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Faculty and staff

Why consider becoming a host?

The holidays and school closures can be lonely for international and exchange students who are away from their families and friends. The Holiday Host Program allows university staff and faculty to help these students stay connected and feel less isolated during these times.

Hosting also provides a unique opportunity for international and exchange students to engage in seasonal or cultural traditions and celebrations they may otherwise not have the chance to experience.

Frequently asked questions about hosting

Am I expected to host students overnight?

No. The Holiday Host Program is not meant to run overnight.  

How long must my event run for?

It depends on the host. We recommend a minimum two-hour event.

Does my event have to be in the evening?

No. It depends on the host. You may choose to do a brunch or daytime event.  

Can a non-UOIT staff/faculty member register to host students?

No. As staff and faculty, you are already entrusted with the safety of our students. As this is a university program, it is expected that both hosts and students adhere to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Code of Conduct. That same expectation cannot be placed on non-UOIT staff/faculty.   

Can I host students somewhere other than my home?

Yes. If, for example, a friend or family member is hosting a holiday event and you would like to take students with you there, then you would register to host the students at that location. You are still the students' host and therefore responsible for them.

Traditional meal event

Social gathering event

Activity-based event

Host students for a traditional holiday meal (such as for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah). Students can be invited to your family or community event rather than throwing a special event just for them.

Rather than a full meal, you may decide to host students for a more informal social with traditional drinks, appetizers and games.

Consider focusing your event around activities.

Consider having the students help in the meal or dessert preparation as a unique experience. Consider having some activities and games as well.

Consider having some activities and games as well.

  • Decoration party: Students experience decorating for the holidays.
  • Baking party: Students participate in baking holiday treats which they can then share with family and friends.
  • Pumpkin party: Students pick and carve pumpkins.

Activity ideas

Thanksgiving holiday

Winter holiday

  • Carve pumpkins.
  • Make turkey decorations.
  • Make centrepieces.
  • Make gratefulness cards to send to family.
  • Learn to make pumpkin pie or another traditional dessert.
  • Decorate a Christmas tree.
  • Make customized stockings.
  • Make a centrepiece.
  • Make eggnog.
  • Build a gingerbread house.
  • Make latkes.
  • Play the dreidel game.
  • Make a holiday wreath.
  • Watch a winter holiday classic (e.g. Home Alone).
  • Both hosts and students will register online.
  • Hosts will select the date of their event.
  • Students will select the date(s) they would be available.
  • Both hosts and students will provide information about themselves that will assist in appropriate pairing.
  • Preferences will be taken into consideration.

Once a host and a student are paired by the Program Co-ordinator, the host will receive an email notification with the following information about their student(s):

  • name
  • contact information
  • country of origin
  • dietary restrictions or requirements (e.g. vegan, halal, gluten free, etc.)
  • allergies (e.g. to pets, nuts, shellfish, etc.)
  • other preferences (e.g. alcohol-free event, fear of pets, etc.)

Hosts will then follow the procedures outlined in the next tab and make contact with their student(s).

Within 24 hours of being paired, host will:

  • Contact student(s) via email and introduce themselves, their role at the university, and what the student can expect on the day of the event.
  • Provide the student with their address.
  • Provide the student with their contact phone number.
  • Request the student’s contact phone number.
  • Discuss transportation arrangements for student(s) to and from host's home.
    • If host and student(s) agree to being driven by host, arrange student pickup and drop off locations.
    Please note: If host and student decides to drive student(s):
    • All liability is transferred to the host’s personal car insurance. The university will not assume liability nor insure host vehicle.
    • If host intends on consuming alcohol at the event (even a little), ensure student(s) would still be comfortable being driven by them.

One day prior to event, host will contact student(s) to verify:

  • contact phone numbers
  • meeting times
  • student and host addresses
  • transportation details

On the day of event, host will:

  • Pick up student(s) from agreed-upon location (if host intends to drive student(s)).
  • Introduce student(s) to friends and family.
  • Drive students home or to pre-determined locations(s) (if host intends to drive student(s)).
  • Ensure student(s) have appropriate funds to take public transportation and that their bus/train will arrive shortly (if student intends to take public transportation). 

The host must:

  • Not arrange for student(s) to be picked up from unfamiliar locations out of personal convenience.
  • If host intends to drive student(s), be present when picking up and dropping off student(s) and not delegate this to someone else.
  • Contact student(s) if running late.
  • Ensure they provide food the student(s) are able to eat based on their stipulated dietary restrictions/requirements. Also, make sure food is labeled appropriately if dietary restrictions exist.
  • Not offer student(s) alcohol.
  • Uphold the university's Code of Conduct and adhere to policies surrounding discrimination and harassment.
  • Demonstrate a respectful appreciation for the cultural diversity of the student.
  • Not engage in religious proselytizing.
  • If host intends to consume alcohol, do so in a responsible manner.