Australian Homestay Agency- Operations-Enquiries 2021 (Copy)
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Initial enuiry- Family Introduction
We've just seen your profile and requirements and we think you would be perfect to share our home and live with our family.
I work full time in marketing and part-time in my Homestay Agency, my partner works in healthcare and my son is 13. We have been hosting international students for over 5 years now, and have met many wonderful students and their families. We still talk to many of our students who have already completed their studies and gone back home to work. We have had students from China, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Belgium, Saudi Arabia. We are a quiet family, but we love to have family and friends over to our house for lunches and dinners. During the week when I work and my son goes to school, we have a quiet and relaxed home as we are busy working and my son is studying, so we don't usually have people over for dinner unless its a birthday or special occasion.
My son and I like to cook together and watch movies together too. Every day in the morning and in the afternoon we go for a walk as there are many beautiful parks and beautiful places to visit close to our home. On the weekends we are with my partner and our youngest boy. My oldest son loves to read, go for walks in nature, he loves to do coding and loves Xbox too.
We are an English speaking Australian family. My parents are teachers and so is my brother's wife(She teaches English to international students at Deakin University, my brother's daughter is also training to be a teacher, and my Godmother is also a Professor at an Australian University! We are a family that is very passionate about education, as much of my family teaches for their profession. We believe education is more than what you learn at school and University. An important aspect of your education is your cultural education. Learning an additional language to your own, and learning about new countries and new cultures gives you a great advantage once you've completed your studies and go home to work in your chosen field.
If you are a good fit for our family, we would love to also host you, so you can experience the Australian culture and live in a caring family home that supports education, as we are a highly educated family ourselves.
We would love to hear from you and learn more about you if you have moved to Australia to study and are looking for a good family to complete your studies and learn about life in Australia.
Homestay Contracts- Content Only- 01|03|2021
AHA- Australian Homestay Agency
FOR INTERNATIONAL GUESTS & INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
I| Welcome to the Australian Homestay Agency Program
We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to Australia. We hope that the time you spend here is filled with wonderful memories with your host families or shared homes and that you get the opportunity to experience the "Australian Life". You'll find most people here are friendly, kind, considerate and quite relaxed.
Some of our clients are already familiar with life in Australia and have luckily already experienced homestay with an Australian family, others are new to both our country and living with a homestay family. For all our clients, we recommend that you read this document and either learn about or re-acquaint yourselves with Australians way of life and culture and societal expectations. We feel this will help both you and your host family with a smoother transition.
AHA requires all our clients to read all the supplied documents in their starter and welcome pack and to sign all contracts and submit the accompanying contracts and supporting documents before commencing their new life with our Australian Homestay families.
Australian Homestay Agency has carefully selected wonderful families who are kind, caring, considerate and really excited to share their family life with you. Each of these families is unique, and as such have their own way of doing things, their own way of living and house rules, and their own values and likes and dislikes. It is a good idea to speak with your host family and ask them specifically what are their house rules? What do they expect of you? What does the family like to do, and what are some things about their family that they would like you to know so you can also fit in with their family so you can all experience a smoother transition. You should remember that this is someone's private home and not a hotel, so talk to your family about what they would like and also communicate what you would like.
Australian Homestay Agency has written these guidelines after almost two decades of experience in and with Homestay in different parts of the world. Australian Homestay Agency has many years of experience with students and International travellers from America, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Dubai, Suadi Arabia, China, Japan, South Korea, Oman, Indonesia, India, and even from Australians re-locating from regional areas into the city. We have community engagement agents involved in our homestay program and can explain this information to you, as well as your host family.
Please note, this document needs to be signed and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions regarding your homestay that is not covered in this document or on our website or social media, please feel free to email us any question you do not understand. It is important to understand this agreement before you sign and return it to us via email.
Each homestay family is different, some will provide 3 meals a day, some will provide 2 meals a day, some will provide 1 meal a day, and some will require you to prepare your own meals. The cost of your weekly stay with your homestay families will also include the itemised list for food, and how many meals per day per week they are happy to share with you, and supply for you. Please review our rate card on page ___ for further information.
