The Squamish Host Family Program

Quest University Canada – a beautiful university located on a 60-acre hilltop campus on the edge of Garibaldi Provincial Park, in Squamish, BC. Quest is known for its diversity in student body, considering the fact that there are students from more than 40 countries in this University.


Flags of each country represented at Quest are hanged on the ceiling of the cafeteria.

Since there are students from all over the world, Quest offers different support services like assistance with transporting, employment options (on and off campus), medical insurance, health services, holiday and vacation housing options, and last but not least a host program.

The Squamish Host Family Program allows Quest students to develop off-campus connections to further enrich their living and learning experiences. Squamish host families share aspects of Squamish living and Canadian culture with students over meals on or off-campus, local hikes and outdoor activities, community events, and day trips. Hosting a student is a great experience because you exchange cultures, and develop lifelong connections.

This program has been offered since Quest University Canada’s second year of operation, and the Dean of Students at Quest, Melanie Koenderman, founded it.

Since I am an international student from Kosova, as soon as I heard about this program at Quest, I contacted Krista Lambie (International and Accessibility Services Coordinator). Last year I went to the U.S.  as an exchange student, because I had a great time and learned so much from my host parents, I was very excited to do it again this year. Even though I do live on campus (I lived with my host parents last year), I still often meet my host family from Squamish.

Claire & Jim (my host parents) and I after a lovely dinner together.

My host parents are Jim (a residential designer) and Claire (a nurse who works in mental health).  They have two children: Nico and Nina, whom are both University students studying in engineering and Resource Management respectively. The whole family loves travelling and the outdoors (something we have in common). Jim and Claire speak English, French, Spanish, and a little bit of Portuguese. For over ten years, they have lived and worked in different places like Nicaragua, Mozambique, Angola, and Zimbabwe. Their reason for becoming a host family is: To share the beauty of our area and introduce the students to local outdoors recreational  opportunities. This is their first year participating in the program.

Another reason why I like this program so much is that I share my host parents with Carlos, a first year student from Rwanda. Through this program I have learned more about Carlos’ life, his family traditions, and his county’s story.


4 Responses

  1. studentbed

    This is really informative post and I personally would like to appreciate the efforts. We are also dealing in same field hence found this informative to add in our process also. Once again thanks for your post.

  2. studentbed

    It’s very informative and i am sure it will help many other people like the way it helps me. Thanks for the information.


    […] Almost three years ago, I came to Canada for the first time in my life. Since then I have gained several new experiences and skills, such as learning how to drive and becoming a ‘pro’ tour guide. However, by living in Squamish – the Recreational Capital of Canada – I have developed a passion for the outdoors. I have had the chance to go hiking, swimming, and biking in the surrounding mountains, lakes, and rivers. In such a short time I have come a very long way, from barely enjoying outdoor sports to loving them. This passion for the outdoors has truly developed because of the amazing location that Quest has, but also because of my amazing host family. […]

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