Whenever you travel to Australia as an international student, employee, or even to scout the landscape for possible tourism opportunities, you are bound to search for a place to stay. Luckily, there is a plethora of options for you, including but not limited to hotels, inns, hostels, couch surfing etc. But by far the best, as far as getting the authentic Australian experience is concerned, is to stay with a local family.
Why Opt for a Homestay
Finding accommodations in places where you don’t know anyone else can be somewhat difficult if you prefer to be with a loving and accommodating family, and/or if you miss your family back home and would like to have the feeling of living with loved ones. If you are looking for a support structure as well as a cultural indulgence that only a family can provide, you should definitely opt for a homestay.
How to Make the Most of your Homestay
While a homestay is almost always pleasurable, following are ten tips to make your stay even better.
1. Join the Host Family at Meals
When selecting a home for your stay, be sure to opt for the free daily meals. This will allow you to have some local, homemade cuisine as well as a chance to bond with the family you are staying with.
2. Know the House Rules Beforehand
Things like curfew timings, meal timings, privacy issues and communication guidelines, need to be confirmed beforehand, to not ruin the relationship you will eventually build with the host family. You should also confirm the rules related to children and pets since they can be a sensitive issue in most households.
3. Buy Presents for your Hosts
While it is not obligatory, it is always a good idea to give presents to members of the host family, or the family as a whole, as a token of appreciation for their hospitality and warmth. This will make for a great introduction as well as a way to build a stronger bond with the people who will be providing a home for you.
4. Keep an Open Mind
You are in a foreign country that most likely is not familiar with how you do things at home. The people may have different customs and things may be unfamiliar for you overall. Keeping an open mind to the new ways will help you get a better understanding and experience of the new culture.
5. Respect the Local Customs and Culture
You are in a new country, staying with people who are different from your family back home. The best way to adapt to the new environment is to respect the local customs and culture, as it will constitute of the general environment you are going to be surrounded with, for the entirety of your stay.
6. Help with Household Tasks
Either offer to help the family with household tasks or do little chores yourself, such as making the bed and cleaning the room you are living in, and bringing the family something they need from the market.
7. Communicate Openly with the Family
Communicating with the host family is the best way to open to them and to have them open to you. By communicating freely and openly, you will warm them up to you, making everyone feel even more at ease with their new guest/family member.
8. Participate in Family Activities
Get to know the culture of a new country by participating in the activities and events which the locals partake in. Participating in family events and activities will familiarize you even more with the family and vice versa.
9. Confirm Safety Protocols
You will need to know the safety protocols of the house you are staying in, in case of a fire, natural disaster or other such calamities. Confirm these details beforehand.
10. Be Independent
While you are living with a family and are depending upon them for houseroom, try not to depend on them for much else. Provided meals should be a benefit, not a necessity, and travels should be on your own coin.