Homestay gives international students the chance to experience the “real” New Zealand. It’s also a unique opportunity for students to share their culture with the locals they live with, known as homestay hosts.
Whether you’re looking to expand your whānau and want to sign up as a homestay host now, or you need more info about hosting international students, New Zealand Homestay (NZH) is the place to start.
In this blog post…
Do you get paid for hosting international students?
Things to consider before becoming a homestay host
Who are the students looking for homestay?
Benefits to being a homestay host
What’s involved in becoming a homestay host?
NZH host reimbursement rates
Become an NZH host today!
1) Do you get paid for hosting international students?
Wondering if you can earn extra income from homestay hosting? New Zealand Homestay pays hosts for welcoming international students into their homes. We like to make it clear that homestay is more than a room for rent though.
Sharing your home with an international student means they often become part of the family. Although the minimum stay is 4 weeks, students have the option of extending their placement if they enjoy living in homestay and have made a good connection with their hosts.
How much do host families get paid in New Zealand?
We know that day-to-day costs increase when you add another person to your household, which is why we provide a host reimbursement for each homestay placement.
The amounts vary based on:
- The age of the student
- What meals you provide
- Whether you offer a private or shared room
- If you cater to special requests (e.g. dietary requirements or transport)
- Your location
On average, NZH homestay hosts earn around $203 per week for an over 18 student on a No Meals package. Hosting an under 18 student on the Complete Homestay package (i.e. three meals a day, seven days a week) pays between $310 and $360 per week.*
Visit our Homestay Host Payments page for host reimbursement rates* and other information about how hosts are paid.
Ready to get started?
2) Things you need to consider before becoming a homestay host
We don’t look for a certain “type” of host.
We are building a hosting community that is as diverse as the international students coming to live and learn in New Zealand.
At NZH, we focus on a person’s ability to provide a positive homestay experience for their guests and concentrate on matching the right guest to the right host. We know that hosts come from a variety of backgrounds and have their own hobbies and interests. You might live in a house, a townhouse, or an apartment. We do not place bias on household make up, religion or culture.
Before you contact a New Zealand homestay company or fill out a host application, you need to make sure you and the people you live with are ready to host an international student in your home. Ask yourself these questions…
Does everyone in your home like the idea of homestay?
As a host “family”, it is important that everyone is on board with having someone else live in your home. You will be sharing your space with another person, there may be changes to household routines or schedules, and everyone needs to feel comfortable interacting with new people (some may not speak English as well as you do). Think about your pets too – will they enjoy the extra company?
Who do you want to host?
While you can specify the type of student you would like to host, we encourage you to be open-minded. This increases the likelihood of being matched with a student and provides more opportunities for regular placements.
We understand you may have preferences based on gender and age. Are you prepared to host students under the age of 18 or only over 18s? Students may be in primary school, high school or university/polytech and each comes with differing levels of responsibility and needs, experiences and challenges.
You may also be required to prepare meals as a host for international students. Is that something you’re willing to do?
Is your home suitable for homestay hosting?
This is a basic checklist of what we look for when inspecting a residence.
Safety – The home is clean, safe, secure, in good repair, compliant with building codes, and not under renovation.
Furnished private room with lockable door – You must have a clean, comfortable room with a bed (no inflatables or fold-outs) and bedding (clean sheets, extra blankets), desk, chair, appropriate lighting, dresser, and closet space. The room should be comfortably cool/warm depending on the season with a fan/air conditioning or heating available if required.
Bathroom – The bathroom may be private or shared with the family, but the door needs to be lockable. Towels, toilet paper, cleaning products and other amenities should be available. Guests are responsible for their own personal toiletries.
Shared spaces and amenities – The home is equipped with kitchen/laundry facilities and adequate supplies for reasonable use. Reliable internet access is also required. Guests should have full access to common family areas like the living room and yard.
Location and Transport – Are you within 60 minutes’ travel time to major education hubs? It must be easy to access to public transport from your home.
Keep in mind that some areas are more popular than others. Demand for homestay placements will depend on international student enrolments at educational institutions in your city.
Can you meet the expectations of being a homestay host?
NZH hosts are expected to:
- provide secure, private, clean, and safe accommodation
- provide the guest with support and orientation including basic security, self-awareness and an understanding of local law and culture
- dedicate time and effort to assist your guest while they adjust to a foreign country
- speak fluent conversational English (while hosting students, English must be spoken at all times in the home by all residents)
- provide healthy nutritious meals in line with the package booked.
Hosting under 18 students also comes with additional responsibilities as they require extra support and care compared to older guests.
