assist them with their daily routine. We ask that homestay hosts make their expectations of the student very clear and contact the Homestay office with any questions or concerns.
Please note that as a rule, the volume of student placements increases in the summer months (June-August) and the Homestay office contacts host families directly and at our discretion to arrange the placement of incoming students for the standard four-week time period.
As a guest in your home, students are expected to abide by the rules of the household. Homestay hosts may want to consider talking to students about any of the following:
Smoking: if it is allowed and where
Telephone: when and for how long students are able to make and receive calls. How to make long distance calls and whether a phone card should be bought in order to do so. (Available for purchase at the school)
Food: if there is a regular schedule and if the student’s presence is mandatory. What a student should do if they are unable to attend dinner
Showers: where, when, how long, and how often students can shower
Visitors: appropriate visiting hours and if overnight guests are allowed
Rooms/facilities: any spaces or appliances in the house that are off-limits
TV/Computer: any limitations as to the frequency or the appropriate hours for use
Notice of departure: if staying longer than 4 weeks, how much notice you expect from students as to when they plan to leave their homestay