Application Instructions - Golden Hills School Division



Thank you for your interest in becoming a homestay family with Golden Hills School Division, a safe and innovative place for students to study abroad. Golden Hills School Division encompasses a vast geographical area across rural mid-eastern Alberta. We value our diverse environments and our communities, which are rich with culture and educational opportunities.


Golden Hills School Division hosts hundreds of international students each year from all over the world. These students are inspired by outstanding teachers and are welcomed with open arms by the communities in which they live. Each of our homestay families nurtures and encourages students and helps make their residences both a place they can call home and a sanctuary where they can relax and study. In the past few years, we have hosted international students in Strathmore, Drumheller, Three Hills, Trochu, Carseland, and Standard, as well as in rural areas in Wheatland and Kneehill Counties. Our international students do not board with or rent from a homestay; they are expected to become one of the family. The International Program depends on a strong network of homestay families and we thank you for considering the opportunity to open your doors and welcome a student into your home.


We recommend all applicants first consult our Frequently Asked Questions below which we hope will address some of the questions you may have. If you have any other questions about becoming a homestay, please phone or email us (see below for contact information).





This online application will take between 15 and 30 minutes to complete and is expected to be completed by an adult who is interested in hosting an international student. You will be able to save your progress and return to the application later, as long as you complete the application within three weeks (21 days) of starting it. The application will not be submitted until all required steps are complete. Once we receive your application, a homestay coordinator will contact you. In some cases, we will require additional information before we can accept an application. We will inform you if additional information is required.


If you are approved as a homestay family, a Vulnerable Sector Check (RCMP) and Intervention Record Check (Alberta Child and Family Services) will be required from everyone living in the home age 18 or older before we can place a student in your home. We recommend that you do not pursue the Vulnerable Sector Check until after you are approved as a homestay family, as many detachments and municipalities charge a fee for this service. The Intervention Record Check has no cost associated with it.


Although we welcome all homestay applications, we cannot guarantee placement of an international student in your home (even if you're approved). Suitable matches are made based on information provided by homestay families and international students, and decisions are made at the sole discretion of the homestay coordinator.





The personal information requested herein by Golden Hills International is being collected to coordinate the needs of both the applicant and Golden Hills School Division in order to determine the applicant's suitability as a homestay and the best possible match of one or more international students. Information is collected in accordance with the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act, the Alberta School Act, and all regulations thereto. The information collected is protected by the FOIP Act. If you have any questions about the collection of this information, please contact Golden Hills International at 1 (800) 320-3739 (toll-free), +1 (403) 934-5121, or at





If you have any questions during your online application, please contact:



Golden Hills School Division

Phone: Phone: +1 (403) 934-5121 (ext. 2054 for Strathmore or ext. 2033 for Drumheller/Three Hills/Trochu).


Our office is open Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time (closed holidays and Fridays in July and August).





Q.  What countries do students come from?
A. The composition of students changes each year, but this year Golden Hills will host students from 30 different countries. These include (among others) Belgium, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.


Q. Can the students speak English when they arrive?
A. All of our students have studied English before arriving in Alberta, but the level of skill will vary. The more that students study in Canada and converse with your family, the better they'll get.


Q. What age are the students?
A. Most students in Golden Hills are in Junior High or Senior High. Students in Elementary will usually be accommpanied by one of their parents. Some students may be as old as 19 or 20, as it often takes students longer to complete Alberta High School graduation requirements given that English is usually their second (or third) language.


Q. How many students can we host in our home?
A. Most homestay families host one or two students, but each home is considered on its own to determine a potential number of students. Each student must have his or her own room with a bed, closet or wardrobe, desk, chair, and lamp. Bathrooms can be shared.


Q. Will we become the legal guardians of our student?
A. Legal guardianship involves the courts and is never done for international students—students' parents remain their legal guardians. Rather, there is a term called custodianship which involves financial responsibility and an onus to ensure the student's well-being. Unlike most school divisions, Golden Hills appoints a staff member as custodian to prevent you, as homestay parents, from shouldering that requirement. Homestay parents are asked not to cosign contracts or agreements (including cell phone contracts) or sign immunization or FOIP forms unless permission is provided by the homestay coordinator.


Q. What do I do if my student is sick?
A. Homestay parents are expected to treat their students as they would their own child. If the school calls to say the student needs to come home, you are responsible for picking them up. If the student needs medical attention, you are responsible to arrange it. All students have medical insurance that covers most doctor or clinic visits, trips to the emergency room, emergency dental procedures, emergency vision exams, and prescriptions. Any fees not covered are expected to be covered by the student and/or their natural parents or legal guardians. Ultimately, it is a shared effort between you as homestay parents and our program to satisfy a duty of care for your student.


Q. What are the rules involving alcohol and drugs?
A. International students—even when they are the age of majority—are prohibited from consuming or posessing alcohol and drugs (including cannabis) while in our program. Your family is free to enforce stricter rules (e.g., no tobacco) even when students are 18 and older.


Q. Are students allowed to drive?
A. Students may not drive while in the program.


Q. How do students get around?
A. Students will get to school by walking or school bus. There are frequent trips arranged by our team that give students a chance to see the province (e.g., Banff, Lake Louise, Calgary, Edmonton, etc.). We invite and encourage you to take your student places with you as a family. Students can only travel in vehicles driven by drivers authorized by Golden Hills, including homestay parents (you and the others), bus drivers, and division staff. Students cannot drive with other students. 


Q. What expenses am I expected to cover?
A. Homestay families are paid a monthly stipend per student per month to cover the added costs of having an additional family member in the home. The money is not taxable, as it is not income and is expected to be used to cover costs such as food, water, sewer, heat, electricity, Internet, preparatory supplies (bed, desk, lamp, bedding and linens, etc.), and family activities. Students are expected to pay for their own school activities, social activities with friends, and personal items.


If you, as a parent, decide the family will go out for dinner and a movie, the expectation would be that the student's costs would be covered by you as that is a family activity. However, if the student asks to be dropped off at the theatre to hang out with friends, your help transporting them to the theatre would be appreciated wherever possible but the cost of the movie and snacks would be up to the student.


For larger activities, such as skiing, most students will be prepared to pay those costs (including rentals and lift tickets). These costs should be discussed as a family beforehand.


Q. Can I take my student on family trips or vacations?
A. Absolutely. Please just give us some notice so we can confirm everything with their parents or guardians. All costs should be discussed as a family before the trip, not after.


Q. What if we are going on a trip and can't take our student?
A. Please contact your homestay coordinator with plenty of notice for assistance with arranging temporary accommodations for your student. Students cannot stay in a home on their own without adult supervision.