Please notify your hosts via email prior to living with them if you have any allergies or intolerances to any type of food. If your host family are providing meals as part of your agreement, it would be best to email them about any preferences that you might have, or any exclusions you may need them to observe as a result of your culture and or religion.
It is a good idea to inform your hosts if they provide you with too much food as wasting food unnecessarily is ill-advised.
Please see the breakdown listed below of what each meal is usually contained for Australians.
BREAKFAST| In Australia usually each person makes their own breakfast and the host family provides the items you can make for breakfast.
It is a good idea to create a routine for yourself to manage your time and balance your responsibilities of studies, your families, your own health and wellness, and your leisure time. Part of having a good routine is getting enough rest and having a reliable schedule that allows you to complete all the functions of your life. Try to get up early, after getting a good rest the night before and make yourself a healthy breakfast that will help you focus during the school day too.
Listed below are the ingredients usually supplied by Australian homestay families for their guests. Please check with your own homestay family about the meals they will include in your time with them.
LUNCH | Each homestay family has their own way of doing things, but some homestay families provide the ingredients for you to make your own sandwich and others will make a sandwich and seasonal fruit for you. Others will pack leftovers from the night before, or perhaps you prefer to buy your own meals at your school or university or workplace. Please note, if you choose to buy your own lunch, you will be doing this at your own expense. This is not the duty of your homestay family or host.
It is also a good idea to save time and money and to be healthy to make your own lunches from home so you know what's in them and its cheaper than always buying your lunch at the canteen or cafes.
DINNER | If dinner is also included in your agreement with your homestay family or host, please ensure the following things as a sign of respect to your homestay families and hosts.
Please ask your host family what time they eat dinner? Do they eat dinner together or separately. What is the best time to notify them if you can not join them for dinner that night, or will not require dinner at all that night.
As a general rule of thumb, Australian homestay families and hosts often find eating in your room alone rude. It may be part of their family tradition and culture to share meals together and discuss their day, or celebrate something special whilst sharing their meal with you. Please remember homestay families and hosts are not running hotels, so you should participate with their family traditions as discussed with you before arriving.
We also advise our clients that this is a great opportunity for them to improve their English, learn about a new culture or customs and get to know their new homestay families and hosts even better. In Australia sharing a meal together is often a big part of families customs and traditions. We advise you to leave your phone and any technology in your rooms and away from the table when you share your meals with your family. It is best to give all your attention and focus on the conversations happening at the dinner table and to also participate with your new family.
SNACK FOOD | Fruit that is in season is usually available, or different snacks. It is best to discuss this with your homestay family or host before you live with them. Some families are happy for you to eat what you like at any time of the day, other families expect you to buy your owns snacks as snacks are not part of the Homestay food package. Do not ever keep food in your room as it may go mouldy, or you may spill your food on the carpet or bed sheets and this may upset your homestay family or host. Please check with your family before you live with them where you can store your own snacks in the kitchen.
Whilst you are in Australia try new things, including food! Australian homestay families will make meals that are very different from what you may be familiar with. When learning about new cultures, food is an integral component and trying new food with your new family is a fantastic way for you to learn about a new culture, new lifestyle, and new food. Talk to your homestay family or host about the new food you have tried with them. Tell them the things you liked and the things you prefer not to try again. This is another way to start a conversation with your new family. Remember to always start by thanking your host or homestay family for the effort they put into making your meal before you share with them if you enjoyed the meal or not.
