It may feel great to take responsibility for and support a student through their exchange year. Here are answers to questions that we know from experience that prospective host families may have.
Being a host family is a great way to increase the understanding of other cultures and people. You get an extra family member to cherish and a new sibling for your children. It is also an opportunity to prepare for an academic year abroad, if one of the children of your family are planning to study abroad.
You register your interest, and will then get an introduction of the students that are coming to New Zealand. STS will do a home visit and thereafter you will get to choose a student that you believe will be a good fit for you and your family.
Yes, the host family will select the student they feel is a good match for their family.
The student may not sleep alone, without any adults available in the house. In some cases, the student’s family will pay so that their child can join the trip. STS also have families who are happy to welcome a student to their home for a short period of time.
All exchange students will attend a New Zealand high school programme. To the extent possible, we arrange a school spot within the field of study that suits the student's needs and skills. However, it is the school's that determines whether it is possible to find an extra spot for an exchange student. This means that we cannot guarantee a place at the nearest school. STS will handle all the school contacts.
Students are prepared that both parents often work full-time in New Zeeland. In the beginning, they might need some extra support, but soon they will get friends and create their own social life.
Some students even prefer to be the only child in a host family. Sometimes they are from a family that has several children and want the opportunity to see how it is being the only child in a family. Either way, this is usually not a problem.
There is no requirement that the student should have his own room. Perhaps the student can share room with a sibling? Several of our students share room with the siblings and are prepared for this to happen. In that case the room is shared with a sibling of the same gender and a single bed is provided.
Yes, you can choose to be a host family for a whole year or a semester. Sometimes we also need a so-called “welcome family” for a shorter period (minimum 3 months).
Sometimes the chemistry between the family and the student does not feel right, even though the efforts to find a good match have been painstaking. STS area representative will help you solve any problems that occur. The representative also assists with a host family transfer if necessary.
Being a host family is a voluntary initative. However STS in NZ do pay a weekly contribution towards costs to their host families. Being a host family is a unique experience, it is important that the exchange student feels like a family member.
The student will quickly become a part of your family, which means that they need to be aware of the rules that apply in your home. By getting to know each other, and discussing the differences between your families and your home countries, it will be easier for you to understand the cultural differences that may arise.
The host family provides food and accommodation. The student will bring money for travels, entertainment, clothes and hygiene items etc.
No, they can’t. The students choose which country they want to study in, but which city they get to stay in depends on where their host family lives.