Would you like to build friendship with a Canadian family?

Friends for Dinner

Hosts from all over the city are happy to welcome international students into their homes for a Christmas meal, an Easter gathering, a Thanksgiving dinner, or simply a casual dinner to share about cultures and to build friendship.

Interested by the idea, but feel a bit nervous about what it is like? Below we’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions that will help you to get a better idea.


Who are the people behind this?

Friends for Dinner is an initiative taken by local churches and Christians ministries. The goal is to connect local families with international students in order to show them Canadian hospitality and build friendships.

Who can participate as a guest?

If you are an international student living in Canada, you are eligible! Simply make sure that Friends for Dinner is running in your city. As of Thanksgiving 2015, we were running in these seven cities: Ottawa, Montreal, Sherbrooke, Waterloo, Saskatoon, Kamloops and Vancouver. Friends for Dinner is constantly working to partner with local churches and ministries in order to expand this friendship program to more places.

Who are those host families?

No family is the same. Some families were born in Canada while others were immigrants who have become Canadians after living in Canada for many years. Some traveled a lot in other countries, whereas others have stayed in Canada for most of their lives. Some are quite shy and others are quite extroverted. Some are single people, others are married couples, some have children, and yet others are grandparents. But all the host families at Friends for Dinner have one thing in common – they are Christians who love to connect and be a friend to international students!

Is it secure?

Since all of our host families are members who attend a local church, they are all asked during registration to provide a reference from a leader or a pastor of the church they attend. The Friends for Dinner team will carefully go through the vouching process in order to ensure that all registered hosts are reliable people and families to receive international students for a dinner at their place.

What does a dinner with a host family look like?

Normally, it’s simply a casual dinner with members of the host family. Some families may also invite their friends. The type of meal really varies from one family to another. If there is any food you cannot eat (e.g. pork, beef, lamb); if you are vegetarian; or if you have food allergies, make sure to mention it on your registration.

After the dinner, some families may invite you to play social games and others may simply want to chat with you. Your host family would love to hear about you, your home country, your family and your culture. You may also ask about their hobbies, their travel experiences and their culture. Sharing is a great way to learn and get to know each other.

In terms of language, host families typically speak English, French or both. Some families who come from other countries and have lived in Canada for many years may also speak their former language. If you have a preference between English or French, make sure to mention it on your registration.

Is there a cost?

No, there’s absolutely no cost. This friendship program is absolutely free as a way to help international students to build a sense of belonging in a new city.

How does it work?

If you are ready to take this experience, click here to read about the step by step guide on how it works.