Page 1

International Student Homestay Handbook

Calgary Board of Education

Global Learning Services

1221 - 8th Street SW Calgary, AB T2R0L4

Phone: 403-817-7711

Fax: 403-294-8299

Page 1 - Welcome - International Student Homestay Handbook

Welcome 4 Contacts 5 Emergency 5 Global Learning Services 5 Taxi Numbers 5 Transit Numbers 5 Local School Number 5 Kids Help Phone 5

Welcome to Calgary


Travelling Calgary


Student Privileges


Facts on Canada About Calgary

Table of Contents

Calgary Downtown Canadian Rockies Heritage Tour Discover More

Student Privileges Student Responsibilities Student Agreement

6 6

7 7 7 7

8 8 9

Preparation 10 Important Documents to Bring 10 What to Pack 10 Weather 11 Temperature Chart 11

En-Route / Upon Arrival


Getting Started - Home Life


Jet Lag Culture Shock Security and Safety English Only

12 12 14 14

Telephones 15 Cell Phones 15 Internet 15 Heating and Electricity 16

International Student Homestay Handbook - Contacts - Page 2 Bathrooms 16 Laundry 16 Pets 16 Food 17 Meals 17 Tipping 17 Transportation 17 Money and Banks 18 Post Offices 18

Getting Started - School Life


Canadian Customs


School Information Before First Day First Day Throughout Semester

19 20 20 20

Greetings 21 Manners 21 Table Manners 21 Etiquette 21

Well-Being 22 22 22 22 22

Medical 23 Pharmacies 23 Walk-In Clinics 23 Urgent Care 23 Hospitals 23

Resources 24 Life in Canada Calgary Tourism Student Support Important Document Student Resources Calgary Board of Education

24 24 24 24 24 24

Table of Contents

Emotional Well-Being Physical Well-Being Spiritual Well-Being Academic Well-Being

Page 4 - Welcome - International Student Homestay Handbook

Welcome International Students


The Calgary Board of Education would like to welcome YOU to Calgary. Studying abroad truly is a memorable experience. You are exposed to another way of living, another culture and sometimes other languages. This handbook is designed to give you tips regarding homestay situations and Canadian customs for your stay in Calgary.

International Student Homestay Handbook - Contacts - Page 5 You should create a contact card to take with you. This card should incude the below numbers, as well as your host family’s address and numbers. Make sure to provide your host family with your friend’s names and telephone numbers for emergencies. Emergency Medical, Fire, Police, Poison Treatment

Call 9-1-1

Global Learning Services Phone Fax Website Email Address

403-817-7711 403-294-8299 1221 - 8th St. SW Calgary, Alberta T2R0L4 Canada

Associtaed Cab Checker Cab Mayfair

403-299-1111 403-299-9999 403-531-8294

Taxi Numbers

Transit Numbers Call Centre 403-262-1000 Teleride (bus routes 403-974-4000 and times Lost Property 403-268-1600

Local School Number

Your host family will be able to help you find out your school’s number. It is also important to learn the emergency routines in your school.

Phone Website


You should also enter all of your contacts and emergency phone numbers into your cell phone, once in Calgary.


Kids Help Phone 24 hour bilingual hotline for kids and teens

Page 6 - Welcome to Calgary - International Student Homestay Handbook Facts on Canada Canada is the second largest country by area in the world and has a population of approximately 33.7 million. Canada consists of ten provinces and three territories. As a result of this, climate can vary from province to province. Canadian geography is very diverse, so if you are looking for the rainforests of British Columbia, the vast plains of Saskatchewan or the beautiful scenery of the East Coast, it is all possible. Canada has two official languages: English and French. You may notice that some items are printed in both languages (examples are food packages or government signs).

Welcome to Calgary

The National emblem of Canada is the maple leaf, and the national anthem is ‘O Canada’, which is usually sung before National Hockey Games, or special ceremonies like Canada Day on July 1st.



