Stories & Testimonials
Open doors lead to open hearts
When the Trenholm-Paquette family decided to bring the world home, they also decided to have more fun. Though they may not have realized it at the time.
The active couple and their two four legged friends have been hosting international students for two years. What began as something they thought they’re try out for a semester has turned into something they can’t picture ever living without.
They enjoy showing their students around Nova Scotia and find it gives them a better appreciation for what they have in their own backyard. They enjoy having a reason to get out and enjoy things, to laugh and most importantly- to make sure they’re always having fun together.
They still keep in touch with their previous students via weekly Skype chats and Facebook messages. The bonds and connections formed with their students have been a life changing experience.
For Ms. Trenholm, her experience with the NSISP has meant that she’s not just opened her door, but she’s opened her heart as well.
"The most fascinating experience, having a student from Taiwan is learning about a new and different culture. This has been an interesting and very rewarding encounter.
Watching this student learn a new language and culture is the most satisfying, and to know that I have been a part of his success is most gratifying! I would recommend being a host parent to anyone for the simple pleasure of it!"
A world of opportunity
For Ms.Godfrey, the chance to host an international student has meant a world of opportunity for her and her two children.
There is never a dull moment in the Godfrey’s home with two children, two cats, three bunnies, a dog named Sprocket, and the welcome addition of an international student. But they have found that the benefits of hosting an international student have far outweighed any challenges that stem from running a busy household.
The eldest child has benefitted from having somebody to study and do homework with. So much so that her grades have made a marked improvement, along with her self-esteem.
Learning has always been very important to the Godfreys, and the opportunity to learn about another culture in their very own home has been immensely valuable. Hosting an international student has shown the children that even though we may speak different languages or have different coloured skin, underneath it all we have the same feelings and want the same things.
The ability to see beyond the front door and bring the world home means that each and every day brings the possibility to learn something new for the Godfrey family.
"Our student arrived at our home in early September. She hails from Cancun, Mexico. She fit in with our family from day one! Since her arrival, we have exchanged many discussions about the cultures and way of life of our two countries.
She was 17 when she arrived and celebrated her 18th birthday here, but she is wise beyond her years. She does well in school and adjusted very well to Canadian living. She has made many, many Canadian friends and she is loved by all. From the beginning she insisted that she would make Canadian friends so that her English would improve. 'I have Mexican friends here too, but right now it is important for me to learn English, so I want to make many friends while I am here,' she said. She has a very cheerful attitude towards life, and her sense of humour is delightful! We are not looking forward to her departure in June because she has become like a daughter, and a sister. She has certainly proved to be a wonderful ambassador for her country!
From my experience I would have to say that Mexicans are very easy-going, friendly, loving people. If you are considering taking an international student, I hope your experience will be as pleasant and rewarding for you as it has been for us. Besides developing lasting friendships, this program enables you to learning about another culture and country without leaving your front door. Who could ask for more!"
"We have been very happy with our German student. He has fit right in with our family."
A lifelong connection
For the Ozawa family, choosing to bring the world home is in their DNA.
This active family seamlessly blends both Japanese and Canadian cultures into their daily routines. They were inspired by their own experiences travelling and living abroad to invite international students into their home. As soon as their two children were old enough, they reached out to their local homestay coordinator.
At first the Ozawa’s thought hosting international students would benefit their children the most. What they weren’t expecting is how much it has benefitted their whole family. They still keep in touch with their former students on a regular basis and are even planning a family trip to visit this summer.
The Ozawa’s daughter in particular was so keen on the experience of having older teenaged sisters that it inspired their son to champion the family to host teenaged boys as well. The experience has been eye opening in terms of the learning and relationships they’ve gained. For the Ozawas, the bonds they’ve made are connections to last a lifetime.