TABLE MANNERS | These are some unspoken rules on how to be polite and observe your homestay families traditions and customs when they share a meal with you and their families. Eating a meal in Australia is a social event. Good food and conversation go together and families and friends get together, not only to enjoy a meal but also to talk with each other. Often we share a meal to celebrate good news and sometimes we share problems over a meal, make decisions or make plans. Most meals are enjoyed with good conversation. Talking during a meal is a good idea. Practice making conversation and asking questions such as ‘How was your day?’ or ‘What did you do today?’ Please offer to help set the table or pass the meals around. Do not start your meal until every person at the table is served. In Australia, many people do not cook with salt and pepper so you may wish to add salt and pepper to your meal. Please do not reach across the table, instead, ask “Please pass me the salt and pepper”. Never talk with food in your mouth. If people ask you a question while you are eating, put your hand over your mouth to show you will answer when you have finished the food in your mouth. Ensure that you do not bring technology to the table – mobile phones, tablets and laptops are not conducive to an enjoyable meal or shared experiences. Do not take phone calls at this time unless it is an emergency. Remember to thank your homestay family for the lovely meal they made for you, each time you eat. After you have finished your meal if your homestay family is still eating it is considered polite to also stay until everybody has finished their meal. Don't forget to take your own plate when everybody has finished their meal and empty what you didn't eat into the bin or compost bin, check this with your homestay family. It is also considered polite to offer to help your host family to help clean up after you have shared a meal.
ALCOHOL AND CIGARETTES | Please discuss with your homestay family or hosts what they feel comfortable with in regards to drinking alcohol in their home or smoking cigarettes on their property. In general, Australian Homestay Families do not smoke inside or on their property. For any of our clients who are under 18, you are not permitted to smoke or drink with you are participating in our homestay program.
INCLUDED IN YOUR BEDROOM | Your Bedroom will be ready for you when you arrive. It should have:
• Your bed with sheets, a pillow and a doona or blankets and extras if required
• Bedside table with a reading lamp
• Study desk, lamp and comfortable chair for study
• Chest of drawers and a wardrobe
• Bookshelves for textbooks
• Washing basket for your dirty clothes
• Wastepaper bin
• Internet access
• Bathroom facilities
On your arrival please unpack your case and put away all your clothes and belongings. Hang your clothes, put your belongings neatly in the drawers and put your books on the shelves. Ask your Home Stay host where you can store your suitcase.
YOUR PRIVACY | Your bedroom will be your own private area. In some limited circumstances, you may share a bedroom with another student. No one except you should enter your room, so you are in charge of your own bedroom. Your Home Stay family will respect your privacy and they will knock on your door if they need to speak to you. They understand your need to study and they will respect your need for quiet time and privacy. Always close your door when you are sleeping or dressing. Close your curtains when you are sleeping or dressing for privacy. Open your windows occasionally for fresh air. Always close and lock your window when you leave the house. Please turn off your light, lamps and computer when you leave your room.
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES |
• Your bedroom is your responsibility to keep clean and tidy
• Always hang up clothes and put your belongings away
• Do not hang wet clothes in your bedroom
• Do not leave wet towels in your bedroom
• Please hang towels in the bathroom
• Put all dirty clothes in your washing basket
• Empty your wastepaper bin when it is full
• Do not put old food or fruit in your bedroom bin. It may make your room smell.
GREETINGS | It is polite to greet your host family members in the morning and when you return from school and outings. At the end of the day, it is customary to say ‘goodnight’. In Australia, we say ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’ regularly.
HELPING AROUND THE HOME | While you are staying with your Home Stay family you are considered part of the family. Australian students are expected to help around the house and you may be asked to help. In Australia, we do not have maids to do the housework. Please show you are a responsible person and want to be part of the family by doing your family chores with a bright smile.
• Please keep your bedroom clean and tidy
• Please make your bed every day
• Vacuum and dust your room each week and empty your wastepaper bin the night before the rubbish truck comes. Your host will tell you which day this is.
• Help set the table for the evening meal. When everyone has finished eating always take your dishes to the sink and offer to help wash or dry the dishes. This is a great time to have a conversation with your host.
MANAGE YOUR OWN TIME | It is your responsibility to manage your own time and create a good routine for yourself. Set your alarm so that you can get up for school on time, as no one will wake you. If you are late for school it is marked on your report.
HEATERS | Remember to always ask your homestay family about using a heater in your room and what they feel comfortable with. If you have a heater in your room, do not leave it on all night because this can be dangerous. Sometimes if you study late at night, it is easy to fall asleep and a blanket or some clothing could fall on the heater which can cause a fire. This is dangerous not only for yourself but your homestay family too.
