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Family Boarding

What is Family Boarding at GNS?

The goal of the Family Boarding Program is to provide a welcoming, safe, supportive, English-speaking, family environment for students from other countries by arranging for them to live with GNS families; either current parents or staff. Every effort is made to match the most appropriate student to a particular family—creating a comfortable and positive experience for everyone.

List of 3 items.

  • A Home Away from Home

    A great Family Boarding environment is a home away from home for the student. Living far away from your family and friends can be difficult and lonely. Family Boarding host families are expected to care and nurture their student, much like they would their own children, thus contributing to the his/her success improving their English language skills, understanding of other cultures, and the overall experience studying at GNS and living in Canada.
  • About Our Coordinator

    Our Family Boarding Coordinator, Vasi Urvanova (, is here to ensure that each student is matched thoughtfully and carefully with their host family. We offer a level of personalized service that makes us stand apart.
  • The Experience

    Providing an international student with the best possible experience requires tremendous communication, coordination and effort on the part of the student, their teachers, support staff, the Host Family and their parents. Family Boarding students are important members of the GNS community who add cultural diversity to the school and enrich the experiences of peers and teachers alike.

Stories from Our Students

Family Boarding FAQ

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: Is the Family Boarding Program for GNS families only?

    The ideal Family Boarding profile would be a GNS family or a GNS staff member. This ensures the utmost quality and standards are met as there is an understanding of shared values and goals. However, we will evaluate alternative options on a case-by-case basis.
  • Q: What are the general requirements and expectations of a host family?

    • To provide a safe, caring, comfortable and friendly home;
    • To include student(s) in family activities;
    • To provide a private furnished room, study space (desk) and closet;
    • To provide students with nutritious food for all meals and snacks;
    • To provide transportation to and from school and extra-curricular activities;
    • To be sensitive to cultural differences;
    • To provide the same care and attention you would for your own family members!
    The above is a list of general requirements; detailed requirements, expectations and guidelines are outlined in The GNS Family Boarding Host Handbook available from the Family Boarding Coordinator.
  • Q: How do I apply to become a host for the Family Boarding Program?

    The first step in applying to become a host for the Family Boarding Program would be to complete the online form or contact our Family Boarding Coordinator, Vasi Urvanova, via email ( or phone (250.370.6838).
    The Family Boarding Coordinator will be able to answer any specific questions you may have. The application process is, understandably, very thorough: it is of the utmost importance that the match between family and student is as thoughtful and complementary as possible.
  • Q: What is the definition of a GNS Family Boarding Home?

    GNS defines a Family Boarding home as a safe and inviting place where students from outside of Victoria can enjoy living, as they share fully in the daily life of a Canadian family.

    The Family Boarding home is an important part of the GNS community; it’s a program that takes the commitment inherent in being an IB World and a Round Square School one step further by living and sharing these values in an actual home.
  • Q: What is the length of the Family Boarding Program? What about school holidays?

    A full-length family boarding program is a 10-month program inclusive of holiday time. Generally, Family Boarding students go home for the Christmas holidays, but that is not always the case.

    Individual arrangements—which might involve another family—are possible, but they would involve a surcharge.

    Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the Family Boarding Coordinator to ensure that there is a clear understanding between host family and Family Boarding student—before the school year begins—with regard to travel plans during holidays.


Review our Frequently Asked Questions or fill out the inquiry form to learn more about our Family Boarding Program.

Glenlyon Norfolk School

Junior School (JK to Grade 5)

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