About Calgary Calgary is a clean and safer city that is located close to the famous Rocky Mountains. Calgary is also a rapidly growing city with a current population over one million people. This multicultural city has many people from different ethnic backgrounds. As a result, Calgary offers a vast array of festivals, restaurants and activities related to different cultures. You can choose from hundreds of restaurants that cater to every taste and budget. Whether you are craving food from your home country, or want to taste some of our Alberta beef, you are guaranteed to find a restaurant that will meet your appetite. Calgary offers many different attractions including theatres, art galleries, shopping, concerts, parks, a lively night life and our famous Calgary Stampede (during the first week of July). For information on the Calgary Stampede visit:

For more information on things to do in Calgary visit

International Student Homestay Handbook - Travelling Calgary - Page 7 Calgary Downtown Calgary Tower

Stunning view of the city and the Canadian Rockies at 626 feet (189 meters).

Glenbow Museum

A lively journey into the heritage of the Canadian West and exciting exploration of other cultures.

Stephen Avenue Walk

This National historic district has over 1,000 shops and facilities including some of Calgary’s finest restaurants.


Located west of Calgary, Canmore has one of the most spectacular vistas, with numerous activities in the mountains.


The town of Banff is a thriving four-season resort that combines beauty with luxurious modern conveniences. Visit Bow Falls, explore local museums, ride a gondola up Sulphur Mountain or soak in the upper hot springs.

Lake Louise

This jewel of the Rockies is famous for hiking, mountain biking and ski resorts with abundant snowfall.


The town of Jasper is all mountain beauty with wildlife and year-round outdoor adventure including golfing, rafting, fishing, trailriding, hiking, hot springs and a tramway ride to the top of Whistlers Mountain.

Canadian Rockies

Calgary Stampede For ten days in July, Calgarians and visitors saddle up for the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.” With chuckwagon races, midway entertainment, agricultural exhibitions, a grandstand show, stock shows and most importantly the rodeo, the Calgary Stampede is the most historic and celebrate event in Calgary.

Travelling Calgary

Heritage Tour

Heritage Park

The largest living historical village in Canada re-creates all the sights and sounds of pre-1915 life in Western Canada. Enjoy 66 acres that includes a sternwheeler, antique midway and a locomotive train ride.

Calgary Zoo

Unique interactive exhibits put you close to the animals and birds of Canada, as well as around the world.

Telus World of Science

Push, pull, open, look, talk and listen in an exciting hands-on science playground that features one of the North America’s newest and best multi-media theatres.

Discover More

Page 8 - Student Privileges and Responsibilities - International Student Homestay Handbook

Student Privileges

Student Privileges You have the right to: • live in a clean, safe and comfortable home, where you will likely be sharing a bathroom with other family members • use the internet access in the home • use facilities in the house to wash and dry your clothes • use the phone for local calls only, while for long distance phone calls you can purchase a phone card at local stores, or use your own cellphone • be provided meals by the host family during your stay, while mkaing sure to help around the kitchen • not be sexually harassed or be subjected to racism, (please contact a Global Learning Services Coordinator immediately if you eperience either of these problems) • feel safe and secure in the home • be treated like a member of the family

Do not discuss the private matters of the host family outside the home unless it is with a Homestay Coordinator and involves the safety and/or security of the student or someone else. Student Responsibilities • try to keep your room and bathroom clean, and do not expect anyone to clean up after you • ask for permission to use any household appliances or equipment, if there is damage caused by yourself, then you are responsible for reimbursing the family • respect household guidelines and curfews • be involved in daily chores in the household as well as family activities • ask permission to have a friend visit the house before you invite them • advise your host family if you will not be home for dinner, or will be out late • respect the family’s privacy and ensure that your own privacy is not being invaded • do not borrow money from the hose family • always be suitably clothed around the host family • be tolerant and respectful regarding race, religion, gender and disabilities • there will be no use of drug or alcohol during the student’s homestay, regardless of legal age • you are not allowed to drive any vehicle at any time, regardless of age • you are not allowed to get a paid job while taking courses through the Calgary Board of Education or while on a study permit

The International Student Program reserves the right to move students without notice only if a Homestay Coordinator or the Program Administrator believes the student’s safety and/or security is at risk. Students may also be moved in cases of family emergencies and other extenuating circumstances as deemed necessary by a Homestay Coordinator or the Program Administrator. Temporary placements may be required until more permanent situations can be arranged.

