What is Homestay?
Homestay is a cultural exchange between a local individual or family (called a host) and a visiting international student. The student lives as a guest in the home with the host.
Does AHN comply with any Homestay Standards?
AHN have been the industry leaders in Homestay Standards throughout Australia. Click here for full details of the standards we adhere to.
How does homestay work?
When living in a homestay you will be provided with your own room, meals (if required) and a space to study in a welcoming and friendly environment. Whilst living with your host family you will communicate and get to know each other. You will learn about the local area, community and customs. Your host family will also be eager to get to know you, learn about your family, country and culture.
What are the costs?
When you apply you will need to pay a one time only placement fee of $240, along with your initial weekly fees (normally 28 nights). Weekly fees cover the cost of:
- Utilities (excluding internet)
- Emergency telephone support
- Administration fees
- Weekly fees vary depending on your level of service and which area of Australia you are living in. Find out what the local costs are across Australia by clicking here.
How close will I live to my education provider?
You will be placed in a homestay that is up to 1 hour on public transport. You may need to take a bus or train, or a combination of both. This will all be explained to you by your host. It is important to remember that the focus of living in a homestay is not about convenience, but about the experience and support you have when living in a foreign country.
Does AHN accept students of all ages, in all types of programs?
We have programs for high school, pathway, college and university students which can be both short and long term. Generally, we do not accept students under the age of 12 years unless travelling as part of a study tour (these will be reviewed on a case by case basis). All new students over 18 years old who are arriving for their first term of study are recommended to spend a minimum of 4 weeks in a properly managed AHN homestay prior to making longer term accommodation arrangements.
How do I apply?
What does the application process involve?
When you have lodged you application form, and confirmed your email address you will be assigned to your Customer Care Manager. Shortly after your Customer Care Manager will be in contact, starting with a welcome email and invoice. If you have any questions you can contact them.
When you decide to proceed with your application you will need to make payment of your invoice. It is now a good time to log back into your profile and make sure that any preferences and requirements are listed, along with your arrival details and intended start date for homestay.
Once we receive your payment we will begin looking for a suitable host for you. When we have a host family that matches your preferences we will send to you their summary and your confirmation email. The earlier you make payment the earlier we will be able to begin looking for your family.
What are my responsibilities?
When living in a homestay your responsibilities include helping with household chores, as required, and keeping your bedroom and bathroom clean and tidy. You need to show respect for others and follow the house rules outlined to you. You should keep an open mind and be willing to try new foods and experiences. It is important that you communicate with your host family, any issues can generally be resolved be speaking directly with them.
How long do I have to stay with my host?
The majority of our placements are initially for 28 nights. Some students decide to extend, whilst others choose to move into their own accommodation. If you wish to extend you will need to make payment of your continuing invoice (this will be emailed to you 14 days before the end date of your paid placement). Once we receive your payment we will extend your placement accordingly.
All students must notify their host and Customer Care Manager that they will be departing from their homestay at least 14 days beforehand. If 14 days notice is not given you will need to pay any fees due to honour the notice period.
What support does AHN offer?
When you register with AHN you will have access to our 24/7 emergency contact centre. They will assist you with any urgent emergency issues you may have, including interpreter services. You will also have the support of your dedicated Customer Care Manager and our experienced team during business hours.
What do I call my host?
Ask your host what they prefer to be called. Some hosts prefer to be called by their given name, whilst others may suggest you call them mum/dad.
Where do I store my dirty laundry & how do I wash my clothes?
This will be different in each homestay, it is important that you ask your host to avoid any issues. Ask your host where they would prefer you keep your dirty clothes. Some may prefer you keep in in a basket in your room, while others may ask you to place it in a basket elsewhere in the house. Some hosts will ask that you do your own washing, they will educate you on how to operate the washing machine. Other hosts will prefer to do your washing for you.
I do not know how to iron my clothes, what should I do?
