Homestay Newsletter. Farewell Wakamatsu! University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year. Frances Ross. Mary Wilson

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1 Farewell Wakamatsu! Mary Wilson Frances Ross

2 HOMESTAY NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2012 Welcome again to another Homestay Newsletter. The intent of the Homestay Newsletter is to ensure that you are well informed on UOLCFY in general and homestay matters in particular. It is also an opportunity to thank you for your on-going support over the past few months. Currently we have 138 students in homestay accommodation which is an increase on last term. The average duration of stay has declined over time and now generally students have varying lengths of stay in homestay accommodation before they go elsewhere. From an academic point of view we would prefer that they spend longer in homestay accommodation because it provides a stable and supportive study environment, and because they have more opportunities to practice their English. However many international students chose to go flatting with other students or by themselves once they get to know Dunedin and the University environment. From my point of view, our ability to offer quality homestay accommodation is a significant selling point from a City, University and UOLCFY perspective. You can be justifiably proud of your efforts in providing a stable and secure study environment for our students. I am sure that there have been a number of challenges that you have had to deal with over the past six months Frances and Mary keep me well informed but in nearly every case we seem to achieve win win solutions. Moreover, the students themselves continue to sing your praises and offer nothing but compliments regards their accommodation and your efforts. Well done and thank you. Roger McElwain CEO Language Centre Dates Spring term ends 19 October 2012 Summer term Orientation October 2012 Mid term Orientation 7 January 2013 Summer term ends 15 February 2013 Foundation Year Dates October intake Orientation October 2012 Classes start 22 October 2012 Classes finish 31 May 2013 Exams 03 June 14 June 2013

3 Change in circumstances in your family From time to time things can change within your family home. It is important to let us know of any changes which may occur so we can update your details on our database. It is important when we are placing students that we have the current information to match correctly. Some examples of changes are: Acquisition of a new pet Children or partners moving in or out of your home If you are planning a holiday and have a current student New mobile/phone numbers New addresses Alterations to your home If your student moves unexpectedly from your home Locks for bathrooms and toilet areas Please ensure that locks are installed in your bathroom and toilet areas. Students may feel quite vulnerable when using the bathroom and locks are essential. Smoke alarms in the students bedroom For safety reasons we strongly urge all families to install a smoke alarm into your students bedroom area. The presence of a bedroom heater which is a minimum requirement under the Code of Practice for international students can definitely warrant the installation of a smoke alarm within the bedroom. This is an added safety measure for your student and your family home. Students leaving homestay Golden rule for any change is 7 nights notice The process for a student leaving your homestay is they must bring home the leaving form for you to sign 7 nights prior to the leaving date. The leaving form must be returned to the Accommodation office the following day. Your student may need a prompt from you to visit our office to pick up the leaving form if they tell you they are leaving. It is part of the adventure for a student to want to try out flatting with their friends or move closer to town. Students often tell us they feel worried about talking to their host families about leaving as they feel their host may feel sad or angry. For this reason, please always try to keep the communication friendly within the 7 night leaving period so you and the students can go through the process with ease. It is often the case that the students wish to have a continued relationship with their host families after they have moved on. We now the extension dates for students Our new practice of ing hosts with all extensions seems to be working and please let us know if you are experiencing problems with this in any way. We will post the extension letter to hosts who do not have internet access.

4 Homestay handbook for students When we place a student within your home, we send out a Student Homestay Handbook to the student as part of a welcome pack for them when they arrive. As part of an orientation into your home, we urge homestay families to actually read through the Student Handbook with their new student to ensure they are fully aware of homestay guidelines. This can be a good time at the beginning of their stay for you to slowly go over the booklet with them and a great way to get chatting to each other. We offer all students starting a new term an extensive orientation this may be missed if a new student starts classes in between term dates. It is a good practice to re-iterate the guidelines from the booklet and a good time for you to become acquainted with each other. The Stan Turner Memorial Art exhibition Recently we hosted an art exhibition for the students and their friends which was very successful. Our very talented students created artwork (photos, sketches and paintings) which were auctioned and all proceeds went to the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust. The auction created a real buzz around the building and the calibre of artwork was outstanding. Host evening We have a fantastic night planned for our yearly host evening. The date will be Thursday 22nd November 2012 at 5.30pm till 7.00pm. This is a great time for all host families to mingle and have a friendly chat with one another. As this is the big social event for our hosts we hope you can all attend to socialise together. Come and join us drinks and nibbles will be provided.