Do not leave the heater on all day when you go to school and if you are cold please put on a jumper. Do not use the heater on a warm day.
FANS AND AIRCONDITIONERS | Remember to always ask your homestay family about using a heater in your room and what they feel comfortable with. Do not leave fans or air conditioners on all night and do not leave them on during the day when you are at school as they are very expensive to operate.
LIGHTS | Please turn lights and lamps off when you leave your room at night and when you go to school.
COMPUTERS AND INTERNET | Remember to always ask your homestay family about using their internet and what they feel comfortable with. The internet is provided for research, homework and communication to your family and friends. Please remember all family members may use the home internet. Always turn off your computer when you are not using it. Do not download music and movies unless approved to do so by your host. On School nights we encourage you to please turn off your computer and phone by 10 pm and settle to bed. Use this time to prepare for the next day, read a book and relax before bed.
BEDTIME | Remember to always ask your homestay family about their families bedtime routine and what they feel comfortable with. Please turn off all communication tools such as phone, computer and IPad by 10 pm on school nights and you are encouraged to be asleep by 10.30 pm. If you are expecting a call from your parents please let your host know and try not to make a loud noise because other members of the household are settling for the evening. You will find you get very tired when you first commence school. There are many reasons for this, such as air travel and different time zones. There is also the excitement of coming to a new country with a different lifestyle. There is much to see and to take in. You may feel worried because you have met so many people and there are many new names to remember and you will do lots of walking around in the fresh air. Please take time to rest and relax.
HOMEWORK AND STUDY | There are serious consequences for the late submission of assessment tasks and homework including notifying your parents and guardian, or it affecting your grades during the year and possible your results at the end of the year. The school expectation for study hours per week is explained in the International Student Orientation Booklet and your school diary. Please refer to the International Students Orientation Handbook for further details.
EXERCISE | It is a good idea to discuss with your host family what they do with their families for exercise to make conversation and practice your English. It may also give you some great ideas for ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle incorporating exercise. We encourage our clients to go for a walk every day after school before you study at home as this will refresh and energise you. Get to know your area, discover new streets, local shops and parks. Offer to walk the family dog around the block. This is another activity you can share with your homestay family or host to connect and bond together.
HOMESICKNESS | Missing home is a natural part of travel and being away from home. This is called homesickness because you miss your family, home, friends, food and familiar places. You may feel sad, unhappy, cold or you may even be quite unwell and lacking energy. Homesickness does not affect everyone the same way. Some students just miss home a little, some a lot.
It is normal to feel homesick when you are away from home. You may feel you do not want to do anything or to be with people. However, it is important to go out and be with people. Your School mentor, guardian, Home Stay host and other students all know about homesickness. Your mentor is trained to help you through this time. Try not to worry, please seek out help.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FEEL SAD | Explain to your HomeGroup Teacher, mentor, support person or guardian, Home Stay host or other students how you are feeling and spend time with other students and friends. Ring, Skype or email home and talk with family and friends often. Go for a walk, go shopping, see a movie or join in host family events. Arrange to have a favourite meal at home, maybe you could even cook a meal, or discover a local cafe or restaurant. Wear your favourite clothes such as your soccer scarf or special socks. Most importantly please tell someone how you are feeling. Have something to look forward to, such as a trip to the zoo, city or country with your Home Stay family or friends. Most of all, remember that this feeling will pass.
Activities to cheer you up
• Have family photos on display
• Play your favourite music
• Watch a movie from home
• Go to the library and read a book
• Book a ticket home for a holiday (remember to check term break time)
• If you continue to feel sad for a long time ask your Doctor, School or University or College, Mentor, Guardian or Home Stay host for help.
MISSING HOME | Do not sit at home alone in your bedroom thinking there must be something wrong. Do not feel embarrassed because you feel sad and do not keep your feelings to yourself. Talk to your Doctor, School or University or College, Mentor, Guardian or Home Stay host for help.
