Becoming a Homestay Family

When you host a student, you and your loved ones gain knowledge about different cultures, languages and people. Establish friendships around the world with this rewarding cultural experience. Share your family’s traditions while enriching the life of a student.

At a glance

This is an opportunity for lifelong memories. Students will be selected by Polar Trails from carefully screened applicants from Japan, Korea, China, Mexico, Brazil, and all over Africa, Asia, and Europe. Your family benefits from experiencing firsthand the language and traditions of other cultures while opening doors to international opportunities.

  • Remuneration of $650 – $750 per month
  • Vacation rates apply for students away for one month or more
  • Applications accepted from families with or without children
  • Short and long term stays available

What it means to be a homestay family

Consider what it must feel like to travel overseas to an unfamiliar country with a culture and language different from yours, away from family, friends and all that you are used to. It’s exciting yet terrifying at the same time. Or perhaps take everything you have learned, all that seems logical to you and throw it out the door. It’s a whole new ball game with a whole new set of rules. This could describe how one feels when traveling to another country. To have a family in that country that can offer guidance and support is crucial to one’s positive cultural experience.

Besides support and guidance a homestay family is required to provide:

  • three nutritious meals a day.
  • a separate room with bed, desk and chair.
  • directions for how to get to and from school.

The level of English, the age, cultural background and often the personality of your homestay student may determine the level of interaction your family will have with your student. Younger students with limited English may rely more on family support to help them through their stay and therefore more interaction will result. An older, more independent student whose English skills are better may not require as much support and perhaps less interaction may result. Although most homestay students are adults, there is an understanding that while staying in your home they should abide by the rules of the household as a family member would. These rules should be explained at the beginning of their stay in order to avoid any confusion later.

The benefits of becoming more culturally aware, making new friends, learning new languages and practicing your cross-cultural communication skills are all part of being a homestay family. It is an enriching experience that can last a lifetime.

Host Family 1
Host Family 2
Host Family 3

Host family support services


The best homestay experiences don’t just happen. Host family interviews and careful pre-screening ensures both the student and the homestay family enjoy a meaningful experience.


Experienced staff provide orientation and pre-landing information to assist you in arranging your home environment to suit the needs of your assigned international student.

Cross-Cultural Support

By liaising between the student, homestay family and our international agents, we offer critical cultural understanding and counseling to assist the student and the Canadian host family.

24-Hour Emergency Assistance

No matter how carefully a host family plans for a guest within their home, unexpected emergencies can occur. We are available 24-hours a day to assist with alternative planning.

Application Process

If you are interested in becoming a homestay family please follow the steps below.

  1. Contact Polar Trails to set up an interview and home inspection (204-479-9946).
  2. Fill out the application form provided by your Polar Trails representative or apply online.
  3. Submit the following:
    • Your application (if not filled out online).
    • A copy of the applicant(s) valid passport or drivers license.
    • An up-to-date Criminal Record Search Certificate. See the Winnipeg Police Record Check for instructions. There is a $44 fee and it takes approximately 10 business days.
    • An up-to-date Child Abuse Registry check. See the Manitoba Family Services and Housing for instructions. There is a $15 fee and takes up to 6 weeks for results.
    • 1 personal and 1 professional reference with their phone numbers.

Once we have reviewed your application and found you to be a suitable family we will contact you with further details regarding your future homestay student. Polar Trails will do its best to inform you of a student’s arrival at least two weeks in advance.

Letter from a homestay family

Over the past 10 years my family and I hosted students with Polar Trails from Mexico, Korea and China.

It has been a very rewarding experience for my family and friends to be meeting students from other countries and cultures. Learning the culture and seeing what a sacrifices they have made to come to Canada. Leaving their families and friends to come for a better life filled with endless opportunities.

Our family has had the honour of assisting Daniel, to bring his wife and daughter from Korea. Be a part of the birth of their Canadian son (Kyle). Be called his Canadian grandma & grandpa. Seeing them purchase a new home. Finally, be a part of them receiving their permanent residence papers. Daniel and his family will always be a part of our family.

Secondly, our most resent student Leumel. Arrived to Canada going on four years now. He stayed with us with Polar Trails home stay for 3 yrs. Lemuel studied English for one year, then enrolled into the Red River College downtown campus into the Cooking/Baking two year program. Lemuel has graduated from the program and is currently working at the Fort Gary Hotel as assistant cook. Last summer he went back to China, married a former student from his class that he met here. Is looking forward to his home being built near our family home. Most exciting news is they will be having their first baby this fall. What a privilege to be a part of their lives. I get to be a Canadian grandma once again. I am watching my family grow from my own two sons and their wives to now having Daniel and Lemuel’s family join us over the holidays.

I believe in pay forward! My grandparents arrived here in the late 1930’s, from Austria. They were seeking a better life in Canada. I have always been grateful to the Canadian government for giving them that opportunity. So, when I heard from my friend about Polar Trails and their home stay program. I knew this was something my family needed to be a part of. We are ever so grateful to Ken Coffin, for giving us the opportunity to pay it forward. It truly has be a very rewarding and honoring experience.

Larry & Emily Swar