How do I make a foreign student comfortable in my home?
The main thing is to give students a warm welcome and be patient, caring and flexible.
We also recommend you take a look at these host family tips for a great student exchange experience from our friends at StudentRoomStay (part of the Global Homestay Alliance) so you have an idea of how to get the most out of a homestay.
Think homestay hosting is for you?
3) Who are the students looking for homestay?
International students studying in New Zealand may be here to experience the local culture and improve their English speaking skills, or they may be pursuing a specific program of study from a New Zealand educational provider.
NZH caters to high school students as well as foreign students undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate studies. We also coordinate homestays for study tours where students of all ages visit New Zealand to get a taste of what it would be like to study here in the future.
Where do homestay students come from?
Students come from all over the world to study in New Zealand with the top sending countries being China, India and South Korea. Other significant source countries include the United States, Japan, Vietnam, Brazil and Malaysia.
Will they speak English?
Yes. Students will typically have a basic understanding of English. Students who are accepted into university courses need to meet a minimum standard of English proficiency. Other students are here specifically to learn English and immerse themselves in the language to improve their skills. Many students find that staying in a welcoming Kiwi home is the best way to do that.
Length of Stay
In general, most homestay placements are for a period of 28 nights. After the initial placement period students can easily extend, often for 28 nights at a time, as long as the host family is available and the student wishes to continue living in homestay accommodation.
As a host you can specify your preferred duration and availability. Let us know if you have a preference for a short or long-term homestay placement.
Do you want to host with NZH?
4) Benefits to being a homestay host
You choose when you host. Your local NZH office will contact you with any prospective placements which you can accept or decline. Hosts can also update their availability at any time through the NZH host dashboard.
We handle the payments for you. As an NZH homestay host, you don’t have to chase up your guest for rent or pay commission to a real estate agent. We process host payments directly into your nominated bank account according to a schedule. NZH collects ongoing fees from your student and makes fortnightly payments to you for the duration of the placement.
Note: NZH cannot pay ongoing weekly fees to the host until we have received the funds from the student.
Insurance is included. NZH provides an exclusive insurance policy designed specifically for NZH hosts and NZH-managed guests in a homestay situation.
All approved hosts and guests are automatically covered under NZH’s insurance policy which offers liability protection as well as appropriate cover for students’ belongings.
NZH uses a unique host/student matching process to find the best fit. Both renting and hosting start with having a room available. But the next steps – to find, select and manage the person sharing your home – are very different. An important part of the NZH experience is matching visiting international students with the host that’s right for them. We do this by pairing guests and hosts based on common interests and lifestyle factors. Having a good connection means we’ve established the foundation for a positive homestay.
24/7 support. Our professional management team monitors and manages each homestay throughout the entire placement, from the matching process through to student departure and all times in between. We also have a 24/7 emergency phone line so you can call us anytime – day or night – if you need assistance while you are hosting.
Get to know new people and learn about different cultures from the comfort of your own home. By providing accommodation for international students is learning about another culture as you get to share your own. Whether you share culture through food, or discussing each other’s traditions and beliefs during the weekends, you’ll learn something new every day.
Rediscover your own country. We consider our hosts to be ambassadors for New Zealand, which means helping your international guests learn about the local culture, understand our lingo and encouraging them to see as much of the country as possible. This process gives you the chance to get in touch with your local community, explore New Zealand and appreciate what being a Kiwi is all about.
Make lifetime relationships. Many students stay in touch with their hosts long after they have finished their study. We’ve even had host parents visit homestay students in their home country, attend weddings, and become part of their guest’s extended family.
Want to sign up today?
5) What’s involved in becoming a homestay host?
The application process to become a homestay host is thorough, but pretty simple. You just need to complete these steps:
- Fill in the host application.
- Complete your NZH profile (we use your profile to match students to your home / family).
- Background checks, a home inspection and interview are conducted.
- Complete host training.
- If you fulfil all of these steps and meet our hosting criteria you will be added to our host pool.
Hosting a Student with New Zealand Homestay (NZH)
You now have an idea of what it’s like to be a homestay host. We’re always on the lookout for new host families in key student locations across New Zealand. If you’re ready to provide a caring home for a short or long-term guest – or even a study tour – we would love you to join the NZH community.
Become an NZH host today!
NZH host reimbursement rates
Visit our Homestay Host Payments page to see how much homestay hosts are paid where you live. There are no host fees to participate in our program.
* Host reimbursement amounts quoted on this post are based on 2023 rates.