International Student Homestay Handbook - Student Privileges and Responsibilities - Page 9 Student Agreement International Students are required to obey all program rules as outlined in the application guidelines. They will abide by Canadian laws, attend all classes, maintaining good academic achievement and cooperate with their host family. Both the student and their natural parents/guardians sign the application that clearly outlines our expectations and guidelines prior to their arrival in Calgary. In the event that the System Assistant Principal deems a student’s behaviour to be a serious infraction of the Calgary Board of Education rules, (such as participating in criminal activity), the student may be immediately dismissed from the program and sent home without moving through the protocol. The Calgary Board of Education International Student Behaviour Protocol has three stages designed to give students an opportunity to correct and improve any faulty behaviours. Each of these stages will involve meeting with the student and the System Assistant Principal to discuss the unacceptable behaviour and the requirements for improvement. The Three Stages of the Behaviour Protocol for International Students are: Stage 1: Reminder(s)/Warning If the student’s violation is not of a highly serious nature, and it appears the student truly intends to improve, reminders and warnings may be issued. This will be at the discretion of the System Assistant Principal for Global Learning Services.

Stage 3: Final Warning This is the student’s last chance. Failure on the part of the student to fulfill the requirements of the Final Warning will result in dismissal from the Calgary Board of Education (School and/or Homestay program). If Dismissal is required, the following may occur: • Dismissal from the Calgary Board of Education program • Dismissal from the Calgary Board of Education Homestay program • Immediate return to the student’s home country at the student’s expense • No refund of tuition or homestay fees • Return of the student’s Study Permit to Immigration Canada authorities

If the student has any questions or concerns regarding the Student Agreement please refer to the student contract attached to the application form.

Student Privileges

Stage 2: Probation A student may be given a timeline or a series of steps to complete actions or improve behaviour. Placing a student on probation will be done in writing. Natural parents, custodians, guardians and in some cases, agents, will be notified.


Page 10 - Preparation - International Student Homestay Handbook Important Documents to Bring Before leaving you should make sure to bring: • • • • •

Your passport Money Medical insurance, medical information and prescriptions Contact information of your homestay family and homestay coordinator Study Permit

Study Permit The study permit should be submitted and approved before coming into Canada. Study permits can be renewed in Canada, but if you graduate out of high school during that time, your contract with the Calgary Board of Education – Global Learning Services will be terminated and you will no longer be in homestay. To find out more on study permits visit What to Pack Items to Pack Here is a quick list of items to pack for studying abroad: • Journal • Camera • Pictures from home • Reading books • Prescription medication, make sure to visit your own doctor at home to get all the prescription medicine needed during your stay in Calgary • Glasses • Laptop (optional) Clothing to Pack Here is a list of items to keep in mind for the seasons, whether bringing them from home or purchasing them in Calgary: Winter • Warm coat • Boots • Gloves, hat and scarf Spring/Fall • Warm jacket • Clothes that you can layer • Umbrella/rain boots Summer • Light clothing • Sweater • Umbrella

Keep in mind many basic items can be purchased while you stay in Calgary, so do not over pack your suitcase.

International Student Homestay Handbook - Preparation - Page 11 Weather Calgary’s weather is always changing, as it can rapidly change in just a few hours. It is always important to pack and wear layers, because you can always take layers off depending on the weather. There is central heating in all Calgary homes, schools and busses. Calgary may have changing weather, but our chinooks tend to occur frequently. These warm winds come in at any time, and with the clouds make a huge arc. Keep in mind the three month’s with the most rain are May, June and July. You can always check out the weather network site for Calgary to see the forecast for future dates at Temperature Chart Here is a chart to show the different seasons and their average temperatures.






Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun

Daily Maximum Temperature

- 1.3 - 2.8 - 0.1 4 .0

Daily Minimum Temperature

-13.3 - 1 5.1 -12.0 - 7.8 - 2.1

Description of Season

C l e a r w i n te rs, Th i s i n - b e t we e n m o d e s t s now, season can be w i t h c o l d s n aps u n p re d i c tab l e t h at l a s t a we e k w i t h wa rm i n g u p b e fo re wa rm e r and melting we at h e r b e fo re su m m e r

1 1.3


Fall Aug Sep Oct Nov

1 6. 4 20.2 22.9 22.5 1 7.6 1 2.1


Keep in mind all temperatures are written in Celsius.



