Homestay For Life is an accommodation and student service provider which began in our home in 2003. We coined the phrase Homestay For Life for the friendships we have initiated and have maintained with our international guests through the years. We realized early on that we did not merely rent a room to people but developed and nurtured friendships for life. My wife and I are a sophisticated couple who love to travel and have seen most of the world. We understand and are sensitive to foreign cultures and welcome the diversities and customs of international guests. We decided to start a service by offering private bedrooms in our own home to tourists, interns and students. Shortly thereafter, we began building a network of locations for additional travelers with our friends and neighbors who also realized the enjoyment and benefits of hosting visitors in their own homes and offering a family residence. Our service is growing rapidly, with new student arrivals, new host families, and partnerships with schools and agencies from around the world. We welcome our new guests and students to New York and the beginning of a friendship for life.
Who Are Our Hosts?
Profile of a Homestay Family
Our host families who offer homestay accommodations are eclectic. They represent the rich cultural diversity of our city. They are young families and single parents, retired couples and single professionals. They come from a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. What our host families all have in common is their interest in other cultures and the desire to share their homes with guests and students from all over the world. Each potential host is interviewed by us personally and chosen for their warm hospitality; comfortable living environment; and geographically desirable locations with easy access to public transportation for a short commute to the important language schools and midtown Manhattan. Each host family must submit an extensive application, multiple references and criminal clearances, and be interviewed in their home before they can be accepted. We pride ourselves on the wonderful hosts who make up the Homestay For Life family.
Profile of a Homestay Guest
- Most homestay guests are in their 20s, but people of any age can stay at a homestay.
- They are generally international students, but sometimes university/college students or people doing internships or short-term jobs.
Our guests and students come from all over the world to benefit from New York in many capacities. They are young adults who are highly motivated, curious and excited to be here. Some are short term while others stay several years. Most are guests of (ESL) English as a Second Language; some are fulfilling internships; some are traditional college students involved with student programs, some want to study abroad or work overseas and some are here merely to enjoy the cultural diversities of New York and to travel. They all agree that their homestay is a great place to live, practice English, make new friendships and take advantage of everything New York has to offer. Homestay guests are expected to live with their hosts as “family members.” As such, guests will enjoy regular conversation in English and may be invited to participate in a variety of family traditions, activities and outings. Guests will be expected to keep their bedrooms and bathrooms clean and help with shared tasks like cleaning up after a family meal. Living in a homestay is the very best way of student housing for international guests to experience American culture in the safety and comfort of a home while having many opportunities to practice English conversation.
Homestay For Life has over 10 years of experience successfully matching guests with homestay families. We try to match you with the best available family or individual, based on both your criteria and the homestay family’s biography. When we find a homestay, we take into account ethnicity, religion, your dates of arrival and departure, budget, school location and general interests. We use our extensive database of host partners for student accommodations who have all been prescreened by us individually. After making your reservation and paying your deposit, we contact several homestays to see if they are available for your dates. After matching you with what we feel is the best homestay for you, we send you the biography of the host family for your approval and confirmation. You make the final decision to accept our homestay match. It is important to review our guidelines to become familiar with your responsibilities towards the host family.
Advice for Foreign Students
When you contact a homestay, always ask questions to ensure that they offer everything you need. Ask your homestay parents about rules they might have. Every family is different, but the following are some examples of rules you might be asked to follow: If you opt for a meal plan, dinner is eaten with the family at a specific time. Your homestay parents might ask you to call if you cannot make it on time for dinner. Guests are asked to keep their bedroom clean. Guests must call their homestay parents if they will be late. Guests must ask permission before bringing friends home. Time in the shower might be limited each day. Most homestays do not include meals; however, they can be negotiated with the host. There is always access to the internet, a television, the kitchen and laundry facilities. Always verify what is available and if there are any extra fees so that you are not surprised. In some homestays, both parents work and may not have much time to spend with you. We suggest asking if both parents work to help decide if it is the right homestay for you.
What Is The Role Of A Host Family?
Communication, attention and integration are the key ingredients to a successful language immersion home stay. Host Families are expected to welcome their young guest like a member of the family, talk to them frequently and help them communicate in the target language. The Host Family should make sure they always speak in the target language when they are with the child they are hosting and should be attentive to the child’s possible communication difficulties. They must do all they can to make sure the language study holiday is a success, helping the child staying in their home adapt to a new lifestyle and doing their most to make the child’s stay enjoyable and beneficial. On a basic level, the Host Family provides food and accommodation as well as sharing their everyday activities with their guest (meals, family life, family outings). Optionally you can offer other services such as meeting your guest on arrival, laundry, catering for special diets, help in organizing a language course, etc… You can also offer all kinds of activities such as language lessons or hobbies taught by yourself, regular activities with an outside organization, one-off leisure activities…
Do you have a spare bedroom available? Would you like to share your culture and experiences with others while simultaneously learning about theirs? If so, why not join countless other families across the world in hosting an international student! Many Homestay For Life students stay with carefully selected local families while studying at our schools. Staying with a host family gives our students a fantastic opportunity to immerse themselves into a new culture and the English language. The experience is enriching and rewarding for both students and hosts alike. Students benefit immeasurably from conversing in English in a relaxed, natural situation, such as after school or over dinner. As hosts you can rest assured that students are selected with great care and are expected to abide by your own customs and have reasonable expectations. You will also receive payment on a regular basis for hosting an international student.
We are committed to the highest standards of student care and support. Our accommodation managers in each school take great care in matching suitable students and hosts. Both families and students are supported by a network of regional coordinators and counselors who will keep in close contact.
Benefits of Hosting:
- The chance to meet students from all over the world
- Experiencing different cultures and traditions
- The opportunity to share your home country’s traditions and cultures
- Many organized activities
- An active and experienced local support team at Homestay For Life
- Prompt monthly payments
Education at Home
Most of the life lessons are taught outside the classroom. Hosting takes the concept of language class, International studies or geography out of the textbook and brings them to life. Moreover, through an international student, hosting introduces your children at an early age to the culture and diversity of another country. Whether talking at the dinner table, shooting hoops or just hanging out with your international student, your children will absorb lasting memories that will positively influence the way they perceive the world.
Travel Without Going Anywhere
For many families, it is very difficult to arrange and pay for large family international vacations. Hosting a foreign student allows you to bring the foreign country right into your own home. Countries cease to be distant places on a map and become a nation and culture that is dear to your heart.
Our philosophy is to promote international goodwill and understanding through international study abroad program. It is our belief that participation in hosting will foster a significant understanding of the values and attitudes toward foreign cultures while at the same time exposing foreign students to the uniqueness and diversity of American life. Our host families provide international students with a window in which to view and understand American life and culture. Students are expected to act as a member of your family. They will participate in your family’s daily activities and chores, bond with their host siblings, and join in family conversations.