three swse participants sitting on a bench in toronto park

“I love my host family so much! I feel like the pairing process was done very well and that the family I was paired with was very similar to my family back home, so it made adjusting to a new community easier.” – Youth participant from 2019

Hosting Expectations


The program runs as a result of families who are willing to open their homes and share their lives with youth participants. Host families often gain insight into new aspects of Canadian culture and different belief systems, and build lifelong relationships. Due to the reciprocal nature of the program, it is expected that youth who go on the exchange provide a spot for an incoming participant either in their family’s home, or with someone in their community (such as a teacher, family friend or youth group leader).

There is no expectation that families occupy youth during the weekdays, act as a “tour guide” for youth or have pre-existing skills in the second official language. Program activities run one weeknight and both weekend days, with the exception of the first weekend in August, which is set aside as time for youth and host families to spend together. Participants will be working full time during the week. Throughout the program, staff visit each host family at least twice, and are available via email and phone to provide guidance and support.

Who Can Host


Host families come in many different forms, and SWSE celebrates the diverse group of people who participate in the program each summer. Host families are responsible for providing food and lodging for the full six-week exchange period: a bed for participants to sleep in, in either a shared or single bedroom, and a welcoming environment. We require an adult to be home overnight for the duration of the exchange, and anyone over 18 in the home must consent to a police record check. Finally, at least one person living in the home must have at least a basic level of English. In more rural communities, it is also expected that families help with transportation to and from program activities.

Accessibility


The program aims to make hosting a youth accessible for as many families as possible. We encourage families to discuss any questions, concerns or ideas with local staff so they know how to best support you. Program staff make the final decisions on the placement of youth into families with input from the information shared during the interview process on needs and expectations.

Below are a few examples of ways we have supported host families:

  • providing some financial support for food when needed
  • helping a family find an extra bed for an incoming participant
  • translation and communication support for families in the process of developing official language skills
  • organizing carpools for hosts with limited or no access to transportation


Josiah Henson pointing finger

Accessibility


The program aims to make hosting a youth accessible for as many families as possible. We encourage families to discuss any questions, concerns or ideas with local staff so they know how to best support you. Program staff make the final decisions on the placement of youth into families with input from the information shared during the interview process on needs and expectations.

Below are a few examples of ways we have supported host families:

  • providing some financial support for food when needed
  • helping a family find an extra bed for an incoming participant
  • translation and communication support for families in the process of developing official language skills
  • organizing carpools for hosts with limited or no access to transportation


a host family with exchange student

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