General Homestay Guidelines

Hosts should read and understand the following homestay guidelines before applying with us

Caring for any student is a high priority. We need to make sure these students are safe and secure in their new environment. For many students, the Homestay experience is their first impression of Australia. Our aim is to ensure that this experience is a positive one.

Below are our guidelines for hosting students, to help you understand your responsibilities

The first 48 hours

For anyone coming into a new environment, the first 48 hours leave a lasting impression. Following are some ideas for making your student comfortable and will help to minimise the “culture shock” they may experience:
  • Talk to them, show an interest, spend time getting to know the student
  • Ask them what they would like to eat
  • Encourage them to contact their parents to let them know they have arrived safely
  • A small useful gift is nice (they will probably have a gift for you)
  • Have maps, bus timetables etc ready
  • Exchange mobile numbers and email addresses with the student
  • Talk to your student about your local area, and show them nearby places of interest (bus stops, banks, shops, etc)
  • Most important, encourage all members of your family to give plenty of genuine and friendly smiles to reassure and welcome your guest at home

Accommodation

All Homestays provide the following:
  • A standard size (Single or larger) bed and bedside table. Please see the below table for standard Australian bed sizes
Bed TypeMeasurements
Single Bed size92 cm x 187 cm
Single Extra Long size92 cm x 203 cm
King Single size106 cm x 203 cm
Double Size137 cm x 187 cm
Queen Size153 cm x 203 cm
King Size183 cm x 203 cm
Super King Size203 cm x 203 cm
  • Adequate wardrobe and drawer space, for the sole use of the student (Please do not store your own clothes or belongings in the student’s room)
  • a decent size desk (approximately 1m x 0.5m or larger) with a lamp, and a chair for private study
  • Clean and presentable bed linen and towels. These should be changed and laundered every week and replaced when starting to look worn.
  • Toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent
The bedroom should be adequately secured for students to feel confident enough to leave their valuables there.
The student is usually responsible for keeping the bedroom clean and tidy. You are responsible for ensuring that the student has all the necessary equipment to do this (vacuum cleaner, duster etc), and is aware of how to use this equipment. The room should always remain in a tidy and clean condition. Please remind and assist the student to clean their room on a regular basis.
The room should be adequately heated and cooled. Hosts should understand the needs of overseas students, who may not be acclimatised to our weather and may require more heating or cooling than usual.
Smoking is only allowed in the house with your approval. Families may wish to kindly instruct students who smoke to smoke outside the house.

Bathroom, toilet & laundry

There should always be sufficient hot water for a bath or shower once a day. Please be reasonable in setting any time limits for this activity.
Bathroom habits vary from family to family as well as country to country and you are advised to explain the “house rules” about bathing and washing and to explain clearly the normal arrangements for the disposal of sanitary towels/tampons and the fact that toilet paper should be flushed away. The student should leave the bathroom and toilet as clean as when they entered them. Please be patient, and instruct the student how you would like the bathroom to be left when they are finished.
Please show the student how to use your laundry facilities, and remind them to wash their clothes on a regular basis. If you do not want the student to use your laundry, please include their clothes in your normal family wash.

Telephone & internet access

Students will normally purchase a SIM Card for their mobile phone at the airport when they arrive in Australia. They should use their own mobile phone for all phone calls.
All students will require internet access. We highly recommend you have an unlimited internet plan, and make sure that the students have good wifi connectivity from all parts of your house. If necessary, install Wifi boosters in areas with bad connectivity.

Meals

We want to ensure that our students stay healthy and eat properly. Government health guidelines suggest that in order to maintain a well-balanced diet, we should try to eat at least one item from each of the following groups every day:
  • bread, rice, pasta or cereals
  • milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter or margarine
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • meat, fish, eggs, lentils or nuts and beans
Bearing this in mind, all students should be provided with:
  • A substantial breakfast every day (this may be self-catering).
  • A nutritious, cooked, evening meal including meat, poultry or fish (individual arrangements are made for those with special dietary requirements) sufficient to the needs of the student.
  • Light lunches on Saturdays and Sundays.
Special catering requirements will be confirmed on student placement. We recommend that you include some dishes from the student’s home country, to make them feel more welcome.
Please be sensitive to your student’s taste, conscience and religious beliefs. For example, in the month of Ramadan, Muslims must not eat between sunrise and sunset and special arrangements should be made at this time.
Please make an effort to have your evening meal with your student/s and engage in conversation. Remember, it is precisely this social and cultural interface that differentiates a Homestay from a Boarding House with Meals.
Punctual attendance at the college is compulsory for all students and you are requested to provide breakfast during the week at a time that will ensure the student reaches the college in time for the first lesson.
Students are expected to attend meals punctually or telephone if they are going to be late. It is recommended that the evening meal should be served around 6.30pm to 7:00pm.

