How to Become a Homestay Host for International Students

We became Homestay Hosts just over three years ago. It has been an exciting adventure and has really expanded our lives and has been a window into the lives of young women from around the world.  So far, we have hosted five young women in our home, two short stays and two who have stayed for quite a while and one young woman who has just arrived from Macau. Angela arrived from Hong Kong to study Marketing at The University of Western Australia and stayed for 18 months.  Ziye has been staying with us for over a year now, she comes from China and completed a transition course to enable her to study at the University of Western Australia.  We have also had a couple of short term Homestay visitors, Maria from Italy who came to learn English and Iris from China who decided to move in with a friend once she had settled into University.
Homestay Student Maria
Maria from Calabria

I am a Mother of three adult children and now have my first Grandchild.  Jeff and I have been married for 37 years You can read more about us here.

Why Homestay:

I was a classic “empty nester” after my own children left home.  Jeff was working seven days a week and although I run my own business from home, I felt surprisingly isolated.  When he suggested that it might be time to sell our home and downsize I decided to take action and research online how to become a Homestay Host.

Research and Concerns:

As a Homestay novice, I had lots of questions.  My main concerns were about the meals I needed to provide, security, transport and what if we didn’t get along with the student.  I was also concerned about handling payments directly with the student.  I discovered a lot of information online and most of my questions were answered on the AHN website.

My husband was reluctant at first and thought that having a stranger in our home would impinge on his privacy and limit our ability to dine out, travel or have guests over.

I filled in an online application as part of the research process as I figured that most of my questions would be answered in the first interview and we would take it from there.  It was also reassuring to discover that each placement is initially for 28 days and that each host is allocated a Supervisor who is available to help with questions.


Our Homestay Student guests have added a wonderful energy and vitality to our home. We enjoy meal times and each of the students have added their own recipes and ideas to our menu.  We have been updated on technology, discovered our own public transport system and have built some wonderful friendships.

When we decided to get started as Homestay Hosts we were very clear on the fact that the students arriving in our home would be treated just like we would want our children to be treated.  We have also found the students often ask for some help with assignments, essays and clarifying questions and luckily, Jeff comes from an education background and is able to assist them.

The students are also included in family events and celebrations.

Organising my home:

There are some basic requirements to make sure that the Homestay Students are comfortable, have privacy and can study easily.  We already had the bedrooms set up but did need to purchase desks and lamps.  We bought a couple of nice desks and chairs from Ikea and have found that the students are happy to study around the noise and action of the kitchen.

I also have a list of “House Notes”, to give the students when they arrive. These notes include information to make them feel confident and comfortable about how our home works, meals, snacks plus some details about our dog.

Meals and snacks are planned out for the week ahead and the Meal Plan for the week ahead is put on the fridge.  Although I am not completely inflexible on the plan, it does provide a good base for shopping and keeping the meals interesting and diverse.    You can download a copy of this here:

CLICK HERE to download your free Meal Planner.


Homestay Hosting and us:

I don’t believe anyone should register for Homestay Hosting if the only objective is to earn money.  Although we receive a payment for hosting, we view it as quite a privilege and a responsibility to make sure that each young woman gets the best home life away from home that we can possibly give.

The International Students that we have hosted have all been highly intelligent, well travelled young women who have high work ethic.  They come to Australia to experience another culture, so are willing to try new “taste sensations” and it’s fun to see them tasting foods that they have never had before.  It’s also great to learn about their backgrounds and traditions and meet their families.

Hosting International Students has been a great experience for us.   We have had some challenges but have always viewed these as solvable and found ways to ensure that there is harmony at all cost.

If you would like more information about Hosting international students you can contact the Australian Homestay Network


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*This is not a sponsored post and although I am a current AHN host I do not receive any money for this post.  The opinions in this post are my own.

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2 Replies to “How to Become a Homestay Host for International Students”

  1. Thank you Debra for sharing your experience with international students here. As an international student I was once, I understand the importance to live in a supportive environment.
    Also, for “empty nester” this actually can be an great income source. PLUS you can share great experiences and make a difference on their lives. And you have done it, I am sure!! I Well done Debra.

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