Frequently Asked Questions

Homestay Hosts


Here are some common questions that people ask about hosting students.

If you have any other questions, please contact us on (07) 5568-0835 or email us.

Q. What is Homestay?

Homestay is a type of accommodation offer to students from another country staying with a local individual or family (called a Host). The student lives for an agreed period of time as a guest in the home.  It is a popular choice for students who need a safe, economical and convenient place to stay. Students can adjust quicker in a new environment whilst improving their English language skills and become familiar with the local culture and lifestyle through the assistance of their friendly host families.

Q. What is the role of the host family?

The host family would be required to open their hearts and welcome international students to their home. It is more than just providing students with all the basic needs such as their own room, providing their meals, space to study, do their laundry, access to other household facilities and to provide the occasional transport if stated. Host family will need to be supportive and offer guidance where possible to help their students adjust to their new surroundings. It is a rich and rewarding experience for students and families, a way of meeting new people and forming new friendship and learning about each other’s culture and lifestyle.

Q. How will I be paid the funds for hosting a student?

ESI Homestay will transfer funds directly into your account fortnightly. These funds will be paid from at least 5 working days after the arrival of the student. Funds will cease on the day of the student’s departure from your home.

Q. Do I need to pay tax on the funds I receive as a homestay host?

If you are only hosting one or two students at any one time, then you do not need to declare these fees as taxable income. However, if you are hosting more than two students we strongly suggest that you contact your own accountant and determine what your legal requirements are. For further information see the Australian Taxation Office website and search for homestay.

Q. What should I do if I am having problems with the student?

The most important thing remember in the first instance is to communicate with the student and see if you can resolve the problems. If the problem continues contact us and we will see if we can mediate ourselves, or involve the students parents and/or agent if necessary. The last option is to move the student into another homestay, which normally requires at least two weeks’ notice unless it deem necessary to relocate the student urgently.

Q. Are students expected to assist with chores around the house?

All members of the family in Australia share the responsibility of making sure the household runs smoothly. A homestay student is expected to live as a part of the family and is therefore also expected to help with chores around the house. This usually consists of the student keeping their own room clean, as well as tidying up after themselves in the common areas. Students can also be asked to help clear the table, wash the dishes or other light chores. This is expected of students from all backgrounds.

Q. The student is eating huge amounts of food, yet is still hungry all the time - what should I do?

This is actually one of the most common issues faced by our hosts when teenage students are involved. Below are some ideas as to how you can help with this situation:

  • Make sure you have carbohydrates as the main part of the student's meal - rice, pasta, potato etc. As students have very different foods back at home, they tend to over-eat when it comes to Western meals.
  • Like many Aussies travel with a jar of Vegemite - Asian students feel a meal is not complete unless it includes rice! A rice cooker is a good investment when hosting Asian students. It’s easy to cook up some rice to go with your evening meals.
  • Try to get the student to eat slowly and also encourage them to improve their table manners. Some students may never eat normally as a family, so this could be a new experience for them.

Q. If I take my student out do I have to pay for them?

If you want to take your student out, explain where you are going and how much it will cost for example activities that charge admission fee such as entry to theme parks, movie tickets, etc. Your student then has the opportunity to decide whether or not to go with you. Then again it is your decision if you want to treat your student on special occasions.

However, please note that, if you are going out to dinner, meals are included in the homestay payment, so you will need to pay for the student's meal.

Q. Is it okay for me to go in to my student's room when they are not there?

Privacy is important. The student's room should be private to them during their stay with you. If you plan to clean the room, then please let the student know when you will do this. Perhaps even ask the student to do a quick tidy up before you go in to clean and vacuum the room.