Whilst you cannot be there for your student all the time, you can prepare them for life in Australia. Taking some time at the beginning to explain how public transport works, where banks, post offices, shopping centres, movie theatres etc are, your student will be equipped to cope with the outside world. Also, explain safety issues such as keeping their bags and money safe.
Before you show your student how public transport works, ask how they get around back home. Many students come from environments that are highly populated, so there are buses every five minutes and brightly lit streets. Your student may be very surprised to find that university is half an hour away and that they will have to walk for 10 minutes to get to the bus stop!
"Homestay can show you different things than what you would do with your friends. This year I went to Christmas Carols at a church. With friends, you spend most of the time in the city or going out to bars, but when you are with your family you will do completely different activities. It is sometimes hard to meet Australian people at university. It is nice in the homestay because I am always meeting new visitors, and different people from lots of different places."
Cheryl, Taiwanese homestay student"Networking is an important skill for the students to learn. Cheryl shows a lot of initiative in meeting people and helping new students. She looks after them and shows them around. There are some students that don’t do that, they just hang around and get bored and don’t make the effort to get out and do things. But for some students it’s their very first time away from home and they don’t know what to do or how to meet people. So we encourage them and we also include them in our family activities, if we’re going on holidays they’re invited. I also try to show them around locally and often they can go ahead in future and organise their own activities. Sometimes the students just prefer to do their own thing, it’s up to them." Kristine, Cheryl’s homestay mother