More international exchange students will be coming to the valley as pandemic restrictions ease, and more host families are needed in SD71.
The following school year will see multiple students from 15 different countries including Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea, according to the district. They add the students will need homes from three to fours months, all the way through 10-month stays.
The students will be fully vaccinated, according to the district. They add it is an opportunity to show your own families different cultures around the world.
Families are expected to create a “home away from home” and will get training and support from the International Program staff. A criminal record check will also be done.
International students have been in the district throughout the pandemic in smaller numbers, according to the district. However, they needed to be travelling for essential reasons and required study permits to be in the country, along with being vaccinated and other requirements.
International student program district principal Greg Kochanuk says the students that come to the valley had to be very safe before coming into the country.
“The students that come here, they’re all vaccinated, in the early days of the pandemic they had to do a quarantine,” he said. “Essentially they were safer than the students that we had in our own buildings because they were under so much scrutiny from airlines and their own home countries.”
Kochanuk adds the district followed health protocols to keep the process as seamless as possible.
With rising inflation costs, the honorarium has been increased from previous years with the tax-free funding now at $900 per calendar month.
“We realize that over the last few months inflation has topped over eight per cent,” said Kochanuk. “We’re trying to recognize that and we don’t want them to be under financial hardship to do that.”
Kochanuk adds many international students want to come to valley for its outdoor opportunities including skiing, hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities. He also says the students want the outdoor experience in an English immersion environment.
Information about the program can be found in the International Student Program website.