Maryluz and her partner, Maryjo run 3 English language schools in Vigo, which is located in the northern part of Spain and is a very large port that even cruise ships stop at.  Maryluz has been coming to Canada for 20+ years now with some of her students to immerse them in the English language.  The ability to speak English is very highly prized in Spain.  The parents of her students did not like the fact that the students were together every day, taking English classes but not using their English skills at recess, lunch or in the afternoons on their excursions.  Maryluz decided that she would offer a program for her students which would provide more immersion and integration with a family.  Maryluz and Maryjo have been coming as Schoolhouse International Student Programs for the last 8 years.  The school has also sent students to Ireland and Boston as well as Durham Region.

What is Schoolhouse International Student Programs?

 

S.I.S.P. is a Spanish language school founded in 1989 in Vigo, Spain.  As a private language school, we specialize in teaching foreign languages to children and teens as well as organize programs abroad with a variety of destinations in different parts of the world.  We always accompany our students personally so as to supervise and assist them as well as facilitate communication between host families, students and Local Coordinators.

 

What is our immersion program about?

 

The aim of this program is for our students to experience the Canadian was of life and improve their level of English by living with a Host Family for a month hoping there will be a genuine cultural exchange between the student and the family.  It is important that the student be with a Host Family with children as we know from past experiences that many long lasting friendships are established.  This often results in private visits between the student's family and their new Canadian family, in the future.

 

What is the Host Family expected to do?

 

The role of the Host Family is to provide a warm family atmosphere as well as food and accommodation according to the family Homestay Agreement.  As this is a Total Immersion Program, the students do not go to school every day.  Nevertheless, they do have activities and trips planned with their group which will take place 2 or 3 times per week.

 

Does the Host Family have input into the selection of the student?

 

Host Families may request male or female and age preferance.  All Host Families will receive a profile of their student with a detailed questionnaire including a letter and pictures as well as medical history.  We try to match whenever possible the hobbies and interests of the student with those of the Host Family.

 

Will the host family be expected to take the student out?

 

It is important for the Host Families to take the students out (not necessarily to expensive places) and help them explore the part of Canada where they live.

 

Do the students come with a Group Leader?

 

There is a Group Leader from Spain with the students for the full month.  The Local Coordinator will be in close contact with the students and Host Families.

 

What happens in the event of an illness or accident?

 

All students are fully insured before leaving Spain for any medical problem that might occur in Canada.  If the student is sick, the Host Family should immediately contact the Local Coordinator and/or the student's Group Leader.  They will make an appointment with the Doctor or take the student to the Hospital as they are in possession of the relevant insurance information.

 

May students telephone home?

 

Students may telephone home collect using a special 1-800 number they receive from their Group Leader.  Of course students should never use the Host Family's phone without permission.

 

Is the Host Family expected to do the student's laundry?

 

Once again they should be treated as a member of the family and be incorporated into the usual family laundry routine.

 

Are the students allowed to go out?

 

Students are expected to spend the majority of their time with their Host Families.  In fact, most students are free to go away weekends with their families.  However, if the student wishes to go out, heéshe must always ask the Host Family's permission.  Students should always have a Host Family member or other Canadian with them when they go out, for their own safety.  The students are not allowed to go out with their Spanish friends by themselves.  A recommended curfew for students is 10pm.  If there is a dispute regarding a student going out, the Group Leader and Local Coordinator would be consulted to resolve the issue.