At the end of the month 120 students from Japan will be coming to Langford and Sooke to experience Canadian life and practice speaking English in a school setting.
Sixty students will attend Belmont Secondary School and the other 60 will go to Edward Milne Community School from Oct. 25 to 30.
They’ll be here as part of a homestay program through Muskoka Language International, an organization that works in communities across the country to give international students meaningful learning experiences in Canada.
When they’re not in school, the students will be staying with host families who provide a “home away from home,” for them according to program director Cheryl Lee. But the program is looking for more families in Langford and Sooke to volunteer their homes as homestay residences.
“It’s one student per family so we need to find 120 families that can host a student for five sleeps,” Lee said.
Families are paid an honorarium of $225 for hosting a student for five nights and are encouraged to share their typical daily life with the student, Lee said.
“(They are encouraged to) invite their Japanese students to join simple family activities like walking the dog, grocery shopping, playing soccer in the backyard, attending soccer practices, watching the stars from the beach at night, making cookies, playing cards and enjoying meals together,” Lee said.
For the students, Lee said coming to Canada is exciting as they experience a place full of diverse culture and tradition. It also gives them the chance to experience being away from home and the opportunity to practice their English.
The host families will also be invited to join a Welcome Ceremony at school on the arrival day as well as a farewell gathering on Oct. 29. The students from Japan will share some presentations, dances and songs to commemorate their time in the community.