Selkirk International Looking for Homestay Hosts

Program Leaves Lasting Impressions for Participants on Both Sides


Val Trombley has travelled the world from the cozy confines of her three-bedroom home in Castlegar. Over the last 17 years, her journey is rich with culture and the people she’s met along the way.

Selkirk College is currently accepting applications for area residents interested in taking international students for homestays. The program offers lasting rewards for both the student and the families who offer to immerse these visiting young people into Canadian culture.

Homestay program

Val Trombley (middle) with her two current homestay students Jasmine Chen (left) and Narusa Hasegawa (right). Chen is from Taiwan and enrolled in the Resort & Hotel Management Program. Hasegawa is from Japan and enrolled in the English Language Program.

Trombley’s entry into the homestay program arrived innocently enough shortly after moving to Castlegar almost two decades ago.

“One day in the mail there was this big pink piece of paper that came to the mailbox that asked: Are you interested in being a homestay parent? I thought, what the hec,” she says.

Today, the walls of Trombley’s home are lined with pictures from her time spent with the 65 students who have lived at her home while they studied at Selkirk College.

When the World Arrives to the West Kootenay-Boundary

Selkirk International welcomes students from all over the world to its campuses each semester. From India to Taiwan and Brazil to China, students arrive keen to learn in the classrooms and in their new communities.

Students who come from afar have many options for living accommodations, but one of the most popular is homestay. Each semester the college places 25 to 40 students in families and with individuals who are looking to enrich their lives through a cultural exchange.

“Our host families are key to the success of the program,” says Tessa Bendig, International Student Services Coordinator for Selkirk College. “Our students appreciate the many ways their host families make them feel at home while studying in Canada. The after school and weekend activities, great quality food and supportive home environments provided by our host families are often among the highlights of our student’s experiences in the Kootenays.”

Homestay participants are expected to provide the students a private room, three meals a day and laundry facilities. Homestay placements can last anywhere from three to eight months.

Read more about Val Trombley's expereince with homestay at


Learn more about the Selkirk College homestay program by emailing Tessa Bendig and join us on Facebook.