Living with a Canadian host family provides international students with a caring and supportive home environment. It gives students a chance to learn about Canadian culture, customs, and lifestyle.

RMISP handles its own homestay program. Host families are carefully selected and must undergo Criminal Record Checks, an interview and a home inspection before being accepted into RMISP. Host families come in all shapes and sizes and are reflective of Canada's diverse population. 

Our host families are an integral part of RMISP. Their active and enthusiastic participation in our program enhances each student's cultural experience and contributes to the maximization of their time in Canada.

We have five Homestay Coordinators who look after an average of 25 students each. They make sure each student is placed with a family who is the best possible match and support students as well as host families with their experience. Homestay Coordinators host weekly student meetings and are an incredible resource and support for students throughout their stay in Canada.

Interested in Hosting a Student?

RMISP is seeking enthusiastic, outgoing families who are interested in welcoming international students into their homes. Hosting a student is a rewarding cultural and personal experience. Some of our host families have been participating in our program for many years!

We have a wide variety of hosting situations available throughout the year. Time periods range from a month to a year or more for students participating in a graduation-track program (three years). Student ages range from 13 - 18 years.

To be eligible, you must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • You have an extra bedroom in your home
  • Everyone 18 and older in your home submits a Criminal Records Check
  • English is the primary language spoken in your home
  • Open mindedness and interest in welcoming a new member of the family into your lives

Contact your local Homestay Coordinator

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity, please contact the Homestay Coordinator in your community. To find your local coordinator, please visit our Staff Directory.


Host Family Application

We accept host family applications on an ongoing basis and we start the placement process 4-5 months before each new student intake (September, February, April), so don't wait to apply. 

Before completing our online application, please prepare the following materials: 

  1. Host Family Letter: Write a letter to your prospective student(s). Tell them about your family and what life is like in your home and in your community. Describe your expectations and goals for your student(s) and explain your reasons for wanting to host an international student. This document needs to be in PDF or JPG and less than 3MB.
  2. A minimum of 3 photos: 1) a photo of the front of your home: 2) a photo of your family; 3) a photo of the student's bedroom. Additional photos are encouraged if they add important information regarding what your family likes to do and where you live. Photos need to be in JPG and less than 3MB.

Before starting your application, please review the documents:

Online Host Family Application Instructions

Host Parent Handbook 2024-25

Host Parent Contract 2024-25

Ready to apply? Click the link below to get started.

Host Family Application

Homestay Reference Form

Homestay Referral Program

Do you know someone who would make a great host parent? We are always looking for new individuals or families to join our homestay community! Complete our referral form to be eligible for a $500 referral reward. 


Host Parent FAQs

Thank you for your interest in the Rocky Mountain International Student Program (RMISP) and potentially becoming one of our host families!

The greatest strength of our Program is the high quality of care our staff and host families provide for our international students. Our host families are known for their warmth, care, compassion, and for including their international student as one of the family.   

Have questions about hosting? Contact your local homestay coordinator or find answers to the FAQs below: 

How old are the international students in our program?

We host students in grades 8 to 12 (ages 13 to 18), but most students are 15 to 17 years old. 

What countries do they come from?

Students mostly come from the following countries: Germany, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Italy, Norway, Japan, and Switzerland. However, we also get students from Sweden, Denmark, Austria, France, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries.

How long are they here for?

Most of our students come for either 1 semester (5 months) or 1 school year (10 months), but some are also here for 3 months or to graduate (2 – 3 years).

When do they arrive?

We have two major student intake times: September and February. The odd student may also arrive mid-year.

Why do students choose the Rocky Mountains?

Students choose our area for many reasons including our beautiful scenery and wildlife, great outdoor recreation opportunities, small schools and communities.

Why host an international student?

There are many reasons for hosting a student including:

  • Learning about other cultures and languages
  • Making lifelong friends from around the world
  • Sharing the beauty of our area and rediscover it through new eyes
  • Filling an empty home with teenage energy
  • Broadening one’s cultural horizons
  • Creating unforgettable memories
  • Making a difference in the life of a young person and in your community

What are the responsibilities of host families?

The basic responsibilities of host families are as follows:

  • pick up and drop off at your local airport
  • orientation to your community
  • private bedroom with a closet, chest of drawers, desk (a shared bathroom is OK)
  • food for three meals per day as well as some snacks
  • local transportation as appropriate
  • a minimum of a couple of activities per month with your student (playing a board game, watching a movie, visiting a local tourist attraction, etc.)
  • provide a warm and caring home environment
  • set appropriate house rules, including curfew times that are suitable for the student’s age
  • report any behavioral problems or other concerns to your homestay coordinator
  • ensure that the student receives timely and appropriate medical attention if needed
  • attend a yearly host parent orientation
  • respect and follow RMISP processes and rules for students and host families

What rules do the students have to follow? 

