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Picking the Perfect Homestay

Are you coming to Australia and want to live with a host family? Learn here how to pick one that matches with your expectations!

When it comes to studying abroad, choosing the perfect accommodation is a really big deal. We all want a place where we can feel comfortable at and that meets all our other expectations. Choosing a homestay, most of the times, can be quite convenient, besides being mandatory for those students who are under 18 and who come alone to study here.
Even though this is not compulsory for students above 18, many of them still choose this option because of the uncountable advantages that it brings. Dipping into the local culture and improving speaking skills are some of the most rewarding experiences for students living in homestays, but there are many more positive things about this kind of residence.

Homestay Advantages

  1. You can learn about the true Australian culture by having contact with their lifestyle, diet and type of leisure. And believe us, it makes a whole lot of difference to those that are trying to assimilate the local habits.
  2. Australia is a multi-cultural country. Here you’ll find people from all over the world and comprehend how to respect other cultures is a must. It is likely that your future homestay will have other students from diverse countries and it will help you to understand backgrounds that might not be similar to yours, besides improving your communication skills. Imagine how exciting it will be to have a bunch of friends from different nationalities!
  3. They can be more affordable than other types of accommodation because usually families provide meals, bills and other services included in your weekly rent fee.
  4. Generally, education providers have agreements with homestays and they can make the arrangements for the students. They carefully analyse the students’ requirements and pick the most suitable family for them.
  5. Homestays are reviewed by the local government and are regularly checked to ensure everything is genuine and legal. This way, students and their parents can be more relaxed.

Overall, overseas students enjoy their time when living in a homestay and they can recognise the benefits of this type of accommodation. However, it is also common to hear complaints, especially about the cultural differences.  Being introduced to an environment with a completely different dynamic can cause a lot of confusion on students’ minds.

One of the most frequent complaints regarding cross-cultural differences is about the restrictions that many houses have with bathing time. Australia has limited fresh water resources and due to this everyone here is really conscious about saving water. But there are no major dramas about it, students just need to learn how to control themselves and not be too wasteful.
It is important that international students understand the concept of living abroad and remember that it can often involve a change on their attitudes. Cultural and geographical shocks are inevitable, but students will eventually get adapted to it. It is only a matter of expressing themselves in a polite and timely manner.

Never forget: Communication is the perfect exercise in the process of learning a new language. Through that, one can absorb the most authentic English grammar and idioms. Furthermore, it is through strong communication skills that one will be able to express their emotions, exchange ideas and make social connections. So, do not panic! Go ahead and don’t be shy.

Of course, if you are an international student and you’re feeling uncomfortable about something regarding your homestay, you should definitely contact who arranged that for you. Everything will be made to assure you have nice stay during your studies in Australia.
And if you’re having communication issues you can always give feedback to your school and ask for your teachers help.

How to choose the correct homestay:

There are many aspects that have to be taken into account when choosing a homestay, such as:

  • Homestay parents:
    Because of multiculturality, students can be lucky and find families that have a similar cultural background. It can help them to create a bond with their host families more easily, however it might not help them to develop their language skills.
    A local family will help students to practice and learn quicker, as well as helping them to integrate and assimilate the new environment.
  • Homestay members:
    Usually, host families have more than one international student living in their home. It can be a great opportunity for them to build a friendship and discover things together. It is even better when the housemates study in the same school, so they can make company to one another.
  • Transportation:
    Look in advance if the intended homestay has a convenient form of transportation to your school. In Australia there are buses, trains and light rails everywhere and some of the options are express. It is relatively easy to go back and forth; however, it would be nice to avoid spending too much time on your daily trips.
  • Homestay qualifications:
    In Australia, it is common for the schools to recommend reliable homestay companies. This service is licensed by the Education Bureau and the families are regularly subjected to government and school supervision in order to protect the students’ safety.

One of the many homestays that Times Academy recommends to students.

Homestay Cases

What if you choose the homestay and you don’t adjust well to it? This is not a problem, it is always possible to find a back-up. Below you can see two cases of students that decided to change the homestay they initially chose:
Case 1: Inconvenient Location
Many students are not familiar with the city and they can end up choosing a house that is too far from their college. This year our consultants helped a new student move to a different homestay due to this reason. In this case, we got in touch with the homestay provider and requested a list of eligible hosts. Our team along with the student evaluated the available options and picked the most suitable one.
Case 2: Choosing a New Host Family
Sometimes it happens that a student doesn’t feel comfortable enough with a particular host family, so they prefer a different option. One of our students decided moving to another residence and our teachers helped him book a car and contact a moving company. After that, our team kept following up with the student to ensure he was finally meeting his expectations.

Homestay Application Process

When enrolling to your course at Times Academy, students need to fill our Application Form. There they can tick the “Homestay” option and write down other relevant requirements.
To use the service, students need to pay a fee* so the Homestay Company can start searching for host families’ profiles. These profiles contain important details such as address, nearby transportation, family members, occupation, cultural background and if they own any pets. With this information the student will be able to make a decision based on the profile they like the most.
The weekly costs for accommodation vary between $300-$350 per week, and they often include meals.

*Fee is not refundable if the student decides to cancel the service. 

We know that studying overseas is a huge challenge and choosing the right place to live can make this experience much better. Our staff likes to look after our students’ safety and wellbeing and our English Preparation Programs are designed to introduce important aspects of the Australian culture into our syllabus. Times Academy also focuses on integrating multicultural elements in the classroom, as well as cultivating morals and values. We want to ensure a strong support for our students, providing services that can guide them along their way in Australia. So, if you have any questions about any matter such as accommodation, do not hesitate to contact our consultants.

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