4 .0 - 1.4 - 8.9

Su n s h i n e w i t h wa rm a n d d r y d a y s, u n p re d i c tab l e ra i n fa l l a l s o o c c u ri n g

Th i s i n - b e t we e n season can be u n p re d i c tab l e with cooling te m p e rat u re s b e fo re w i n te r


Calgary’s Seasons in Pictures



En-Route / Upon Arrival

Page 12 - En-Route / Upon Arrival - International Student Homestay Handbook Jet Lag Here are some tips to prevent jet lag when arriving into Calgary 1. A few days before you leav adjust your bedtime by an hour, to change your sleeping patterns to Calgry’s time zone 2. During your flight, switch your watch to Calgary’s time zone so you become accustomed 3. Drink a lot of water before and during the flight 4. Get up and move around frequently during the flight to avoid any leg cramps 5. Get outside if you arrive during the day, so that you can get adjusted to the sunlight 6. Make sure to relax the first few days and do not overwhelm yourself 7. Drink a lot of water when you arrive, which you can drink straight from the tap

Culture Shock What is Culture Shock? Culture shock is simply a common way to describe the confusing and nervous feelings a person may have after leaving a familiar culture to live in a new and different culture. Your homestay family and friends at school have grown up with values and beliefs that differ from yours. Because of these differences, the things they talk about, the ways they express themselves, and the importance of various ideas may be very different from what you are used to. But the good news is that culture shock is temporary. What Causes Culture Shock? When you go to a new place, such as a new country or even a new city, you often enter a culture that is different from the one you left. The differences between cultures can make it very difficult to adjust to the new surroundings. Dealing with the differences can be very unsettling; those feelings are part adjusting to a new culture.

Many factors contribute to the effects of culture shock, and everyone reacts differently and at different times through their stay.

International Student Homestay Handbook - Upon Arrival - Page 13 Stages of Culture Shock 1. Honeymoon Stage

This is when everything is very new and exciting to you, and you will tend to compare things from your old culture to Calgary and Canada’s culture

2. Distress Stage

This stage is where you may have trouble communicating, or things around you may make you feel distressed, impatient or alone.

3. Recovery Stage This stage allows you to gain a better understanding of the new culture; this can allow you to have a sense of direction. 4. Independence Stage

Differences and similarities are observed, and you may start to set out goals for living in this new culture.

5. Re-entry Shock When going back to your home country you may experience Stage un-ease in the culture you grew up in, as you were getting used to Calgary’s culture during your stay. Dealing with Culture Shock Here are some tips to help you through culture shock: Do your research: This will allow you to have an open mind when entering into the new culture, and get a sense of what to expect when you arrive. Be patient and positive: To help you understand the culture better, it is important to be patient when communicating or learning new concepts, but also stay positive. By being positive your allowing yourself to have a better experience. Relax and don’t be too hard on yourself: It will be tough to adjust so it’s best to relax and take things easy so you’re not too stressed.

Upon Arrival

Set goals: By setting goals you are allowing yourself to move forward and create enthusiasm in continuing on your plans during your stay. Keep in contact: You should stay in contact with your home culture so that they can help you in times needed most.

Educate others: By teaching others about your culture you can interact more and allow others to learn more about you. Be active and get involved: Make sure you are enjoying your time by including physical activity into your routine as well as finding a hobby that can help you learn about your new culture.

Ask for help: If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed you can contact a family member or a homestay contact.

Upon Arrival

Page 14 - Upon Arrival - International Student Homestay Handbook Security and Safety Your host family will provide you with a safe and secure home. Calgary is known to be a safer city, but you must take precautions that you would in any large city. In any situation it is your responsibility to use common sense for your safety. It is also your responsibility to only take with you the minimum amount of valuables so that there is no risk of losing them or getting them stolen. Make sure you always carry a contact card with you in case of emergencies. Hitchhiking is not allowed within Calgary’s city limits, and not recommended for safety reasons.

