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Home Stay FAQ's

  1. Do the international students have adequate medical coverage?
    Definitely. Students are required to purchase medical insurance before they arrive in Canada.  Students purchase complete emergency coverage under the Comprehensive + plan offered by our insurance provider.  Coverage extends from the day they travel to Canada to the day they leave.
  2. Must I provide 3 meals /day?
    Yes, and snacks.  How this is done is up to each individual family.  In most families it is common for individual family members to make their own breakfast, and lunch, and then share in the preparation and eating of an evening meal.  The student is a temporary family member, not a guest, and as such conforms to your family practices.
  3. Who is the legal custodian of each international student?
    The Director of International Educational at Red Deer Public Schools assumes legal custodianship on behalf of the school district of each student prior to their arrival.
    1. How does this impact on my decision making?
    We trust that the homestay parents will make decisions based on the premise of 'being in the student's best interest'.  Homestay parents are encouraged to contact the Homestay Coordinator when seeking advice with decision making.
  4. How does the student get to Red Deer on their arrival to Canada?
    In most cases it is the responsibility of the homestay family to meet the student at the airport on their arrival.  It is also the homestay family's responsibility to return the student to the airport on their final departure.  
  5. Am I responsible for buying the student their winter clothes?
    No.  The international student understands that the homestay family is responsible for providing food and accommodation only.  All other expenses belong to the student.  
  6. Am I responsible for paying for their extra-curricular activities?
    International students are advised to arrange for an allowance of between $200 and $300 per month to cover their personal expenses.
  7. Must I attend parent-teacher conferences on behalf of the student?
    Yes.  Homestay families are encouraged to accept the international student as one of their own.  They are to take an interest in the overall well-being of the student, monitoring their academic, physical, and social habits.
  8. What happens if the student skips school?
    Should this happen, on the first occasion the international student will be treated as any other student in the school.  However, if the problem were to persist the international student risks being sent home.
  9. What must I do if the student is unable to attend school?
    It is the homestay parent's responsibility to contact the school to verify the student's absence.
  10. Are international students over 18 allowed to go to the bar?  Are they allowed to drive?
    No to both questions.  Even though a student may be of legal drinking age a condition of their acceptance to study by Red Deer Public requires that the student conform to school rules that do not permit the consumption of alcohol and liability concerns with regard to driving.

