Q&A with an experienced homestay

Have you ever thought about hosting an international student? We asked one of our homestays, Anna, about her experiences hosting international students in her home.

When did you first start hosting international students and why?

We started in 2014 when we moved to Brisbane for 1 year due to work commitments. We thought it would be a good idea to host international students as our 5-year old son was on his own and we thought it would be good for him to learn different cultures as he was an only child.

What countries have you hosted students from?  

Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Brazil, China, Korea, German, Norway, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam.

How long does it usually take for a student to feel settled in and part of the family?

We feel it takes about 4 weeks.

What has been the most rewarding experience about hosting?

Watching them grow as a person and discovering the Australian culture as well as improving their English and knowing that they realise that they have grown into a better-informed person.

What have been some of the challenges?

Homesickness, shyness, and students not meeting people or wanting to go out exploring.

Are there any particular activities that your students have most enjoyed? 

Yes, we take our students to Black point (Yorke Peninsula) for the weekend about twice a year and they love the peace, serenity, beach, and just having fun for the weekend. As well as Gorge wildlife park, extended family get-together’s, any kind of celebration that we have in Australia e.g. Xmas pageant, Halloween, Easter and eating different foods

Do you have any handy hints for other homestays in our program?

Make them feel welcome and part of the family, the long life friendship is rewarding.

If someone was thinking about becoming a homestay for international students, what would be your advice and recommendations?

Just do it!! It’s a learning experience for everyone!! Learning about different cultures and showing them what a great country we live in and the bond and friendship we create is phenomenal. We are strangers at first that turn into family.



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Settling into South Australian life

Lou-Ann comes from France, and while she has been studying in South Australia, she has lived with homestay family Kathryn, Richard and their three girls.

“Lou-Ann has fit in well with our three girls, there is always giggling and laughter coming from the bedrooms.”

“She has joined one of our girls at her girls football training, which Lou-Ann is loving and she is going to start attending Tea Tree Gully gymnastics for the term as well. She has held a Koala and we have done a few other ‘tourist-type’ activities.”

Lou-Ann definitely helps around the house and offers to cook meals, she has also cooked crepes for us and also for her school class.  Lou-ann talks about some friends she has at school so as far as I am aware all is good there too.

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Catching up with past students in Japan

One of our host families hosted a Japanese girl called Mayuko during her study tour in South Australia. This is what host mother, Brigitta, had to say during her time with Mayuko:

“I just wanted you to know what a wonderful girl Mayuko is. She is soooo lovely, I can’t even tell you how great it is to have her with my family. She is friendly, helpful, respectful, funny and so kind. She helps me with cooking, she has big chats about everything and her English is great. She wants to make her English as good as she can and she works hard on it. She barely uses translating machines etc. Amazing young girl and we are very grateful of these two weeks we get to spend with her and learn all different things about Japan from her. She fitted into our family like we have always known her and the children love her too – she plays with them all lot. Very sweet girl. We feel very comfortable around her. She is an absolute gem!”


Later in the year, Brigitta and her family (including 3 children) went on a trip to Japan. As part of their trip, they caught up with Mayuko and her mother. They had a great time seeing where Mayuko lives and learning more about the Japanese culture.

“We would like to say a big thank you to this program you are running. Thanks to this I think we have made some lifelong friends. We just got back from Japan a week ago and while we were there we caught up with our last student, Mayuko, and her mum from Kyoto. It was lovely and without this program our children wouldn’t be able to make special friendships like this. So, thank you to all the International Student Program workers for all these lovely experiences and memories. It was lovely catching up and an incredible experience for our kids to see where our students come from and how they live….”



“Japan… what an incredible place. We have travelled a lot around the world but have never seen anything like Japan and Japanese people. We have done two-full weeks of travelling around the country to see as much as we can and we truly fell in love with it. Now we are even more excited about hosting international students in the future, so that we can understand their culture and how they live. Very grateful for this international program.”


