Homestay is a program allowing students to live with Canadian families during their stay at TRU, and by doing so, be exposed to and participate in Canadian culture and customs.
The experience is not only a transformative one for the students as they navigate the language and customs, but for the hosts as well. The two develop a bond and friendship that often extends beyond the Homestay term.
The Newsroom asked Anita Hovde to reflect on her experience as a Homestay host, and what follows is a short question and answer with the Kamloops resident.
TRU—How was Homestay like an international vacation without having to leave the country?
AH—We enjoyed the discussion around the dinner table each night regarding differences in each country and learned a lot about Japan.
As day to day occurrences came up we were able to compare what it was like in Japan.
Through our student we met students from other countries and had an international night where each one of them cooked something from their country. We travelled to four countries that night, learning how common—or not—each dish was from each country.
It was great to be able to ask questions and learn the perspective from a citizen of each country.
TRU—How has Homestay enriched your life?
AH—We have family in town but with just myself and my husband at home, it was fulfilling to have another person to care for.
As an alumni of Cariboo College (now TRU), I am very proud of what TRU has become and the culture and diversity it brings to Kamloops. In hosting international students, I feel like we can be a part of it.
I was quite impressed with the way the students were cared for by TRU and their needs are met.
TRU— I imagine Homestay got you out exploring more of Kamloops and the region. Can you share two discoveries and some details around those experiences?
AH—Other than the Wildlife Park, we didn’t go many places locally other than to include our student in our usual activities.
We did however take her to the north part of Vancouver Island with us to visit family. It was nice to see our beautiful province through fresh eyes.
Before we had the student we assumed that we would be showing her around more i.e.) skiing, ice fishing skating and Wells Gray park, however, TRU planned activities for the students and our student became very involved in university life and enjoyed these many outings with her new friends.
It is through her involvement that I learned the great many ways the international program takes care of the students.
We involved her in all family gatherings here in town as well.
TRU—Do you continue to keep in touch with your student, and if so, why is that special to you?
AH—Yes, we became close to our student and will keep in touch, there were tears upon saying goodbye and it means a lot to us that she enjoyed her stay here.
I was overjoyed when I received a Mother’s Day hello.
TRU—Reflecting on your Homestay experience, what did you expect going in and what did you come away with at the end?
AH—We didn’t really know what to expect except we thought that we would be spending more time taking care of our student and showing them around. We didn’t expect them to get involved in university life so much.
We were thrilled when she took the bull by the horns and made the most of her time here, making friends and travelling with them.