If in doubt about travelling alone or late at night, ask your host family or homestay coordinator.

English Only The Calgary Board of Education requires that you only speak English within your homestay. This avoids miscommunication and allows you to develop on your English speaking skills. The school you will be attending will be English speaking, so that you can gain more practice in English. There may be English as Second Language (ESL) teachers around to help you with speaking English. You will be able to contact your international counsellor at your school once getting settled in school. A way to increase your English and gain Canadian friends, would be to join a club or team. This way you are meeting a lot of people and practicing your English speaking, while keeping active. And lastly, don’t be shy! You must be willing to learn and meet new people to practice English.

International Student Homestay Handbook - Getting Started-Home Life - Page 15 Each host family will be different with their curfews and household rules, but remember to be flexible and always maintain an open communication with them. Telephones When you first arrive at your homestay you should call your family back home to let them know you are safe, but to be aware of the time changes. Make sure to ask the host family before using the phone. You are allowed to use the telephone for local calls as long as you are respectful about the amount of time on the phone.

Cell Phones You are allowed to purchase a cell phone here in Calgary. They can be expensive, so we recommend purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone where there is no fixed contract. We do not encourage co-signing by the host family on any cell phone contracts. Internet The host family will be able to provide you with free internet whether it’s on a family computer that you will be allowed to use, or your own computer that can have access to the wireless internet within the house. Make sure you ask about using the family computer and when the most convenient time to use it is. There should be limited time on the computer, unless working on homework or assignments for school. Take the time to involve yourself in family activities or school activities instead of constantly being on the internet. You are able to get enough rest for school but not staying up late on the internet. One program that can be helpful with staying in contact with your family back home is SKype. This program is internet based, and by using a webcam you can call your family back home using their video calling. To create an account go to to find out more.

Getting Started - Home Life

For long distance phone calls you can purchase a phone card from a local store (ask the homestay family for where to get one), use your own cellphone or the student can use Skype, which is program for video calls, explained in the Internet section below.

Page 16 - Getting Started-Home Life - International Student Homestay Handbook Heating and Electricity All Calgary homes have central heating. During the night home thermostats are usually set low so that they can conserve energy. The central heating system within each house, school, and bus has a central source of heat, where there are radiators or air vents connected to distribute throughout different rooms.

Getting Started - Home Life

When using electricity make sure to always turn off appliances when not in use and to turn off the lights when leaving a room. Calgarians are commited to protecting their environment and the City of Calgary encourages all citizens to do their part in maintaining a sustainable city.

Calgarians are commited to protecting their environment and the City of Calgary encourages all citizens to do their part in maintaining a sustainable city. Calgary has many recycling programs, from bottles to clothes, where you can participate in recycling and maintaining a sustainable Calgary. If you are too hot in the house, you could always purchase a fan, or go for a walk to grab a cold drink. Calgarians might not put on air conditioning, as it is expensive. If you are too cold, we recommend you put on more layers as Calgarians don’t usually turn up the heat too much as it is expensive and they want to conserve energy. Bathrooms Try not to take long showers, but instead try to conserve the water. The shower curtain must go inside the tub, as there are no drains in the bathroom, beside in the bath tub. All showers and sinks have hot water, because of the hot water tanks within each Calgary home. These hot water tanks have a central source that heats water to provide to around the house. There is a plumbing system in every Calgary house, and toilet paper should be put in the toilet, not the garbage can. Laundry You will be able to use the washer and dryer within your homestay. If your host family offers to wash your clothes with the families, you have the option to. Or you can wait till you have a full load to do your own laundry. Ask when a convenient time to do laundry is. Pets If you have requested to live with a pet, but feel uncomfortable around it, do not be shy; ask the host family if there are anyways to section off the pet.

International Student Homestay Handbook - Getting Started-Home Life - Page 17 Food Canadian food has a wide range of different cuisine. You can find any type of food within the city depending on if you want food from your home country or to try our Alberta beef. In Calgary, our Alberta beef is our speciality. We take pride in producing 100% real beef, with the best taste. Other Calgary food specials include ginger beef (at any Chinese restaurant) and poutine (originating from Quebec) which is fries with cheese and gravy. There is such a wide variety of food in Calgary that you can crave almost any type of food and be able to find it at grocery stores or restaurants. Meals

Getting Started - Home Life

Canadian’s have three main meals a day, with snacks in-between.