BATHROOM MANNERS AND SHOWER TIME | In Australia water is a valuable resource and we use it wisely. We have a warm, changeable climate, so personal hygiene is important. Most Australians have a shower every day and wash their bodies with soap. Some people wash their hair every day, some once a week. Please keep your showers short and no longer than 5 minutes or as per your agreement with your host.
BATHROOM MATS | The bath mat is a small, thick mat to stand on while you are wet and dripping after your shower. Always use a bath mat as many Australian bathrooms have very shiny floor tiles. These tiles get very slippery and dangerous when wet. It is important to wipe up water on the bathroom floor after your shower and never leave wet towels in your bedroom or on the bathroom floor.
BATH TOWELS | This large towel is for use after your shower or bath. Do not share your towel with others. Each family member has their own towel.
Please hang up towels on the towel rail in the bathroom to dry after use. Towels should be washed often.
HAND TOWELS | The hand towel is usually found near the hand basin and is for drying your hands after using the toilet.
TOILET MANNERS | In Australia we sit on the toilet so please do not stand on it. Put used toilet paper in the toilet bowl and flush it when you have finished. Please wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet.
FLUSHING THE TOILET | To save water, Australia has a dual flush system. This means that if you only urinate just use the half flush. Use the full flush as necessary. Please flush the toilet every time you use it. It is good manners to always put the toilet seat and the lid down after use. We all like to have the toilet as clean as possible so if you make a mess in the toilet, please clean it up with the brush provided next to the toilet. This is not only good manners but shows you are a responsible person. Always leave the toilet and the toilet floor clean and dry.
Girls when you are menstruating please wrap your sanitary items (such as tampons and pads) and put them in the bin. Please see your Home Stay Mother for support. Please do not flush tampons and sanitary items down the toilet. Only put toilet paper in the toilet bowl.
RUBBISH | Never throw rubbish in the streets or on a bus, tram or train. This is against the law. Always put your rubbish in the rubbish bin.
THE COMPOST BIN | Many Australians have compost bins in the garden, where they put fruit and vegetable scraps, most food scraps, (never meat or bones) garden clippings, paper etc. When the matter has decomposed it becomes mulch, like soil, which is used to feed our gardens. This adds a lot of nutrients to our gardens.
RECYCLING RUBBISH | In Australia there are many recycling programs. Many families recycle their rubbish. Some houses have three bins for the sorting of waste. This helps to cut down on land fill and is our effort to help protect our environment.
LAUNDRY | Arrangements will vary from household to household. The Home Stay host will provide you with the use of a washing machine and a means by which you can dry your clothes but some Home Stay hosts are happy to do your washing for you. Please remember to put all the dirty clothes in the laundry basket provided. Ironing is usually your responsibility and your host will show you how to use this.
PHONE CALLS AND COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR FAMILY | We encourage you to communicate to your parents and family daily, before or after dinner being the preferred time. Sometimes due to the time zone differences, you may receive late calls from your family. Please turn off your telephone at 10 pm at night unless you are expecting a call from your parents and you have checked this is appropriate with your Home Stay host. Do not use the Home Stay’s private phone without permission and do not take a telephone call at mealtimes. Please explain to your family and friends that it is rude to leave the table to take a telephone call unless it is an emergency. You are responsible for the payment of any overseas phone calls that you make in the Home Stay.
AUSTRALIAN HOMESTAY AGENCY COMMUNICATION DETAILS | Details will be provided about key contacts at AHA including information about key dates so that your Home Stay host is aware of the AHA calendar. You may wish to write down planned activities in advance on the calendar. Please keep your host informed of your activities and remember that you must ask permission when going out if you are under 18. It is also considered good practice that even if you are over 18, you do not need permission to leave but you should let your homestay family know your plans, as this is another measure to make sure you are safe.
SOCIAL ACTIVITIES | For all our clients under 18 - Your Home Stay has responsibility for your safety, so you must make sure that you provide the details of where you are going, who you will be with and when you will be home. Always answer your mobile phone when you are out otherwise your hosts can get very worried about you. During the school week, you should be home before dinner unless you are involved in a school-related activity. On Saturday nights, depending on your age, a curfew will be set and this will be confirmed with your Home Stay host and guardian.
