We have created our own Homestay Program at SCE so we have very close contact with both families and students. Some families have been hosting students with us for over 20 years! Homestay is a great choice for students that are new to Australia and want to be able to practise and improve their English in a natural, safe, and comfortable environment. Australia is a very diverse country and our community of Host Families reflects this, so families have different make-ups, different cultural backgrounds, and live in all different areas of Sydney up to 60 minutes travel from SCE.
Students and Host Families are matched based on everyone’s preferences. Students are asked about pets, dietary requirements, smoking, and any other special requests. Homestay placements can be booked up to 4 weeks in advance and after this time, students will receive information about their homestay family including a profile and map, homestay rules, and airport pick-up information if requested. As part of the first day orientation, students meet with the Accommodation Manager to discuss some general rules and to receive extra information such as a list of useful phrases and questions to use at home. The Accommodation Manager is always available to discuss any questions or concerns students may have. Living in a homestay is a great experience for everyone as it gives Host Families and students the opportunity to learn about new cultures and make lifelong friends.
Don’t be shy, talk to the family! Do not stay in your room, instead spend as much time as possible in the common areas of the house so that you can interact with the family, share activities, learn about each other, and feel comfortable together.
The food will be different to what you’re used to, so don’t be afraid to try new things! Talk to the family about what you do and don’t like to eat, but you never know what new foods you’ll love!
Participate in as many activities as you can. When your homestay family invites you out to the beach or for a walk or to the shops, say yes! You will get to see new places, learn about Australian norms, and grow closer to your hosts.
Ask your homestay family for help with your English. They can help you with your homework or with any questions you have from something you read or heard. Don’t be worried about making mistakes when you talk to the family.
Remember that you have responsibilities in the home too. You are joining a family, not staying in a hotel, so you need to be very polite and friendly and tidy up after yourself especially keeping your room clean (make your bed!) and tidying the bathroom and kitchen
Be prepared to commute. Most people in Sydney live outside the centre and travel into the city on public transport, so you will too. You can make use of this time by reading a book, doing your homework, or just looking out the window.
It’s very important that you can contact your homestay family at all times, not just if you’re connected to WIFI. You should arrange an Australian SIM card to put in your phone. Make sure you save your host’s names, numbers, and address in your phone.
If you have questions or concerns, talk to the family about it! If you’re cold, ask for more blankets or a heater. If you’re hungry, ask for more food. If you miss your own cuisine, ask to cook the family dinner. If you are sad or miss home, don’t be afraid to talk to your homestay family about it. Your hosts want you to be happy and comfortable during your stay, so they want to help you if there’s anything you need.