1. Do you offer quality homestay families at ECSL?
Yes. We carefully interview each family and we clearly explain what is expected of them, and what they can expect from our students. They are then required to sign a contract and provide police checks for all members of the family who are 19 years of age or older. We personally inspect each home to view all the rooms that the student will have access to.
2. Will you find accommodation for me if I haven't paid any fees?
3. Will you send me accommodation details if I haven't confirmed that I am coming?
4. Why haven't I received my homestay information?
Because you have not completed one of the following tasks:
- Paid the accommodation placement fee
- Paid the first month (28 days) homestay fee
- Signed and returned the homestay contract
- Provided ECSL with your flight arrival information
- In the case of minors under 19 years of age:
- Provided ECSL with custodianship / guardianship information / required documents
- Signed the participation term document
5. How long does it take to find a homestay family?
It takes about 4 weeks to place a student with one of our homestay families, especially if there are any special requirements, such as no pets or no children. The more specific requests take longer to find a family.
6. I want to come a week or two earlier than my class starts. Can I do this?
No. Our homestay families usually work and the student will spend too much time on their own in the house which is not a good way to begin their Canadian experience.
7. When is the best time to arrive in Halifax if my class starts on a Monday?
You should book your flight to arrive in Halifax the weekend before your program start date.
8. Can I live in a house with no pets?
Yes, it’s possible. However, most Canadian families have pets because pet ownership is a big part of our culture. We do our best to meet your requests, but we cannot guarantee that we will have a family available with no pets. The more time you give us to find you a family, the better.
9. What is considered a family in Canada?
Statistics Canada define a Canadian family as:
- A married or common-law couple, with or without children
- A couple may be of the opposite or same gender
- A couple can also be of different ethnic backgrounds
- Children may be by birth, marriage or adoption
- A single parent of one or more children
- A single male or single female
10. What food is provided in homestay?
Students are provided with three traditional Canadian meals a day; this varies with each family. Students may be expected to prepare their own breakfast and lunch and understand that host families do not provide ethnic or faith-related foods. This is because we aim to provide the most authentic Canadian experience.
11. Will I get all the preferences I chose on the application form?
We will try our best to match you with the most appropriate family. Please remember that we may not be able to meet all your preferences if you request homestay and pay the fees less than 4 weeks before your arrival. If you inform us that you will be coming to ECSL at short notice, we may not be able to accommodate more specific requests.
12. Will my family live very close to ECSL?
All of our families live in safe residential neighbourhoods within about a 45 minute bus ride to ECSL.
13. When do I have to pay my homestay fees?
The homestay fees must be paid to the school every 28 days at the beginning of the payment period. When a student arrives at ECSL, we give them a homestay payment plan calendar and explain the payment dates.
14. I want to move out from my homestay family. How much notice do I have to give?
Students must notify their homestay family and ECSL of the exact moving date at least 4 weeks before they wish to leave. Students must complete the Homestay Leaving Notification Form, ask the homestay family to sign, and provide to the Accommodations Administrator. Fees for the 4 weeks must be paid even if students leave before the 4 weeks have ended. If no notice is given, students will have to pay the full fees.
15. I am under 19 years of age and want to live in an apartment. Can I do this?
Minor students (under 19 years of age) must participate in the Homestay Program while attending ECSL full time unless they have a custodian who is a Canadian citizen and prove this with the required documentation. If the student begins in our homestay program and wishes to move out, he/she must still give the 4-week notice to their homestay family and ECSL. The 4-week notice will be in effect once all signed documents have been given to the Accommodations Administrator.
16. Can I move to an apartment when I turn 19?
Yes, but you still must give the 4-weeks’ notice to the homestay family and Accommodations Administrator.
17. Who should I talk to if I have a problem with my homestay family?
Like any family situation, you should talk to the family first to try and find a solution. If you don't feel comfortable speaking with the family or if the problem continues, you should discuss it with the Accommodations Administrator. In many cases, it is a miscommunication due to cultural differences and is easily fixed.
18. Can I change my homestay if I don't like my family in the first week? If I can, do I have to pay another placement fee?
ECSL has the right to decide if the request to move is warranted. In unwarranted cases, students will have to re-apply to the homestay program and pay a new placement fee. Some examples of unwarranted cases are the distance from school and the food offered.
19. I left my homestay family and moved to an apartment. Can I return to the homestay program at ECSL? What fees do I have to pay?
Yes, you can! You simply meet with our Accommodations Administrator and pay the accommodation placement fee.
20. Is Dartmouth part of Halifax?
Dartmouth and Halifax are part of the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). Many of the homes in Dartmouth are actually closer to ECSL than some homes in Halifax. Dartmouth is across the harbour from Halifax.
21. Do I have to leave my homestay if I finish studying at ECSL?
Not always. We look at this scenario on a case-by-case basis and homestay availability.
22. Do I have to pay all my homestay fees if I take vacation?
If students are planning a vacation, they must give written notice to their homestay family and ECSL at least 4 weeks before they leave for their vacation. They can pay the ‘Homestay Holding Fee’ if they are on vacation for 6 days or more consecutively. The ‘Homestay Holding Fee’ is for a maximum of 2 weeks. Students who ask to move will be charged another accommodation placement fee and a new family will be found.