UNPLANNED SOCIAL EVENTS | For all our clients under the age of 18-If an event comes up and you have not made special arrangements with your Home Stay host, try to contact them on the phone. If you cannot contact them, do not go to the event.
You must say ‘Thank you for asking me, but I cannot go to the event as my Home Stay host has not been informed’. This is important. You must be responsible and understand that your Home Stay host must know where you are at all times. It is important to build trust with your host family. If you go out without telling your Home Stay host they will become worried because you have not come home on time as planned, they will call your guardian, the Home Stay Co-ordinator or possibly the Police. Many students will ask hosts their permission to stay at a friend’s house or stay with family friends, you may even receive correspondence from parents giving authority or the student may advise you the guardian has given permission. Your host must receive communication approval directly via the guardian and not via the student.
CHANGES TO ACCOMMODATION ARRANGEMENTS | All changes to Home Stay accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements must be reported to the office of the Director of Community Engagement and must be approved by the delegate of the Principal before you move. Two weeks’ notice is required by either side if you request to leave the Home Stay. It is wise to put your intention to leave in writing so you have a record. Even if you are over the age of 18 years the office of the Director of Community Engagement must be contacted and the school must approve any changes to accommodation and welfare arrangements.
ATTENDANCE | For all our clients under the age of 18- If you are absent from school you must tell your Home Stay host before 9 am and the host will report your absence to your guardian and school.
SETTLING IN | It may take a few weeks before everyone is settled. A clear understanding of both sides of what is expected helps to ensure the Home Stay experience is a wonderful one for all involved. Please contact the Home Stay Co-ordinator about your Home Stay if you have any questions. The Home Stay Co-ordinator will visit you at the commencement of school and during the second Semester to see how you are settling in.
HOMESTAY FEE | The Home Stay fee payment arrangement will be confirmed between the office of the Director of Client Relationship Engagement and your parents, support person or guardian, Payments can be made electronically or by cash. Bank transfer is preferred. The current rate is $AUD XXXX per week plus 50% per week during the holiday period to hold the accommodation arrangement. Please note that this may vary from time to time and AHA will monitor the current rate in accordance with movements of significant costs such as utilities (water, power, telephone/internet) and the consumer price index (CPI). The fee is established by each Home Stay or Home Stay organisation by reference to a number of factors and will vary depending upon the nature of the arrangement and the duration. Typically the fee for a short stay will be higher than that for a longer-term arrangement. If you are responsible for making cash payments it must be done in a business-like manner. Please do not take out large amounts of cash late at night from an ATM bank as this may not be safe. Your Home Stay fee must be paid regularly as per your agreement. The preferred arrangement is 2 weeks in advance, paid fortnightly. If the arrangement is by electronic transfer, please check with your bank the day before it is due. Avoid embarrassment for you and your host family by ensuring there are no late payments. When the payment is confirmed please ask your host for a receipt. Please also avoid embarrassment and misunderstanding by ensuring that you provide no less than 2 weeks’ notice if your arrangement will change in relation to holidays, weekend plans or other commitments. You MUST advise the College of these changes and they MUST be approved prior to making changes to your accommodation arrangement. These arrangements are between the Home Stay host, your parents or guardian/support person, the College and you as the student. It is advisable to keep a record of payments made and advice given in writing and all advice MUST be confirmed in writing by your parents. As part of your Home Stay Agreement, if you are absent from your Home Stay during the term holiday break or school camp, payment of no more than 50% of the Home Stay fee would be considered acceptable and the agency recommends $219 per week to continue paying for your rent, but not your bills or meals as you will not be there.
KEY CONTACTS AT AHA |
Director of Community Engagement
Office of the Director of Community Engagement
PLEASE SIGN HERE |
I have read, understood and agree to abide by the Home Stay Guidelines for International Students ____________________________
HOUSE / YEAR LEVEL
PARENT 1* NAME
PARENT 1* SIGNATURE
PARENT 2* NAME
PARENT 2* SIGNATURE
HOMESTAY HOST SIGNATURE
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