Dozens of Japanese students are set to arrive in Nanaimo this summer, but many of them still need a host family.
MLI Homestay, a Toronto-based company, will be bringing around 70 high school-aged Japanese students to Nanaimo starting at the end of the month. The students will spend anywhere from one week to two weeks in the Harbour City, where they will have the opportunity to improve their English and learn about Canadian life.
Katerina Hoffmann, supervisor for MLI Homestay, said while the students are excited to come to Canada, her company still needs about 20 more host families. She said prospective host families must be able to speak a high level of English, provide a private bedroom for their student, three meals a day and should be open-minded.
“We look for families who of course want to share Canadian culture with their students,” she said.
The first wave of Japanese students, a group of girls from a Christian school, will be in Nanaimo from July 31 until Aug. 15, while the second wave of students will arrive on Aug. 1 and fly home on Aug. 15.
“They are coming from Japan where the demographic and structure of the town is completely different. They’re really excited just about going to the ocean, staying on the beach, going to the park, seeing a little bit of the neighbourhood,” Hoffmann said. “They are here to make friends. They are here to make friends for life.”
Host families are paid between $33-$35 per day per student and approved families will receive information about their student as well as a list of potential activities. Hoffmann said many host families end up staying in touch with their students long after they’ve returned home.
“We actually have host families who have travelled later to Japan to visit their students,” she said.
For more information or to inquire about becoming a host family, visit www.mlihomestay.com.