Student guests help prepare dessert for their holiday hosts.Student guests help prepare dessert for their holiday hosts.

Host program to open local homes to international students

International students come to Canada hoping to learn about its cultures and people, says Brunilda Gjini. That’s why she is excited to help organize the Host for the Holidays program.

A project of the International Students Centre, it matches international students with local families willing to open their homes for a Thanksgiving meal.

“This is a chance for us to learn about some Canadian traditions,” says Gjini, a native of Albania who arrived in Windsor in January to begin studies in business and economics. “We all came to Canada because we love it.”

She is looking for at least 60 host homes and says the holiday is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the welcoming culture Canada is famous for.

“You are giving someone a feeling that they have a family for the day,” Gjini says. “That is a wonderful feeling to share.”

The program is now accepting applications from prospective hosts and will open to guests after October 1. Organizers will match hosts with guests based on a number of factors—dietary preferences, tolerance for pets, timing of the meal, and even convenience of transportation.

Thanksgiving weekend runs October 10 to 12. Find more information, including online applications, on the program website,