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Catching up with past students in the UK

Wendy and Phillip have been hosting students for over 15 years and have made some lasting friendships with their students. They recently returned from her UK trip which where they met up with their ex-students. Here are some of their photos and stories:

This is Alke, our first ever student 15 years ago, who is now a Doctor of Paediatrics in Berlin. Alke and her partner Harry spent last Christmas back in Adelaide with us.





Natalie  from Frankfurt has returned to Adelaide twice since staying with us as a 16 year old. Natalie also studied 1 year in Scotland, and she flew to Edinburgh when she knew we would be travelling there. It was lovely to catch up with her in August 2018. She is working for an advertising agency in Frankfurt after studying her business degree.








We also had the pleasure of seeing the beautiful Julie (below photos), meeting her mother Cecile and also her grandparents Helene and Norbert and we were lucky enough to stay with them in Montpellier. Julie is now studying a double degree and is very much a world traveller having recently travelled to Nice, Shanghai, America and attended the Cannes Film Festival as part of her studies, and a trip to Korea is coming up.

Both Julie and Natalie have formed a friendship since meeting 7 years ago (on a return visit to see us in Adelaide) and the students have also visited each other numerous times in their respective cities of Paris and Frankfurt.

We love following our rather large ‘family’ on their respective journeys from their teens through to adulthood and have found providing homestay for the past 15 years to be a wonderful and extremely rewarding experience.

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Taking Rongtian on a trip to central Australia

Recently we undertook a trip to central Australia, taking our host student Rongtian, from China with us. First we had to check off all the important things like:

  • Did Rongtian want to come with us?
  • Asking Rongtian’s parent’s permission
  • Planning the trip
  • seeking school and Department approvals

Then, we set off to Mildura to collect my brother’s camper-van, which would be our home for the following 12 days. All over, we travelled a little more than 5000km and ventured through 3 states.  South Australia, Victoria and Northern Territory. What a wonderful experience for us and Rongtian to see the best of Australia’s outback.

Our Journey took us from Mildura to Port Augusta, and from Port Augusta to the Opal fields of Cooper Pedy.  We toured the underground town with Noble tours, which took us to many interesting sites, such as the dog fence, opal mines, and a beautiful sunset at The Breakaway Ranges. Having to put 20 cent pieces into the metre box to have a hot shower, reminded us of how precious water is in the outback.

We continued to the big rock – Uluru, and took a sunset camel ride, which was a highlight of our trip. We travelled up as high as Alice Springs, visiting Simpson Gap and Standley Chasm, where we purchased a very decorated didgeridoo made by the local people of the area.

I would highly recommend travelling further afield with your international student if possible.  We all had a fascinating experience of a life time, and our land down under has so much to showcase.

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Moe returns from Japan to visit her Homestay

Moe has returned to Japan on Saturday. Thank you for allowing us to share her time in Australia, even for the short time it was.

We tried to get as much fun in as possible, and I think Moe had a wonderful time.

We have made lifelong friendships with her, and have skyped her since she has returned home and will continue to stay in touch. We miss her very much.

Thank you again, it was as absolute pleasure to have her stay with us, and now join our family.



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Looking for Homestays in Victor Harbor

International students coming to Victor Harbor practice their English, make new life-long friends, and experience the Australian way of life. Students enjoy Australia’s large open spaces, nature and wildlife and love experiencing everything that life in a close coastal community has to offer. This term, Victor Harbor High School welcomed 10 international students. Read about what these students have been getting up to so far!

Victor Harbor High School are always looking for more families to host international students.

If you are interested in hosting an international student, phone Victor Harbor High School on 8551 1900 or email [email protected]

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Sharing in Yuka’s formal preparations

yuku-heroThere is no doubt that seeing your daughter participate in their formal is a very proud moment.  But when that daughter is a beautiful and brave Japanese host daughter, being part of her journey to the red carpet is a particularly rewarding experience.  Yuka is from Ueno High School; she joined us on 1 February 2015, and since then has been a cherished member of our family. For anyone who has an opportunity to host a child, you will know that in itself is a wonderful experience.  However, if you have an opportunity to support a host child through this kind of life event, I can’t recommend it highly enough; our family collectively loved and embraced the moment!

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