• Breakfast is usually a quick meal because of the fast pace city that Calgary is. It can consist of coffee or juice, cereal, muffins or oatmeal. Larger breakfasts would be on the weekend, and consist of eggs, fruit, bacon, ham, or pancakes (with real Maple Syrup). • Lunch can also be considered a small meal, because people have busy days that don’t allow them to sit down and have a huge lunch. Lunches at school could be sandwiches, fruit and veggies, as well as chips. There could also be leftovers from last nights dinner or other items that can be heated in microwaves at school. • Dinner is considered a family event, so the family sits at home together to have dinner each night. There will be nights when everyone is busy, so you might have to just cook something for yourself. Dinners could be any type of dish, as it usually ranges on the different households. One night could be Mexican food, and then an Asian dish the next. Tipping

In Canada there is a 15% tipping for services. Including waiters/waitresses, taxi drivers and hotel staff that may help you with baggage. It is not required to always tip but it is common courtesy.

Transportation Calgary Transit Calgary is a rather large city with an easy to use Transit system. You will most likely be taking the bus or train to school each day. To use it, ask your host family to show you when and where to get off and on. You can visit the Calgary Transit website to learn more about bus schedules and train times at

If you are lost and don’t know where to go, for help you can call the Calgary transit operator. Tell them where you are and where you want to go and they will be able to provide you with the fastest route via bus or train. Calgary Transit Operator: (403)262-1000

Page 18 - Getting Started-Home Life - International Student Homestay Handbook Taxis There are many taxis that you can call for a ride somewhere, that can be expensive and require a 15% tipping. The numbers for taxis are: Associated Cab: 403-299-1111 Checker Cab: 403-299-9999 Mayfair: 403-531-8294 You can also try calling #TAXI (#8294), and it will connect you with the first avilable taxi.

Getting Started - Home Life

You cannot pick taxi’s up off the street. You are more likely to get one by phoning an above number, telling them your location and name and they will pick you up. Money and Banks Money Make sure to bring enough money for purchasing souvenirs, paying for activities or events and always make sure you have some for emergencies. Banks There are many banks that will be located near your homestay. Just ask your host family and they can take you or show you were there is one located. At the banks you can exchange money or receive funds. We recommend that if you are staying for a year or more, that you can get a bank account at any bank. Here is a list of banks you could visit (ask your homestay family where they are located): • ATB Financial • ING Direct Canada • BMO Financial Group • National Bank of Canada • CIBC • RBC Financial Group • First Calgary Savings • Scotiabank • HSBC • TD Canada Trust Post Offices There are many post offices around Calgary for you to send postcards, letters or packages. Just ask your host family to show you where the closest Canada Post is located. You can visit the Canada Post website for more information at

International Student Homestay Handbook - Getting Started-Home Life - Page 19 School Information Your homestay family will be able to help you with getting everything ready for school, including help with buying your basic essentials like pens, pencils and paper. Your school will be able to help you with buying the apporpriate textbooks for each of your classes. On your first day at school make sure you are prepared for all of your subjects, and that you carry around a schedule so that you know when and where to go for each class. Calgary High School Timetable An example of a basic Calgary High School timetable is set up like this:

8:30am - 9:00 am (30 min.) 9:00am - 10:30am (90 min.)

12:30pm - 2:00pm (90 min.) 2:00pm - 3:30pm (90 min.)

Keep in mind that the class order may change from day to day. Each high school has a different rotation of what order each class is throughout the week.




