Homestay Host Family Tips
Host Family Guide
World Homestay recommends having a Guest fill out a Homestay Housing Placement Agreement after they arrive in your home. You may also want to use our Household Rules form to communicate the type of behavior you expect of a homestay Guest while in your home
- Names are important. Your homestay Guest
will know you care if you earnestly try to pronounce their name correctly.
Some adopt an American name to make it easier for us. Ask them which name
they prefer to use.
- Upon arrival in the Country: If at all possible,
meet your homestay Guest for the first time as they are getting off the
airplane when they arrive in your country. They will never forget that moment
and to have a friend meet them will relieve almost all their concerns.
- Customs and Traditions: Don’t assume
that your Guest will be familiar with your country's customs and traditions.
Your homestay guest will want to learn about yours and hopefully you will
want to learn a little about theirs. Try to be patient as you teach them
about your customs.
- HomeSickness: Some homestay Guest may have
a bout with homesickness especially if they intend to be away from home
for a long period or are young and never traveled away from home before.
If you notice this with your Guest, simply encourage them to communicate
with their family back home. Listen to them and be patient.
- Internet: Encourage your homestay Guests
to use E-Mail if you have service in your home, otherwise send them to the
local library where they can use a computer for free. This is a good way
for them to keep in touch with family and friends back home. It also could
lessen any homesickness a Guest might experience. If you have a computer
with internet service in your home, you may want to consider setting limits
on how much they use the computer. Many guests, especially students nowadays
will travel with a laptop, encourage them to purchase a router at a local
electronic store so they can use the internet without disrupting your time.
- Integrate your homestay Guest into a daily activity:
Encourage your Guest to join you at least once a week for some activity.
A home cooked dinner and comfortable conversation is always good, or a simple
walk around the neighborhood or a shopping day at the local mall. By integrating
them into your activities, you will notice that they will become more comfortable
around you and their language will improve.
- Household Rules: Make of list of household
rules that you would like your homestay Guest to follow and post it on the
refrigerator. For example, if you would like your Guest to clean their bathroom
once a week, write this down for the Guest so he or she knows what’s
expected. Consistent and open communication can help make you both feel
comfortable and lessen any problems you might have.
- Keys: Always provide a house key for your
homestay guest so he or she can let themselves in when you are asleep or
not home. If you have an alarm in your home, make sure your guest knows
the password or code.
- Contact info: Consider providing your home
Guest with a work telephone or cell number just in case they get lost in
the city. This is extremely important when your homestay guest first arrives.
The city will be foreign to them and they could get lost easy. Make sure
that they should always carry your address and home phone number.
- Guest Emergency Info: Always keep on hand a contact number of a relative in the Guest’s home country.
- Medical Info: It is a good idea to make sure
your homestay Guest has adequate medical insurance. This maybe a question
you should ask before you accept them into your home. Also, find out if
they have any allergies. This information is good to have on hand.
- Maps of the area: It’s nice to have on hand a general map of the area and local bus routes for your homestay Guest to go exploring. You can always go to the local Chamber of Commerce to get free bus and area maps. After they arrive, consider driving them around the area to point out local landmarks in case they get lost. Or if your homestay guest will take public transportation, why not take a ride with them on a local bus? Also, if there are any areas where you feel your Guest should not go, let them know right away.
First Time Hosting?
- First Time Homestay Hosts: For those of you
hosting for the first time, it’s best to be natural and welcoming
to your Guest. Make sure to have a smile on your face when you first greet
them. Most likely your guest will be tired and hungry when they first
arrive, so they may want to go straight to bed after first dinner. If the
Guest has enough energy and it’s daylight outside, consider taking
him or her for a short drive or walk around the neighborhood.This can be
very welcoming to a new guest to your country.
- Homestay Payment and Household Issues? Try
not to discuss payment and household rules on the first day your Guest is
in your home. Guests know that they must submit payment to you within 2
days of arrival, so this should not be an issue. Let the Guest get a good
night’s rest before you discuss payment or go over the placement agreement
or household rules.
- What kind of food to have on hand?
Just fix your usual healthy and nutritious dinner that you would have normally
for your family, unless notified that your homestay guest has a food allergy.. Most
Guests already know to expect something different when they come to a new
country and are very excited to try something new. Some (very few)
international students do not eat pork. It is best to ask students
when communicating with them if they have any foods that they cannot eat.
- Will they speak any our language? Yes,
but their ability will vary. In the beginning of the homestay many
Guests (especially) female students will be shy. It may take some time until
they feel comfortable enough to speak to you regularly and with confidence.
Be patient with them and speak slowly and articulately. Listen carefully
and use hand gestures if needed. You will be surprised at how fast their
ability will grow just by speaking to you and living in an English-speaking
- Do they watch American movies? Yes,
most homestay Guests will love to sit and watch TV or American movies with
your family. Some will just be happy sitting and having a conversation
- What is another thing we can do during the first few evenings? You can look at family pictures or books on your city that show pictures of special interests points in your area. You can go on walks around the neighborhood, or local community events.