Being a homestay host provides great insights into other cultures and can be a very rewarding cultural exchange experience.
Life-long friendships are often established throughout the process. It is not a matter of simply renting out a room in your house.
Students choose to pay for homestay accommodation during their study because it offers them the opportunity to be part of a good family environment. They like to be treated like members of the family.
If you would like to be a Homestay Provider for our international students, please contact Corinne Van Put on 07 5525 9394 or email email@example.com
An information package will be provided to you containing a Homestay Booklet, Blue Card application and relevant forms to become a Homestay Provider. Please download the forms on the right for more information.
Homestay Information for Students
At PBC we offer a Homestay Program to suit a variety of needs. Our families go through a thorough screening process to ensure they are suitable for our program. We take great care in matching the student’s requirements and interests with their host family. It is very common for Australian families to have pets such as cats and dogs. It is therefore important for students to let us know their requirements in advance.
The majority of our families reside within a 2-6 kilometre radius of the school and all have access to public transport or are within walking distance from the school.
We know from experience that the homestay environment is one of the most important aspects of a student’s program in Australia. Therefore we try our best to ensure a good match is made.
Should students experience any concerns regarding their homestay arrangement they can speak to the International Student Coordinator at the school.
Homestay and Cultural Differences
The way Australian families live may be different from the way you live in your home country.
When you have homestays with an Australian family you are usually considered part of the family. The Australian families that take international students for homestay are generally considerate, kind people who try to understand the cultural differences between themselves and their international students. You also, need to try to understand these differences so that your homestay is a good experience for you.
The following is general information to help you prepare for homestay. Your school will provide you with more specific information.
Australian families are not all the same
Australian families, like families everywhere, differ from each other in many ways. This is especially so because Australia is a multi-cultural country. It has been settled by people from all over the world, including Europe and Asia. There is freedom of religion in Australia and people practise many different religions (for example, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism).
In Australia, families do not normally have household help and, frequently, both parents work. Therefore, it is usual for all members of the family to be expected to help with household tasks. These might include helping with food preparation and clean-up, keeping their own room clean, and washing and ironing their own clothes. In many families, the children prepare their own breakfast and lunch and a parent (usually the mother, but sometimes the father) prepares the evening meal.
The food eaten by Australian families and the customs associated with eating depend on the cultural background of the family. For example, families from European background eat mainly European food, although many families like to try different types of food and may buy or cook dishes from China, Mexico, Thailand, Lebanon, etc. Breakfast, for many Australians, consists of cereal or toast, and perhaps fruit and a juice drink. Lunch is often sandwiches and fruit or cake. All members of the family normally eat their evening meal together. This meal is often a time for discussion and sharing of information about what has happened during the day. European families, while encouraging their children to join in discussions at meal time, consider noisy eating (e.g. loud chewing, slurping, chewing with your mouth open) to be impolite.
Australians, especially European Australians, tend to express their emotions openly. They are usually not embarrassed about showing others that they are angry, happy, sad, etc. Many Australians find it quite acceptable to openly disagree with another person’s opinion, as long as this is done in a non-aggressive, reasonable manner. In most cases, it is also considered acceptable to discuss personal problems with other people, especially friends, family and trained professionals (e.g. guidance officers in schools). Australian parents encourage their children to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when they ask for something and to apologise (say ‘I am sorry’) when they upset someone.
Most Australian homes have a kitchen, living room (where the family may watch TV, entertain friends, etc), bedrooms, laundry and bathroom. The bathroom usually contains a bath or shower or both. Sometimes the toilet is also located in the bathroom and toilet paper, not water, is used.
When Australians bathe, they usually do so in the bath or shower cubicle so water does not splash on the bathroom floor. If there are many people in the family, water (especially hot water) may be scarce and family members must limit the length of time they spend bathing. Water may also be scarce in time of drought, and each person must be very careful not to waste water, and to shower only for a short time.
Talking to the Family
It is normal to feel nervous when you first meet your homestay family. You will begin to feel happier when you get to know the family better. Talking to your homestay family about any worries or questions you have when you first arrive will help you adjust to living in a new country.
If you do not speak English well, you can still communicate. Write down what you want to say if your written English is better than your spoken English. Draw a picture of what you want to say. Use your bilingual dictionary. Mime or act out your message. Ask another student to interpret for you or use the telephone interpreter service (your homestay can tell you about this).
If you spend most of your time in your room with the door closed, the homestay family may think you do not like them. So, spend some time each day with the family; talking, watching TV, or helping the family with household tasks. Tell the homestay family about your culture and find out about theirs.
Make the most of your Homestay Experience
Staying in homestay gives you the opportunity to:
- Learn about Australian culture
- Make friends with Australians
- Improve your English language skills
- Share information about your culture
- Adjust to a new country while living in a safe and caring environment