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This summer I was delighted to accept a new part-time position at Pearson College UWC as the incoming Host Family and Volunteer Programs Coordinator!

Connecting more local families, other volunteers and regional partners with our remarkable students from up to 160 countries is my mandate, my passion and may commitment to this important part of our overall approach to global education at Pearson.

Most of you know that Host Families are volunteers who welcome our students into their homes during scheduled breaks and for short respites during the school year. For nearly as long as Pearson has been around, Metchosin residents and families from around the Greater Victoria region have welcomed Pearson students from across Canada and around the world.

But last year, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically limited these opportunities for students to experience life with a West Coast Canadian family. Here in British Columbia, despite relatively high vaccination rates, there is still uncertainty about how public health guidance may affect programs like Host Family breaks. But, as the province looks ahead to advance its COVID Restart Plan, we look forward to safely and prudently re-activating a robust Host Family Program as public health guidance allows.

Homestays through the College’s Host Family Program provide much needed respite from student studies for an overnight, a weekend or a short period of time during one of the breaks throughout the school year. In return, Pearson homestay families are given a unique opportunity to develop close relationships with these exceptional youth, learn more about their respective cultures and to further enhance their family’s lives and experiences and sharing our Canadian culture in a family residential setting.

As many Host Families have told us over the years, the rewards of offering short stays to students can last a lifetime by introducing families to new cultures (and sometimes meals!) and by establishing lifetime friendships with young people from around the world.

If you and your family live in the Greater Victoria region, or on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands or the Lower Mainland and are interested in becoming a Host Family, we would love to hear from you!

To learn more about how to provide a volunteer homestay, please email me at dboshcoff@pearsoncollege.ca. If you would like more information about the Host Family Program and other volunteer opportunities, please get in touch with me or check our website at https://www.pearsoncollege.ca/get-involved/.