News for Homestay Staff Across North America / September 2020
Results of our homestay staff survey /
Effective communications webinar

I have always regarded September as the real new year - after a summer break, people return to work or school re-energized. Of course, 2020 is not a normal year. Nevertheless, it seems like we are entering a new period, one that will see most K-12 schools reopen while post-secondary institutions deliver their courses online. 

This September, homestay staff are facing unusual challenges. Normally, the worry is finding enough qualified hosts to accommodate a flood of incoming students. As we report below on our survey of homestay programs, now the challenge is that many of those homes will be vacant. 

Thanks to everyone who responded to the survey. The winner of the draw for a $25 gift card was Brenda Langlois of the Cowichan Valley School District in British Columbia. 

We will be presenting a series of webinars this fall to support homestay staff and international education program managers. The first, Effective Communication to Grow your International Education Program, will be presented on Tuesday, Sept. 29. See below for details. 

Please forward this newsletter to anyone in your organization who might be interested in learning how to grow your program. Thanks for your help!

As always, please get in touch if you have any questions.

Stay safe!

(613) 888-9560     

Upcoming Webinar 
Effective Communication to Grow
Your International Education Program

Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 1 pm Eastern (10 am Pacific)

As international education programs begin to reopen, it's essential that you communicate clearly and concisely your plans to keep everyone safe. Reassuring your key stakeholders will be the key to attracting more students and rebuilding your revenues.

In this one-hour webinar, communications expert Doug Ronson will explain how to develop a communications plan and implement it to meet your objectives. He will discuss how to best address all of the key stakeholders, including:
  • Students
  • Parents
  • Agents
  • Host families
  • Employees

Be sure to attend to learn how to create powerful web content, newsletters and social media posts. Grow your student numbers through effective communication!

Cost: $49 plus tax per person

About the Presenter

Doug Ronson is a former news reporter and editor who for the last 20 years has been a leader in international education and communications. He advises on strategy and writes web content, press releases, newsletters and other messaging for a wide range of organizations. He has presented on effective communication at conferences, including Languages Canada and the Canadian Association of Public Schools - International (CAPS-I). 

Homestay staff ready for reopening
but fewer students are expected

Most homestay staff feel they are prepared for the reopening phase of the pandemic - although they are not expecting a lot of students this fall. About 30 homestay staff from universities, colleges, school districts and agencies took part in our recent survey, responding to a range of questions about readiness and expected student numbers.

Asked whether they were set for the ongoing challenges of COVID, 57 percent of respondents said they were. While only a handful said no, 29 percent said they were "not sure." This may reflect the uncertainties that are associated with the pandemic - it's hard to prepare for the unknown.

One secondary school homestay coordinator said it helped to have a few international students remain in Canada over the summer. "This gave us many opportunities to plan for the next semester," said Brenda Langlois of the Cowichan Valley School District in British Columbia.

"We have every detail outlined in our safe arrival guide, as well as the quarantine package for the students," said one language school director. 

Almost 60 percent of respondents are confident that they can ensure the safety of students, host families and program staff. "We analyzed all possible risks and for sure are prepared," commented Damaris Gugliotti of ILAC.

The survey indicated that a number of hosts are reluctant to provide quarantine to incoming international students. Only 25 percent of respondents said that hosts were generally willing to do quarantine. Almost half said "a few" hosts were willing to do so. A quarter stated that they are planning to use hotels for quarantine instead of asking hosts.

All programs reported that they expect a huge drop in the number of students coming to Canada and utilizing homestays. Many are shifting to online classes - meaning that individuals can study from their home country rather than come here. Other homestay staff indicated that students are reluctant to travel or may be unable to travel to Canada due to restrictions or difficulty getting a study permit.

The majority of programs are expecting a drop in enrolment of 50 percent or more this September compared to last year. As a result, they expect that most of their homestay spaces will be vacant this fall.