Tutorials / Mentorship

Tutorials / Mentorship

Tutorials / Mentorship

Tutorials / Mentorship

Tutorials / Mentorship

Class 1 (ex. Math)

Class 1 (ex. Math)

Class 1 (ex. Math)

Class 1 (ex. Math)

Class 1 (ex. Math)

Class 2 (ex. Science)

Class 2 (ex. Science)

Class 2 (ex. Science)

Class 2 (ex. Science)






Class 3 (ex. Physical Education) Class 4 (ex. English)

Class 3 (ex. Physical Education) Class 4 (ex. English)

Class 3 (ex. Physcial Education) Class 4 (ex. English)

Class 3 (ex. Physical Education) Class 4 (ex. English)

Class 3 (ex. Physical Education) Class 4 (ex. English)

Class 2 10:30am - 12:00pm (ex. Science) (90 min.) 12:00pm - 12:30pm (30 min.)


Diploma Requirements Within Alberta High Schools there are requirements for the completion and acceptance of a diploma. The diploma requirements are as follows:

Getting Started - School Life


100 Credits including: • English Language Arts – 30 level • Social Studies – 30 level • Mathematics – 20 level • Science – 20 level • Physical Education – 10 level (3 credits) • Career and Life Management – 10 level (3 credits) • 10 Credits in any elective course the school has to offer • 10 Credits in any 30 level course (in addition to English Language Arts – 30 level, and Social Studies – 30 level)

If there are any questions or concerns, please visit the Alberta High School Diploma Requirements document at Requirements.pdf

Page 20 - Canadian Customs - International Student Homestay Handbook Before First Day Before your first day at school make sure you go through on how to get to school, with the help of your host family. Also make sure you buy all the basic school supplies needed, like pencils and paper. You could always print out a map of your school and star where all of your classes are, or ask your host family if you could visit the school first and where you can visit your classrooms.

Getting Started - School Life

First Day On your first of school carry with you a timetable of your classes so that you know when and where to go. You should also make sure to be familiar with where everything is in the school, for example; the office, where the international counsellor is, bathrooms and all your different classrooms. Your first day might be intimidating, but don’t be shy, ask for help. There are many people around that could help you including, your teachers, students, and your international counsellor. Throughout the day try not to be shy. Try talking to students around you, and compare schedules to see if any of them are in the same classes with you. At lunch time, try talking with other classmates that may be in the same class, or that you had met earlier. This way you are being friendly and you could possibly join them for lunch.This also improves your English by practicing with friends. Throughout Semester Throughout each semester you are expected to do all of the homework and projects that are assigned by the teachers. Majority of your marks are from homework and assignments. To make sure you are keeping on top of your grades you need to focus on your homework. There are many resources for extra help in classes you are taking. You could go to the international counsellor at your school, the guidance counsellor, the culture advisor, ask teachers at what time they have tutorials, or ask you host family if there are websites to help you with tutorials or any study tips.

International Student Homestay Handbook - Canadian Customs - Page 21 When living in a new culture there are many etiquette and formality alterations that should be noted to allow a level of respect for each person you meet. It is best to keep an open mind, and to take note of people around you and how they are greeting each other, or acting throughout the day. Greetings The most common way to greet someone is with a handshake, however at a younger age it is more appropriate just to be introduced or introduce yourself and smile. Try to notice what others are doing around you when greeting people, to get a feel of what to do. Manners Manners are important to not offend anyone and to make friends. It is always important to be respectful and to keep an open mind as to meeting new people and making new friends. Table Manners When dining, make sure to take note of what your host family is doing. How they eat or act around the dinner table can be a guide for how you should also act at the dinner table. Etiquette

Canadians tend to be informal, as everyone calls each other by their first names. All elders (such as parents, or teachers) should be referred to by Mr. or Mrs. and their last name, unless they allow you to refer to them by their first name.

Do’s • • • • • • • •

Do open doors for other people You can sneeze in public into your arm You can blow your nose into tissue Say excuse me to get the attention of a waiter or waitress Refer to your teacher as Mr./Mrs. (their last name) Thank the cook for the meal, if eating at home Offer to help cook, or clean at home Feel free to refuse food, as long as you are respectful and reasonable

Don’ts • • • • • • • • •

Do not spit Do not ask someone their age, unless they are a child Do not ask how much money someone makes Do not slurp while eating soup Do not walk into a home with your shoes on, take them off at the front door Do not arrive late, try to arrive five minutes early or right on time Do not burp or pass gas in public Do not rest your elbows on the dinner table Do not sit too close to others and respect their personal space

Canadian Customs

Canadians pride themselves on being polite and saying ‘please’ when making a request and ‘thank you’ when someone helps them. Try to avoid saying ‘I want...’ and instead say ‘I would like...’ when asking for something. This includes not only your host family and teachers, but also people who serve you in stores and restaurants. For example to get the attention of a waiter or waitress, say ‘Excuse me...”

