Christine Balatti

Christine Balatti

Homestay families needed

NANAIMO – Muskoka Language International Homestay is hoping Nanaimo families open their doors to Japanese students for two weeks.

Muskoka Language International Homestay is hoping Nanaimo families open their doors to Japanese students for two weeks.

Forty high school students from Ichikawa, Japan, aged 12 to 15 years, are in Nanaimo between Aug. 3-17 and according to Christine Balatti, homestay coordinator for MLI Homestay, at least 18 families will be needed to provide room and board.

Families will compensated with $448 and are expected to provide a private bedroom, meals, including a bagged lunch, and transportation to and from Dover Bay Secondary School, where students will attend class and activities during the day. Carpools are available.

The experience will be beneficial to both, says Balatti. It is a great cross-cultural exchange. Students get to experience Canadian culture and hone their conversational English skills and families get to form bonds with the students, she says.

Rick Longster, who with wife Janine has hosted students for two years, says it has been an enriching experience.

“We’ve enjoyed it because it gets us out of the element as well,” said Longster. “The last guy we had loved to fish and I love fishing, but I need a little bit of impetus to get me going … with that guy, we were out every weekend, or in the morning, fishing, he was crazy about it and it was so fun.”

Balatti says it’s nice for the students to have a two-week break while learning to use English and experiencing a Canadian domestic setting.

“The host families, what we really want is for them to invite these students into their homes,” said Balatti. “The Japanese lifestyle for these students is basically, study, study, study, before school classes, school all day, after-school classes, cram, school, home to study and bed.”

For more information, please contact Balatti at cbalatti@mliesl.com or 250-619-6605.