Ask your host to show you where the iron is located and how to operate it. Your host will be able to give you some guidance on how to iron clothes. YouTube will also offer some handy tips.
For how long can I shower?
As water bills can be quite expensive in Australia and because of drought conditions in some cities, we request that you take showers for no longer than 4-5 minutes.
May I have a bath?
Some households do not have a bath or do not use it, others will frequently use theirs. It is best to ask your host if you are able to use the bath, if there is one. If you are able to use the bath it is wise to try and limit the amount of water used. If your host prefers that you do not use the bath you will need to respect this request.
My host has said I do not need to help with washing up after meals, is there anything else I should do?
There are other ways you could help. You may be able to take out the rubbish, wipe down the table, or even prepare the table before the meal. It is always better to offer to help than not do anything.
My host said I should ‘help myself’, what does that mean?
This means that you may take something (a piece of food, or maybe a tissue) without asking.
What does mealtime mean?
This is referring to the time that a specific meal will be served in the home.
Can I put pictures and posters on the wall in my bedroom?
You will need to ask your host if this is okay. If your host is okay with you personalising your room please make sure that nothing is permanently fixed. Only use temporary adhesives.
What is the custom when it is a member of my host family’s birthday?
It is common to wish the person a happy birthday when you first see them for the day. Some people also like to give them a card and/or a gift. This is not expected or necessary when you are living in a homestay.
Are there rooms in my homestay that I am not able to enter into?
Bedrooms in the home are regarded as private areas. You should only enter if you are invited, it is always best to knock first. Common areas, such as the lounge room, are not normally private, and can be enjoyed by everyone in the home.
Where should I store my luggage?
Your room may have space for you to keep your luggage, such as underneath the bed or in the wardrobe. There may also be space available in the household garage, or shed. It is best to speak to your host, they will be able to assist you.
What are the rules around internet usage?
It is best to speak with you host about the use of internet. Different families have different internet packages. Some may have limited data available, while others will have unlimited data. Before downloading or streaming content you should be aware of any limitations.
What are my responsibilities whilst living in homestay accomodation?
When living in a homestay your responsibilities include helping with household chores as required, and keeping your bedroom and bathroom areas clean and tidy. You need to show respect for others and follow the house rules outlined to you. You should keep an open mind and be willing to try new foods and experiences. It is important that you communicate with your host family, any issues can generally be resolved be speaking directly with them.
Am I allowed to bring alcohol into my homestay?
You will need to ask permission from your host first. Some families will be okay with this request, others may not. You will need to respect their preferences either way. You will need to also obey local drinking laws, including the minimum drinking age of 18.
What time do I need to turn down my music, finish making phone calls or stop talking on Skype?
Curfew and quiet times need to be discussed with your host, each family is different. Generally noise after 10:00pm is not appreciated. You may need to negotiate call times if you a contacting family and friends back home.
I prefer to stay up late studying when my host family are asleep, is this okay?
If you prefer to stay up late in your room, this is okay, as long as you are quiet. No one appreciates being kept awake at night. Everyone has different sleep and study patterns, you need to work out what works best with your host.
Do I need to inform my host if I am leaving the home?
It is polite to inform your host that you will be heading outside, and when you intend to return. You need to inform your host if you will not be home for any meals, and if you intend on staying out overnight. If you are under the age of 18 you need to be home for dinner each night, and are not allowed to stay out overnight.
Am I allowed to invite guests into my homestay?
You will need to ask your host if they are happy for you to have guests in their home. Some hosts are okay with you having guests over, as long as you inform then with ample notice. Others will ask that you do not have guests over, and meet them outside away from the home.
My host has not given me a key to the house because of the security system, what should I do?
Please contact you AHN Customer Care Manager during work hours to discuss this issue.
If I lose my key what should I do?
You will need to inform your host as soon as you realise your key is missing. You may need to cover any costs associated with losing the key. Contact your AHN Customer Care Manager if this occurs and they will be able to assist you.