It is mandatory for students to attend school full-time. Regardless of their age, students are strictly prohibited from purchasing or using alcohol, cannabis products, or illegal drugs. It is also not allowed for them to operate a motor vehicle or any form of motorized transportation, including watercraft, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle. The complete student contract will be shared with you.

How much is the monthly allowance for host families?

Host families are compensated $1,000* per month to cover their expenses such as food, gas, utilities etc. Students pay for their own clothing, toiletries, and extra-curricular activities (such as season pass, gym membership, etc.)

*Compensation is the same in all communities except Fernie

Would I need to cook three meals a day?

Students prepare their own breakfast and many pack their own lunch.  However, it is expected that a nutritional dinner be prepared on most evenings.  It’s perfectly acceptable to use leftovers or to ask your student to reheat a dinner for themself or to cook simple meals on their own from time to time.

How many students can we host at any given time in our home?

Host families can host up to 2 students (each student must have their own bedroom). Students in a double placement will always be the same gender but speak different languages. 

What about food or special diets?

A student’s dietary needs are determined before they arrive in Canada. This is part of the matching process to ensure the family can accommodate a student who is for example vegetarian/vegan/celiac or has specific allergies. Depending on the dietary need and accommodation required, the host family receives additional monthly compensation.

What chores are students expected to help with?

Students are expected to contribute to maintaining the household like any member of the family. This typically includes keeping their bedroom and the bathroom they use clean along with other assigned tasks/household chores. However, students are not expected to perform duties such as babysitting, cooking the majority of meals, landscaping, or general labour, etc. 

What about transportation?

Students need a reliable way to get to/from school each day.  Some students can walk or ride a bike to school or use the city/school bus.  Some host families drive their student to/from school on their way to work.

In addition to that, students may need to be driven to activities or to visit friends.  The amount of driving depends on where you live, whether public transit is available and on how sociable your student is.  Host families who live outside city limits need to be prepared to do more driving than those who live in town.

How long a commitment would we need to make?

In general, we look for a commitment of at least 5 months, regardless of how long the student might be staying in Canada.  However, some students are here for shorter periods than 5 months.

How would a student be selected for us?

During a homestay visit, our homestay coordinator will find out as much as possible about your family dynamics, lifestyle, personalities, likes, dislikes, activities, interests, etc.  In May/November, we carefully review this information alongside the information provided by incoming students (interests, preferences, personality, dietary requirements, allergies, etc.), to make the best possible match. Host families always get a chance to review the student profile (photos, homestay application and letter of introduction) of the student we propose for them. 

What if things don’t work out?

Despite our best efforts to match students with host families, sometimes it simply doesn’t turn out as well as everyone would hope.  If that happens, we have a trouble shooting process in place that starts with getting everyone together for a conversation to understand everyone’s concerns.  These conversations are usually very helpful and successful in finding compromise solutions and mending the relationship. However, if after everyone has done their best for a couple of weeks, but no improvement to the situation is made, we will move the student to a new host family. 

We are empty nesters. Do we need to have our own children at home to qualify as a host family?

Our host families come in all shapes and sizes and can be single adults, single parents with kids, young couples (minimum age is 25), retirees, parents with young or older kids. 

Would our lifestyle have to change?

International students are supposed to fit into your home and lifestyle as they are here to experience a different lifestyle compared to their home country. They should be part of your family activities rather than change them. Having said that, an extra person (or two) in the house will add to some extent to your daily life as they may need you for transportation for their own activities and you’ll have more people to cook for, etc. 

What if we need to go away for an emergency or work?

We provide emergency coverage for those times that you must be away. Families are asked to avoid making travel/holiday plans that interfere with a hosting commitment and to advise RMISP immediately of any need to relocate a student temporarily. Students cannot be left alone overnight or with an unapproved adult/older sibling, regardless of their age.

Can I take my student to the cabin or on a family trip?

This is encouraged! It is necessary for the homestay family to submit a travel form for all overnight student travel with adequate advance notice. Always check with the Program before planning to travel to the United States. Some students’ study permits and visa conditions may prevent them from travelling outside of Canada.


We hope this helps to answer your questions. If not, you are most welcome to contact us for more information. We look forward to the possibility of working with you in the future!