Sharing family life

Study Vision students should live as full members of the home, sharing the same meals and living rooms as the host(s), and be made to feel ‘at home’. Study Vision hosts should treat students as a member of their own family and students are expected to respect reasonable family rules. However, you should not assume that students will know or understand these rules or be familiar with our basic customs and habits.
You should take an active interest in the student(s) you are hosting and encourage conversation at every opportunity. The language spoken by the student(s) and members of the family should always be English.
Students should always inform you of where they are going and when they will be back. If they are late or their plans change, they should telephone and explain the situation. With older students, greater flexibility is required, although the student is clearly expected to adapt to living in an Australian / New Zealand home and not treat their host(s) as if they were staying in a hotel.
All students should be provided with a door key, and the code to any necessary security systems.
It is always a good idea to keep the student’s mobile telephone number should you need to contact them.

Inviting people to stay overnight

Your student’s friends should not spend the night with them at your house without your permission. If necessary, Study Vision can speak to your student to make them understand this.

Health insurance and hospital

All students will have Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC) cover. This is your student’s responsibility under the terms of their student visa. If the student does not understand this cover, please ask them to speak to their school/university. They can attend any public hospital by showing their OSHC card. The student will need to pay any fees or charges and can claim it back from their OSHC cover.
Please notify Study Vision by email of any student’s injury or illness, unless it’s an emergency, in which case, call our office number (02 9669 5225, 9am-5pm Monday to Friday) or our 24-hour Emergency line (0410 691 761).

Talking through issues

It is best for students and homestay hosts to work through issues directly with each other. Communication is a challenging but important part of being a homestay family. When you need extra help, please feel free to contact Study Vision by email or on our office number (02 9669 5225, 9am-5pm Monday to Friday).

Student Arrivals

Please ensure that someone is home on the day of arrival to greet your student(s).

On arrival, students will either be brought to your house from the airport by Study Vision-arranged transport or will make their own way. We will inform you of the approximate time of arrival, if known, but please appreciate the difficulties we have in providing exact information when the student is making their own way. If an expected student has failed to arrive or contact you within three hours of their expected arrival, please contact Study Vision for advice.

Cancellations

Occasionally, due to unforeseen circumstances, students cancel their course and their Homestay accommodation. We will let you know immediately if this happens and will endeavour to place another student with you as soon as possible. We do not pay cancellation fees or compensate Homestay families for any losses due to cancellations.

Getting to university or college

On the first day of a student’s course, a member of the family should escort the student personally, either in their own vehicle or by public transport, and show them precisely how to get to the college, in time for their first class. If you are unable to escort the student, please make sure they fully understand the public transport route to and from their college, using Google Maps directions or your local public transport website.
Particular attention should be given to making suitable arrangements for younger students getting to and from the college. Please give them adequate advice regarding staying safe and alert, such as “stranger danger”, crossing a road safely at zebra crossing or when pedestrian lights indicate so, etc.

Rental payments

Study Vision will collect all Rental and Internet fees from students and will transfer this to your account within 2-7 business days of the due date for the entire period that the student stays with you. Do not collect any Rental directly from the student at any time. If you believe your payment is overdue, please contact Study Vision by email at [email protected]

Student holidays

The student should give you at least 2-weeks’ notice of any intended holidays longer than 2 nights. If they will only be away for 1 or 2 nights, they should give you at least 3-days’ notice.
If they will be away for 2 weeks or more, they should pay you 50% of the normal Rental amount for the period they will be away. If they will be away for less than 2 weeks, they should pay the normal Rental amount for the period they will be away.
Please notify Study Vision of any intended student holidays, as soon as possible, so we can collect the correct Rental from the student. Also, please ask the student to contact Study Vision as well, to confirm these arrangements.

Moving out

2-weeks’ notice is required to end any Homestay arrangement, whether a student intends to move out of your home, or you would like the student to move out. Study Vision will check with the student 2 weeks before the end of each Rental Period to see if they are planning to move out. Please remind your student 2 weeks after they arrive that they need to notify Study Vision when they decide they wish to move out.
If you would like the student to move out, please notify Study Vision by email as soon as possible, so we can make the necessary arrangements with the student.