On January 9th, 2014 CBC Radio , Canada's national public broadcaster, along with CBC Radio Reporter, Wendy Martin from Information Morning, interviewed Homestay coordinator, Vicky Xu, regarding ICEAP NS's Homestay Program. Svetlana Pospolitak, an ICEAP NS graduate student along with one of our Homestay hosts, Joanne Jenkins also joined us in the interview.
Since our establishment in 2010, ICEAP NS's Homestay Program has serviced approximately 156 Homestay families, with over 516 international students being placed with local Glace Bay and surrounding area families. Our feedback, from both the students and Homestay families, is both positive and encouraging for all involved and future hosts in this geographical area. Host families are rewarded with the cultural experience of having international students interacting and encountering the English language directly and daily under their care and responsibility. This relationship between host families and students is essential in the development of meaningful language acquisition in a structured environment supplementing their language classes at the Morrison Complex of ICEAP NS and CBU Campus.
When Svetlana Pospolitak, first arrived in Canada, she was so apprehensive enrolling with the Homestay Program. Arriving in Cape Breton, her first experience was one of relief, as her Homestay "mother" met her at the airport with all the hospitality and caring Cape Bretoners are known for. Svetlana felt this is the place for her. She loves the whole family, even sharing some of her wonderful experiences with our future Homestay students. As an actual part of a Homestay family, the students not only practice their English, but also become official Cape Bretoners. To witness this first hand, one needs only walk Commercial Street in Glace Bay around lunch. What a wonderful sight to see all these young international students intermingled with our Canadian way of life.
Many students have been living with their Homestay families for more than two years or longer, even after graduating from the ICEAP NS English language programs. Students and Host families build up their relationships as real family members to each other. Some students still communicate with host families, sending emails, phoning and contacting each other back and forth, from their native countries with these now lifelong friends.
Our Homestay families provide the student with three healthy meals a day, a private room with study area and a chance for conversation and interaction with the dynamics of the Canadian family and way of life. We tailor our placements to our families' needs and student preferences. Success comes from open communication of needs and responsibilities for all the stakeholders in this highly successful program. The beauty of this program is that it is evolving with each new Host family and international student relationships. ICEAP NS is dedicated to the commitment of supporting, enhancing, and developing this "family" arrangement. With the staff of the Homestay Program, Host Families and more students like Svetlana Pospolitak, we have the confidence, planning and expertise to make this program even more successful for all involved.