Page 22 - Well-Being - International Student Homestay Handbook Emotional Well-Being Your initial thoughts of your new culture can be overwhelming, and you may go through stages of culture shock. When this occurs it is important to emotionally keep stable. You can do this by bringing a journal with you where you can write down your thoughts and memories so you can share them when you are home. This allows you to write out your feelings and to express yourself. There are contacts as your school including the guidance counsellor, the international counsellor and the culure advisor if you need help. with anything. Physical Well-Being Make sure you are being provided healthy meals and snacks. Don’t be shy to ask your host family for healthy foods, or even offer to cook for them to share some of your own cuisine. As well as eating well, you should be keeping active by taking a gym class in school or doing weekly physical activities. Beside being healthy, you should also maintain personal hygiene. Canadians usually shower once every one or two days. You can do laundry once a week or once every two weeks, but make sure the clothes you wear are clean. You should also make sure to keep up your oral hygiene by brushing twice a day. Usually Canadians like to brush once in the morning and once at night. By keeping up on your overall hygiene you will be able to make more friends. Spiritual Well-Being Allow yourself to have reflection time, quiet time or spiritual devotion. If you wish to attend a place of worship, ask your host family for the closest one. Whether or not your host family attends, they will be able to allow you to go and either provide a ride or provide you with the bus route to get you there. Academic Well-Being


Being in school may be difficult, and it may be even more difficult being a new English speaker. If you require extra help, don’t hesitate to ask your host family for resources or ask your school for times that you can go to tutorials. A way to make sure you are keeping on top of your homework, and class work is to get a good amount of sleep. You should make sure not to spend too much time on the internet, or watching television, as it can affect your sleep. By getting a good night sleep you are allowing yourself to be awake

International Student Homestay Handbook - Medical - Page 23 It is mandatory all students studying at the Calgary Board of Education have medical insurance before coming to Canada. Pharmacies Pharmacies are easy to find, and you will be provided with free advice on whcih non-prescription medication may help. Walk-In Clinics Walk-in clinics are also easy to find, where you can see a doctor for advice, when the condition is not an emergency. Urgent Care South Calgary Health Centre 31 Sunpark Paza S.E. Calgary, AB T2X3W5 Phone: 403-943-9300

It is mandatory that all students studying at the Calgary Board of Education have medical insurance. For information on your student health insurance, visit

Sheldon M. Shumir Health Centre 1213 - 4th Street S.W. Calgary, AB T2R0X7 Phone: 403-955-6200 Hospitals If there is an emergency do not hesitate to go to a hospital or call 9-1-1 for an ambulance. Foothills Medical Centre 1403 – 29th Street N.W. Calgary, AB T2N 2T9 Phone: 403-944-1110 Rocky View General Hospital 7007 – 14th Street S.W. Calgary, AB T2V1P9 If you are staying for one year or more, then you Phone: 403-943-3000 are eligible for Alberta Personal Health Card. Visit

Peter Lougheed Centre 3500 - 26th Avenue N.E. Calgary, AB T1Y6J4 Phone: 403-943-4555


Alberta Children’s Hospital for more information. 2888 Shaganappi Trail N.W. Calgary, AB T3B6A8 Phone: 403-955-8818

International Student Homestay Handbook - Resources - Page 24 Life in Canada Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Canadian Culture Shock Student Health for Culture Shock Calgary Tourism Calgary Airport Travel Alberta The Calgary Stampede Student Support

Kids Help Phone High School Diploma Requirements Canadian Etiquette and Etiquette. html

Important Document Information Canadian Study Permit


Student Resources Canada Post Office Calgary Weather Network Skype Calgary Board of Education The Calgary Board of Education Global Learning Services

Homestay Handbook  
Homestay Handbook  

A handbook on homestay for international students coming to Calgary