5 New students arriving who hosts directly with arrival details Our process is: Students or agents the Accommodation Office in the first instance to allow the flight details to be checked, database information to be updated and to start payments to the host from the day of arrival. Our office lets hosts know the details directly by phone and . To avoid any loss of payment for your new student please inform the Accommodation Office immediately if you receive the arrival details directly from your new student or agent. If the student contacts you directly the Accommodation Office may not know of the arrival and payments may be missed as our process has been interrupted. STUDENT PROFILE Jamie Wong I am 22 and have recently moved out from homestay where I had been living for nearly four years. Saying goodbye to the most wonderful homestay family (host parents plus three cutie dogs) in Dunedin is hard. During the past three years, I have been asked many times by friends to move out and go flatting. Since I had been staying with my host family for nearly four years, I have about 15 host sisters. We are still friends even after separating. Meeting new host sisters while staying in the same house can be interesting. You never feel lonely as every student is in the same boat - away from home. This homestay has gradually become my second home. It has given me a secure and warm feeling. I still remember that whenever I got home, the first thing I would do was to get changed into pyjamas. I can say I was really lucky to have my lovely host parents. They are generous, caring and grateful. They accept and respect students cultures and personalities. They take care of us not only physically, but also emotionally. I had so much fun during my stay in homestay. I liked playing with the dogs at home, playing on the trampoline and watching movies in the lounge (where most of the host sisters gathered and had fun). Having stayed with them for a long time, they made me understand that communication, trust and respect are very important in life, which is applicable to maintain a good relationship with both the host parents, sisters and brothers. As you have got no choice but to speak English with them, it is one of the best and fastest ways to improve your English as well as learning the Kiwi slang. Dinner time (or what the Kiwis usually call tea time) is really important in a Kiwi family. This is the time where family members gather, communicate and share their everyday lives. Of course, there are times that you may face problems while staying in homestay. The homestay ladies can be your final solution when you find it difficult to talk to your host parents. The homestay ladies are always friendly and helpful. Don t feel scared. They always greet you with a big smile! Well, Good Luck to my new adventure and Good Luck to those who are moving in or staying in homestay. Enjoy life!

6 HOMESTAY PROFILE Heather, Lewis and Olive Bonney Our family has been hosting international students since August My children (Lewis and Olive) and I have had the opportunity to host students from Japan, China, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. Hosting students has been a fabulous learning experience for our family. We really enjoy learning about different cultures and ways of life, from the small differences like What do you usually eat for breakfast in your home country to bigger things (from the children s point of view!) like How do you celebrate your birthday and Christmas in your home country? My daughter Olive just loves learning phrases in different languages from our students. We enjoy participating in local events with our students, such as the winter carnival, the chocolate festival and also school fairs. Our students become quite attached to the children and enjoy coming along to the children s sports events and dance recitals to cheer them on. Hosting students has also helped us see the beauty of Dunedin as we show our students beautiful places like Taiaroa Head, Larnach s castle, the botanic gardens and our beaches we can see these places through our students eyes and really feel proud to be living in a such a wonderful city. Our students and I quickly become friends on Facebook, and this has been a great tool for staying in touch as they move forward with their studies and move away from Dunedin. What my students enjoy the most about Facebook is seeing recent photos of the children and how much they have grown. They enjoy commenting on these photos and staying in touch in this easy way with our family. We really enjoy maintaining relationships with our students and having ongoing friendships with them.

7 Upcoming events Chinese Gardens Friday November 2 Peninsula Tour Sunday November 4 Baseball Friday November 9 Horse Riding Friday November 16 Petanque Friday November 23 Queenstown - November (Numbers dependent) Christmas Cards Friday November 30 Group departures We have had two short term groups departing recently these being the Wakamatsu High School and Otaru University of Commerce from Japan. A big thank you to all of our wonderful host families who cared and supported their students. We would like to acknowledge the extra support you showed due to the time frame being short. We have received favourable reports from the Japanese University leaders about how impressed they were with the homestay arrangements and the quality of care which was shown during their short stay.

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