Tips to Hosting an International Student - Interacting with your student
Interacting with your student
- Communication is essential. Building trust will help your student feel that they can come to you when they have difficulty with something or they don’t understand.
- Ask to see photos of their family or friends. Ask about what their country of origin is like. Not only will you learn, but they will be thankful for the opportunity to talk about it.
- Dinner time is an opportunity to get to know one another. Ask your student about their day, talk about yours. Also, ask about how they are enjoying their meal and allow them to explain what they like or don’t like. If you simply ask ‘do you like it?’ the reply is likely to be ‘yes’ in order to be polite.
- Encourage your student when they are unsure of a word. Ask him or her to bring a dictionary to the dinner table.
- Indicate when you need privacy and make sure you take some time out for yourself. Whilst hosting international students can be very rewarding, you may find it quite exhausting at first. If necessary, allocate quiet time where you are not to be disturbed.
I’d come home from work and the students would want to talk to me straight away because they wanted to practise their English. So I used to say ‘okay, my time is yours until 8.30 and then I need some space for myself.’ And I’d say it in a friendly way, and the students were quite happy with that. Former homestay mother
- Your student is to be treated as part of the family. Don’t ostracise them by having certain rules or foods for your own children, and different ones for your student. This may evoke feelings of being second rate and not welcome in your home.
- When discussing money, try not to use expressions which focus on the cost of certain items, such as ‘It is too expensive to buy…’ Some students may feel that the homestay hosts are only concerned with money, not their welfare.
- The homestay experience is all about learning, so challenge your students! But don’t be upset if they choose to reject parts of the Australian culture – that is their prerogative.
- Under 18 students presenting challenging behaviours will be referred to the guidance officer for advice.