Homestay FAQs

Homestay is a cultural exchange between an individual or family (called a host) and a visiting international student (guest). A homestay provides international students with the opportunity to stay in a warm, welcoming household rather than in an impersonal apartment, dorm or hotel. The student lives for an agreed period of time with the host. One purpose of the homestay can be to support the student’s desire to improve his or her English-speaking skills and learn about the local culture and lifestyle. It also offers an opportunity for the host family to learn about the student’s culture. A homestay is the best way for students to become familiar with the country where they are studying and allows them to become more easily immersed in the language and culture.

Homestays organised through GHN include a private room (unless the shared option is chosen) with a bed, study desk, lamp and place to store clothing as well as meals (if required). We actively recruit hosts who are genuinely interested in welcoming students to their country and providing a supportive and friendly environment for their guest. Hosts will help students settle in and learn about the local area, community and customs.

Students lodge an application that includes their contact information, study details, intended homestay start date, personal summary (hobbies, dietary requirements, etc.) and placement preferences. Their profile is then assigned to the GHN office closest to the student’s chosen homestay location. We then send them a welcome email and initial invoice.

Once we receive payment of the initial invoice, we begin looking for a suitable host for the student. Our unique matching system helps ensure we place students with a host that shares similar preferences and interests. We send students a placement summary as soon as we find a suitable homestay so they can begin to communicate with their host family if they wish.

Homestay matching fee: This fee is paid to confirm that a placement is required. It covers the cost of host training, assessment and the work associated with the matching process. Payment of this fee is included in the student’s initial invoice along with Weekly Fees for the first 4 weeks of homestay and the cost of Airport Pickup (if required).

Weekly Fees (normally 28 nights minimum): Weekly Fees vary by location and the level of service chosen for the homestay. We offer several packages for guests in homestay, including:

  • Complete Homestay – Host provides 3 meals, 7 days per week
  • Traditional Homestay – Hostt provides breakfast and dinner Monday to Friday + 3 meals Saturday and Sunday
  • Dinner Only – Host provides dinner only 7 days per week
  • No Meals – No meals provided by the host

Weekly Fees cover:

  • Meals (as specified)
  • Accommodation
  • Utilities
  • Internet
  • Insurance
  • Professional 24/7 phone support
  • Ongoing monitoring of host suitability
  • System access for agents, institution, students and hosts
  • Local AHN supervisor support
  • Administration fees

Click here to view Australian homestay programs and fees

Click here to view American homestay programs and fees

Student welfare is our top priority. In addition to the thorough screening process we administer to our hosts, the GHN Host Management System (HMS) provides online training for hosts; cultural orientation materials for all participants; and a private system that promotes regular, confidential communication between GHN management, students and hosts. All participants must adhere to comprehensive policies that outline the expectations and responsibilities for students, hosts and our staff.

Our unique preference-based matching system ensures we connect students with the host that’s right for them. Each region also has a professionally staffed 24/7 critical-incident hotline that hosts and students can use should an emergency arise. Our team will attempt to resolve any issues or miscommunications during a homestay placement and work with students and hosts to seek a suitable resolution. If there are issues that cannot be resolved, we will move a student to another homestay.

This will depend on the city as some cities are bigger than others. We aim to find students a home that is a maximum of 60 minutes’ travel time from their school. They may need to take a bus or train, or a combination of both. The host will show the student how to get to and from school and explain the transportation system to them.

The majority of our placements are initially for 28 nights. Some students decide to extend, whilst others choose to move into their own accommodation. Students need to provide their local GHN office with 14 days’ notice if they wish to extend their stay or wish to end their placements after the initial 28 nights.

Partner FAQs

The Global Homestay Network (GHN) program is the leading and most successful homestay network program in the world. GHN provides more than just rooms for rent; we are committed to the highest quality homestay experience for every student and are raising the standards of homestay across the globe.

We accomplish this goal through our proprietary processes of selecting and approving host families and matching students to the right hosts, as well as our provision of online training for hosts and students to prepare them for this unique multicultural experience.

The Australian Homestay Network has received acknowledgement and commendation for ‘appropriate’ standards from industry bodies and in two Australian Government inquiries, while the American Homestay Network has received accreditation from the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) and is a sponsor of the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC).

We’re a little different than more direct, peer-to-peer services in that we provide a full service approach to hosting. That means that we know exactly who hosts and students are staying with and what their background is. It also means that students and hosts have our support 24 hours a day in case there is a problem or emergency. We also handle billing and most collection activities for a hassle free homestay. We provide training on cultural understanding and making international guests and our hosts comfortable. Our processes ensure we prepare hosts and students to have the best experience possible.

GHN also provides a comprehensive suite of services that extend to everyone affiliated with our company. Our agents, students, educators and hosts all have private access to an online communication portal, ensuring that we can efficiently and effectively manage the complexities of a national homestay business while adhering to our strict policies and procedures.

We have programs for high school, pathway, college and university students which can be both short and long term. Generally, we do not accept students under the age of 12 years unless travelling as part of a study tour (these will be reviewed on a case by case basis). All new students over 18 years old who are arriving for their first term of study are recommended to spend a minimum of 4 weeks in a properly managed GHN homestay prior to making longer term accommodation arrangements.

Agents and education providers who work with GHN receive the benefits of the decades of experience, processes, and systems that the Global Homestay Network has accumulated over the years.

Our HMS (Host Management System) technology provides private access to track your students’ progress with their applications, homestay host matches, and their arrivals, as well as a complete history of all communications relating to their homestay experience. The system automatically makes routine email contact with the student and the host to ensure that the homestay is going smoothly. We collect feedback from students and hosts to support our continued learning philosophy.

Please contact your local GHN office to discuss partnering opportunities and a non-exclusive contract.

In return for the promotion of GHN homestay, our partners receive:

  • Student homestay application management
  • Relationship management
  • GHN system access, support and training
  • Host management
  • Homestay incident management
  • Management of homestay payments
  • Homestay insurance
  • Provision of reports as reasonably required
  • Ongoing support as appropriate and required
  • Clearly documented policies for best practice homestay operations

Our service offerings are comprehensive and provide a compelling reason for agents and education providers to work with GHN. Our program includes:

  • A full-service national homestay management organization for international students and touring visitors
  • A strong national network of experienced staff who have placed more than 63,000 international students in homestays
  • Safe, comfortable homestays near major education providers throughout Australia and the USA
  • Certified homestay hosts who complete thorough training and assessment in guest student care and cultural exchange
  • A team of professional and dedicated staff to assist throughout the entire homestay experience and your ongoing relationship with GHN
  • Secure access to our system for tracking applications, homestay details, payment histories, and more
  • Airport transportation services
  • Online cultural host training and testing
  • Online student orientation
  • Comprehensive study tours including homestay accommodation, education, activities and transport
  • 24/7 student support line

GHN have a growing community of homestay hosts in many cities across Australia and the USA. We are also expanding into new markets in Europe. Please see our locations page or contact us to discuss your specific geographical homestay requirements.

Australia – Locations

USA – Locations

At GHN, we hold our hosts to the highest standards. Our rigorous host application process includes background checks for all members of the household over 18 years of age as well as home inspections and face-to-face interviews. Hosts are expected to welcome a student warmly into their home and help them become familiar with the local lifestyle so they are successful during their time in our program. GHN host families must speak clear and correct English and are expected to provide students with

  • a clean, comfortable private bedroom with place to study
  • a choice of meal plans
  • inclusion in host activities based on student interest
  • internet access (there may be a charge depending on the household)
  • information on how to access public transportation

Hosts must abide by our Homestay Policy and Homestay Host Agreement in order to receive placements.