Episode 29: Building Student Connections Through a Foundation of Boundaries with Dean Fox

Today, we chat with Dean Fox, a veteran homestay host with his wife and two kids. Dean shares with us his perspective of being a homestay Dad with a very practical and matter of fact frame of mind. He describes how miscommunication can happen even when no words are being used and how his family even vacationed to Disneyland with another student.


Each student has separate, distinct connections with every member of your family. These connections build bonds to strengthen those networks, especially in a crisis. Or perhaps those connections could never be linked. Some relationships are not meant to be and having an awareness of these friendships, or lack thereof, are key to successful placements of international students. We hope you enjoy Dean’s insights into making a connection with students and how providing a good foundation of boundaries leads to success.

Dean Fox

Key Points From This Episode:

  • We reminisce about cake and skittles.
  • Dean tells us how he got into hosting students.
  • Miscommunication happens a lot when hosting. Dean shares a story about hosting his first student… and the long ride she went on!
  • We discuss cultural differences.
  • Dean opens up about how he puts students at ease in the beginning.
  • On the topic of boundaries and being strict, Dean shares a story about catching a student breaking the rules.
  • Wondering how to manage kids of your own, all their activities AND hosting?
  • The challenges of hosting and the need for boundaries… and a dog with a bone.
  • We talk about how student meals are prepared in each of our homes.
  • Dean describes the interesting lunch his student prepared day after day.
  • Dean fesses up on which student was his favourite.
  • We talk about eating disorders in students.
  • Dean shares his experience on building bonds with students during moments of crisis.
  • Dean chats more about his favourite student and the family adventures they went on.
Rikako and the family
  • Preparing for a new student… after the bar has been set high.
  • When student placements don’t work out.
  • We chat about building student connections.
  • Dean talks about his toughest student and how he navigated the placement.
  • Dean’s advice before committing to hosting.
  • Dean reflects on his favourite moments from hosting.
  • Dean describes the most mouthwatering favourite meals he would eat with his students.
  • Finally, Dean reveals his secret to building trust and getting to know students.

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