What is Homestay?
Homestay is a program that allows student and travelers to experience the Canadian culture and lifestyle by living in the home of a local family. There is no better window into a culture than the everyday sharing that is entailed in homestay.
Check out the differences between homestay placement agencies, web platforms, and study abroad service agencies, below.
Homestay Placement Agencies
Homestay placement agencies are responsible to find the very best family according to the specific preferences and needs of the applicant.
Moreover, Homestay placement companies should inspect every home in person before placing anyone there, to ensure the quality, cleanliness, and hospitality of each and every family.
Criminal background checks are supposed to be done as a matter of course for all families, but above and beyond this, the homestay placement agency is responsible to make sure that every host meets the specific criteria and standards established, for hosting.
As much information is gathered from registrants to help the placement agency find the best possible match of family, including pet allergies, homes with or without children, and in the case of international students, the location of the local school being attended to make commuting as easy and convenient as possible.
Details of the family including address, contact information, and family member particulars are forwarded students once the payment has been received from the registrant.
In order to make arrival as comfortable as possible, the homestay company will be happy to arrange a meet-and-greet reception service at the airport. In some cases, the persons(s) picking up will be the homestay family themselves.
If problems or concerns should arise after arrival, the homestay company is obliged to respond to the issue. If necessary, a move to a new homestay family may have to be arranged, however this falls to the homestay placement company to organize.
While many web platforms exist that list available homestay families for people searching for homestay options, these services are different from homestay placement agencies who inspect and are responsible for the quality of any family they arrange.
On-line family search platforms will assist with payments and bookings, but this is where the similarities between hands on companies and automated platforms stop.
The automated web platforms for homestay searches do no bother with criminal record checks, or quality control in general. In case of problems or dissatisfaction, the student/traveller must resolve their own issue as best they can.
The self-serve web platform can make financial sense for short terms stays of a few days, but as explained here, also entails more inherent risk.
Homestay from Tourism Agencies and Study Abroad Service Agencies
Many travel agencies will offer advice and support for your trip, including the flight ticket sales, travel insurance, enrollment in ESL programs, and booking hotels or homestay.
Study Abroad Service Agencies specialize in this kind of arrangement, and while they may not necessarily handle ticketing arrangements, they will be very well informed regarding the specific programs such as homestay.
This is a very interesting option for those who want to do everything in one place, discuss the details in person and have a professional with experience to help guide and recommend according to the specific requirements of your travel.
When contracting homestay through an agency, the customer can discuss in detail with a designated counselor who will provide answers to whatever questions or concerns that might arise, both before and after the start of program.