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Frequently asked questions 

What is the Holiday Host Program?

The Holiday Host Program is an opportunity for international and exchange students to attend a holiday event hosted by a University of Ontario Institute of Technology staff or faculty member (host) during a school closure period. 

Is this an overnight program?

No. Events are typically between two to five hours long.

Can I register with a friend?

Yes. Both you and your friend would fill out a registration form. In the form, there is an opportunity to select which other student(s) you would like to be paired with. The Program Co-ordinator would then place you with the same host.

Can my family participate?

Yes. There is an opportunity in the registration form for you to include your family members. You would then be paired with a host who has said they would be happy to host a student and their family.

Traditional meal event

Social gathering event

Activity-based event

You may be invited for a traditional holiday meal (such as for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah). 

Rather than a full meal, you may be invited for a more informal social with traditional drinks, appetizers and games.

You may be invited to participate in an activity-focused event such as a decoration party (decorate a Christmas tree, watch Christmas movies, etc.) or a baking party (bake traditional holiday sweets you can then give to family and friends).  

Sample activities

Thanksgiving holiday

Winter holiday

  • Carve pumpkins.
  • Make turkey decorations.
  • Make centerpieces.
  • Make gratefulness cards to send to family.
  • Learn to make pumpkin pie or other traditional desserts.
  • Decorate a Christmas tree.
  • Make customized stockings.
  • Make a centerpiece.
  • 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).

Step 1: Registration

Both hosts and students will register online.

  • Hosts will select the date of their event.
  • Students will select the date(s) they will likely be available.
  • Both hosts and students will provide information about themselves that will assist in appropriate pairing.
  • Preferences will be taken into consideration. 

Step 2: Pairing

Once a host and a student are paired by the Program Co-ordinator, students will receive an email notification with their host's details and event details. 

Hosts 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.)

Step 3: Contact

Hosts will contact students within 24 hours of being paired to co-ordinate things like:

  • Transportation to and from the event.
  • Event times and address.
  • Contact information.

The following guidelines and expectations should be followed by all students who have registered to participate in the Holiday Host Program. Please ensure you review this information once you register.

Students must:

  • 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 host family.
  • Not engage in religious proselytizing.
  • Not consume alcohol while at host’s home.
  • Thank host and host family for their hospitality.
  • Notify host of any dietary requirements or restrictions (dairy allergy, halal, vegetarian, vegan, nut allergy, shellfish allergy, etc.).
  • Cancel at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Contact host with notice if they know they will be late.
  • Offer host a token of appreciation (optional).
  • Sign a photo release form (optional).