• evahamori
  • info@livenglishcanada.com
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One year abroad in Nanaimo Canada

One year abroad in Nanaimo Canada

A language gap year program, like the ones offered on Vancouver Island Canada, will not only get you to the level of English that you would like, but also create memories in your other language with your homestay family in a beautiful park-like setting that are truly priceless.

A homestay family interview

What do you like best about hosting international students?

I love giving my own children the opportunity to meet people who live in different parts of the world, who speak different languages, and have other traditions, cultures, religions and customs for us and them to learn from. Over the last 12 years that we have been hosting students inside our home, I have learned that people are far more similar than they are different. We all love our children and we all want to give them opportunities to learn and grow from that perhpas we did not have growing up. I could only image what paths my own life would have taken if I had a year abroad as an adolescent.

My own children, having lived in three countries and exposed to so many international students, aren open to knowledge and left with a desire to understand the world around them. They have an acceptance of others that comes from travel and experiences. They have a deep love for the world we live in and the people in it. They know their small part in the grand scheme of things and have a very unique viewpoint from having four languages under their belts, and the ability to speak with people from all walks of life, and all different ages no matter where we find ourselves travelling, working or living. They are worldly, honest, and intelligent beings that know who they are at the very core of their being. This wisdom usually comes much later in life, but by being introduced early on to people different than themselves, they have become wonderfully well rounded individuals. Having them as my children, well that’s just a bonus, because they are uniquely individual and are interesting to know and talk to.

How do you treat the students?

We treat them like apart of the family. I ask what kinds of foods they would like to eat during their time with us, what types of activities they want to enjoy during their stay and if they have any special requirements they want us to help them with. Our family helps our students with their homework if need be. Overall, they become a member of our immediate family. They join in the fun when we go out for long walks, go paddle boarding, or go for a picnic. They come to the movies, drive along the coast and sometimes even venture to Vancouver for the day with us.

Do they have chores?

There are some chores. We ask everyone to clean up after themselves if they use the kitchen, to keep their rooms and personal space tidy and to have their laundry up stairs next to the washing machine on Friday afternoons. Sometimes the students want to participate in meal preparations, or setting and clearing the table. Generally, we work together to get meals ready, setting and unsetting the table and it can be a lot of fun especially on pizza night. Sometimes they come with us shopping for groceries, help pick out foods for a meal they want us to prepare and they also help bring the food from the car up the stairs to the kitchen. Most students help put the food away too, that way they know where everything is if they get hungry and we are not right there to fix them a sandwich. We like having their help, but it is not obligatory. Most students love baking with my children. I am not a very good baker, but my daughter Angelina sure is. They get up to all sorts of concoctions on the weekends.

Who was your best student ever?

Although I have enjoyed all our students over the years for different reasons, I would have to pick Dora! She came to our home many times over the years starting in Grade 9 and she is now in university. She is the same age as our son Daniel. She really became a part of our family; both of my children absolutely connected with her. This is the exact reason we become homestay parents. Every once in a while you meet someone who makes quite an impression on the family. We not only changed her life by helping her to learn English at an advanced level, but she also changed ours. We know we will know her for a very long time to come, as well as her lovely family. These are life long connections. I feel very lucky to know them.

How do they progress in English over the course of a year?

Rapidly! They have no choice but to communicate. Sometimes they struggle a little at first, but after the first week you can really start to see the progress. Children between 14-19 are still malleable, they pick-up information rather quickly. Exchange programs are based on the idea of immersion. Like a sponge in a bathtub completely immersed in water, it becomes saturated. It is the same for a student in an English environment. You are completely surrounded by English at every turn, if it be: a series on NetFlix, their social media feeds, at the local grocery store, on the radio playing in the car of shopping centre, listening to students at school, reading ads at bus stops, inside the mall culture, with their friends and lastly but most importantly, inside their homestay family. The students have no choice but to be influenced by all the elements around them. Through music, class studies, different foods, culture, traditions, and even politics… are all absorbed and become part of who they are moving forward. It definitely works!

Any last words?

Being a homestay family is a very rewarding experience. Taking a gap year, when at all possible, should not to be missed. It has enriched our lives, and the students we have hosted; opening us all up to opportunity. We literally have connections straight across the world, as many of our students have gone on to do incredible things. Keeping track of where they are now has been an added bonus. We often get messages from them on our phones with little updates and sometimes we go visit them in their home countries too. It has been quite an amazing experience for our whole family.

If you know a student wishing to do a one-year language exchange, please contact our team at info@livenglishcanada.com and we can get you connected.