News and Tips


  1. Please remember that everything here is new to them.  The way we do things in our homes, the way our families work, even what number to call for emergencies.  Be patient and help them learn.  They only know what you share with them.
  2. Phone access
    Most students will come with a smart phone.  Some will have an international plan and some will get a Canadian number while they are here.  We provide SIM cards for the students at Orientation if they need them.   Host families should never sign cell phone contracts for their international students.  Please keep in mind, that RDPSD is not liable for any student phone bills. 
  3. Length of time of internet access; particularly during daytime hours.
    Can the student use the household internet account? If you are paying for a maximum number of minutes, how much monthly time allotment can the student have? If the phone and/or Internet are being used during prime hours, what is the maximum time for usage?
  4. Who does laundry; when?
    Is there a laundry schedule? Do you do the student’s laundry or do you wish to student to do his/her own laundry? If the student is to do his/her own laundry, the student may have to be taught how to do laundry (Eg. Separating darks from lights, amount of detergent, etc…). The student will also have to be taught how to use the machines and told if there are any limits as to the times during which laundry can be done.  Where can hand laundry be done and left to dry?
  5. Meal times and family expectations
    What times are the common family meal times? If the student is not going to be present, how much notice is expected? If the student will be absent for a meal, does he/she wish for a meal to be kept for a later time? After the meal, is the student expected to clear his/her own place?
  6. Preparation of breakfast and lunches (if the students are to do this, they may need to be taught)
    Are breakfast and lunches prepared for the student or is the student to prepare his/her own? Many student from other countries have never prepared their own meals so may not know how to prepare a breakfast or a lunch. Students will have to be taught this skill. It is also a good idea to take the student grocery shopping with you during the first week so that if there are any foods the student likes that are normally kept in the house, they can be purchased. Students must also be shown where all the various foods in the house are kept and be given permission to help themselves whenever they are hungry.
  7. Times for earliest and latest phone calls
    Is there a limit on the times during the day of phone calls, particularly incoming ones? What hours do you not want incoming calls? (eg. Night hours- note: North American night hours tend to be earlier than most other cultures.) This is especially important to verify because of the significant time changes between Alberta and many other countries.  Do you want the student to answering incoming calls? Is there a limit on the length of phone calls, particularly during prime calling hours? This is also a factor if you have internet and do not have a dedicated line.
  8. How to set thermostats and at what temperature
    Do you like your thermostats turned down at night and when no one is in the house? Teach the student where and how. Many students from other countries do not have central heating and/or thermostats. Many students also find our houses cold and like to turn the thermostats up quite high. Do you have a maximum temperature at which you like the household thermostat set? Show the student your household furnace and explain how it works. You might also like to explain energy costs.
  9. Bathroom-door open or closed when not in use
    In many other countries, the bathroom door is left closed when not in use. What is the procedure in your house?
  10. TV watching
    What are the rules and times for TV watching in your house? Students need to know this. Are there limits on the volume and the types of shows watched in your house?
  11. Showers- water is not endless; shower water heater and explain how the system works
    Can showers (or baths) be taken at any time or are there times you do not wish showers to be taken? What is the maximum amount of time that a shower should last? What is the family schedule for taking showers? Show the student the hot water heater. Explain how our water system works. Again, you might want to explain energy cost.
  12. How to use microwave
    As students may sometimes be reheating food or late meals, explain how the microwave works. Be sure they understand that metal cannot be put in the microwave.
  13. Cleaning up behind self
    This is a homestay; you are not a maid. What personal cleaning jobs is the student responsible for? (Making and changing bed? Keeping home tidy? Cleaning bathroom behind self? Cleaning up household common areas behind self?) How to load and use the dishwasher? When loads are washed?
  14. Emphasize importance of proper diet and clothing, especially in our weather
    As Albertans, we know how the weather can change quickly and drastically. Many foreign students are not aware of this. They need to be taught that when they go out for the day, they need to be prepared for any change in weather. Layering is the best solution for dressing for Alberta’s weather. It is also important that a proper diet is maintained in order to remain healthy.
  15. Household security system
    If you have a household security system; how does it operate? Teach the student how it works and have the student practice. Have the student practice when an error occurs so they know how to remedy the situation. Remember to inform your security company that you have a student in the house that is authorized to be there. Make sure the student knows what to do in emergencies and/or when they have a problem with the alarm ringing. If you have an emergency household key hidden outside, does the student know where it is?
  16. Household areas
    Which areas are common and/or which areas are off limits to the student?
  17. Storage
    Many foreign students come with extra clothing and luggage. Where can they store these (and/or purchases) so that their rooms do not become cluttered? Where can off seasonal clothing be stored?
  18. Household Idiosyncrasies
    Every household has those things that do not work in a “normal” fashion. Ensure that your student understands these. (Most of them we tend to forget because we deal with them all the time)
  19. Activities
    What are the common family activities? To which ones is the student invited to participate? What provisions will be made for the student if the family is away from the house for more than a day?
  20. Fire extinguisher, smoke alarms
    Show the student where the fire extinguisher is and how it works. Also if you have a smoke alarm that often goes off when cooking, explain this to the student. Do not allow the burning of candles or incense. Also explain how your CO2 alarm works, if you have one.
  21. Help with English
    Most of our international students will require assistance with English. Keep your language simple and direct but do not talk down to the student. Put sticky labels on common items in the house to help the student learn these names. Put common English words on the refrigerator. Keep a language dictionary handy for quick translation to help with the student’s assignments, do not do the work for the student, let the student do the work; help the student by editing the work with the student. Be careful not to change the content, even if you do not agree with it.
  22. Religion
    If you are a religious family, do not impose your religious beliefs on your student. If your student is religious, respect his/her beliefs; locate the appropriate church for the student.
  23. Children
    Your children may initially feel some jealousness toward the student because the student is receiving additional attention. Try to include your children in the orientation activities. Please be sure that your children respect the student's privacy and that the student understands that they must respect your children's privacy as well.
  24. Becoming adjusted
    After the first two or three weeks, the “honeymoon period” wears of and there may be dissatisfaction on both parts. Try to work through this to a common ground and feel free to reach out to your Homestay Coordinator if you need any assistance.

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