Upon welcoming you to our team of host families, we will be providing you with our Host Guide, to outline the hosting relationship. We host several workshops and orientation sessions per year to inform, engage, and get feedback from our hosts.

Once a match is made, our local relationship managers are there to guide you through the hosting process. From the time you receive the first call about a student, to the pre-arrival orientation session, through to the tearful good-bye, our relationship managers will be available to provide answers, advice, and support.

We also offer an emergency support system, to respond to calls 24 hours per day, seven days per week. You will always be able to get a person on the phone to help.
Five Star maintains a database of diverse host families. They tell us their interests, lifestyles, hobbies, preferred hosting relationships, and even dietary restrictions. When students and visitors apply to our programs, they complete similar profiles. With this information, we are able to match the student to a host family for a mutually enjoyable relationship. In addition:

  • Five Star relationship managers are available to meet with students in person, to discuss their questions or concerns and if necessary, introduce them to one of our cultural and linguistic counselors.
  • Five Star invites each student to evaluate their homestay experience and reviews their evaluations with each host. Our successful experience in arranging suitable matches benefits students and hosts:
  • We provide students with confidence before their departure and after their arrival. Before their departure, we provide them with a written description of their hosts and their accommodation. After their arrival, we meet with them in person, to help them further adjust to Canadian culture and provide them such support as is necessary to make their homestay experience successful.
  • With agencies in thirty-five countries and long standing relationships with leading independent schools and School Boards, we provide our hosts with access to a wide variety of students. At the same time, our experience over the years helps us to give our hosts the perspective, resources and support required to make their homestay experience successful. As part of this support, we schedule periodic workshops with hosts, to update homestay program requirements and improve our collective capabilities.
  • Although we have placed almost five thousand students over the years with thousands of hosts, if a student or host considers our match inappropriate, we are quite prepared to arrange a different homestay, immediately.
  • Equally, we are available to help you clarify any misunderstandings, if and when they arise: as we tell our students, please do not fail to speak to us!
  • There is no need to suffer in silence; it’s not good for you, or your student, or us. If you are worried, we are worried! In some cultures it is impolite to talk about personal feelings or frustrations, for fear of loosing face; not so in Canada, or with us!
  • Please tell us how you feel, good or bad! You can be candid and considerate at the same time! You don’t need to break eggs with a hammer, but it’s just as bad to say nothing.
  • Hosts rarely cancel a reservation and if they do, only for exceptional circumstances, like a sudden illness. As you can imagine, it is unsettling for a student to have changes in their homestay even before they arrive!
  • In fact, we may be unable to reach them, before they arrive; so, we may need your help for a day or so, until we can find another host.
Five Star is a not-for-profit organization, with second-generation family leadership. Like educators, agencies and hosts, Five Star is motivated by the common good—how homestay benefits students, host families and the communities that students study in. Fees and host allowances cover the common-sense costs in order to help ensure a successful experience for everyone.
Because we are so careful to make the best matches possible, it is impossible to predict when you will be matched with a student. After all, there is no way to know when a student who matches your profile will apply. However, there are certain peak times of year when we receive the greatest number of applications.
  • September and January are important intake months for long-term (typically 5-10 months) high school students
  • July and August are popular months for short-term group tours of 2 – 8 weeks.
  • Good hosts are as varied as the human race. They are couples, with children, young and old; empty nesters; single moms and dads. Their homes are downtown apartments or suburban bungalows; their professions are school teachers, doctors, shop owners; artists, musicians and choristers!
  • The common denominator among all these differences is the gift of hospitality, and a natural curiosity and interest in other peoples and points of view. Being a great host requires a sensitive and patient family. It can be overwhelming for a student to be so far away from home. A thoughtful host family appreciates that each student is unique, and that communication and mutual understanding take effort.
  • Our hosts are interested in sharing their lifestyle in a positive and mutually rewarding way. We do not accept hosts who are interested in money alone. These motives are obvious to students, and interfere with the intended homestay experience: a safe, secure, welcoming environment to learn and grow in.
When you choose homestay with Five Star, you become part of the family you live with and part of the community you live in. Hosts are committed to including their students in meaningful family time including meals, conversations and excursions.