School starts at around 8:30 am and finishes at 15:30 pm. Every lesson lasts between 60 and 85 minutes and there are 4 to 5 lessons per day. Lunch happens at different times, depending on the school, between 11:30 am and 1 pm. So-called clubs, extramural activities, are offered either during lunch time or, more frequently, after school. Clubs are as diverse as dance courses or chess. Of course school is compulsory and students have to attend. Should you not be able to go to school, you need an excuse by your host parents. For lunch you can either buy something at the cafeteria or, more common, you can take a sandwich along from home. You can prepare that at home before you leave for school in the morning. Teachers are addressed as Ms., Mrs. or Mr. followed by their last names. You will notice that outside school first names are common for adults as well.
Homework not only needs to be completed, but it also needs to be handed in. Should you be unable to complete your homework, let your teacher know as soon as possible. Homework is usually assessed and influences you marks even in grades 11 and 12. You therefore have to ask your teacher when you can hand in homework that you did not manage to do. As a rule, oral participation counts and teachers expect their students to ask, if they do not understand or have questions. They are usually available for students before and after school and are happy to explain and answer any questions about homework or other school related topics.
Host students live with a host family that has been accepted both by themselves as well as their parents. A host familie can be made up of the typical constellation of parents, two kids and a dog. More often though, host families are less typical like for instance a single mother with one child of parents, whose children have already left home. Host parents go through a detailed application process of screening before they are accepted as a host families. The information on the student application helps to find the suitable host family for each student. The monthly fees to the host family to provide for the students are paid by the parents of the students.
Host students eat together with the families. That means they share breakfast, lunch and dinner. Depending on the situation (work, sports programs of siblings etc) those meals are an opportunity to spend time together as a family. Host students get a balanced diet that includes vegetables meat and fruit Their preferences are considered when going grocery shopping. Should you be a vegetarian, have allergies or need other restricting measures in you diet, your host parents will have been informed of this by you student application. \Your host family therefore already knows of such circumstances before you arrive.
Host students have to be covered by health insurance throughout their stay in Canada. In some clinics is it sufficient to bring the care card along in order to pay for the consultation and treatment directly through the health insurance. In other clinics the student first has to pay and then gets reimbursed after the consultation. For this purpose, the original invoice needs to be sent to the health insurance. It is therefore important to always keep those insurances.
School buses, public buses, the skytrain in Vancouver and taxis are part of the means of transport that students can use. You are not allowed to drive a car yourself during your homestay iexperience n Canada. Host parents are also able to drive students occasionally in order to pick them up or bring them somewhere. But as a rule you should familiarise yourself as soon as possible with the public transport system so that you can move independently.
Money and Bank details
It is common to pay by bank cards even in restaurans and movie theaters. Students in general should and need not have a lot of cash on them.
German plugs do not fit into Canadian sockets. For those appliances, that host students want to take along from home, they need to make sure they also take along an adapter. In Canada the electrical supply is 110/120 V and 60 Hz.
Apart from leisure activities with the host family and the activities offered at schools there are community centers in every district. They offer an extensive choice in sports activities, for example gym, swimming, skating or tennis. Kayaking, snowboarding, hiking are also possible. There are, on top of the school libraries, public libraries in every district. They are free of charge. Should you be interested in music lessons, soccer or swimming clubs, dance courses or any other leisure activities we can inform you of the possibilities in each district.
Although Canada is generally a safe country and the school districts we work with have a good reputation, it is always advisable to be aware of some safety considerations:
- be aware of your surroundings and the people around, so that you can cistance yourself from situations that feel unsafe.
- nnot cross the street or ride a bike in traffic with earphones on because you cannot hear cars approaching and therefore run a higher risk of having an accident.
- change your direction if you feel someone is following you.
- leave your passport at home and only take a copy along.
- not carry unnecessary change with you.
- only be in well lit and busy areas after dark (not in parks)
- always go out in the company of friends after dark.
- not go out on your own.
- not catch a ride with strangers.
- call 911 in an emergency.
As a rule, you should follow your own instincts. If you feel unsafe even if there is no rational reason for feeling this way, you should be particularly careful.
If you have any questions, please contact us: