Homestay Newsletter. July University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year. Frances Ross. Mary Powell

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1 July 2014 Mary Powell Frances Ross

2 Message from Roger McElwain (CEO) Welcome to this edition of the homestay Newsletter. To those of you who have recently agreed to take on homestay students, you will find that being a homestay parent is a very rewarding experience and that in many cases you will develop a long-term friendship with your homestay student. You are also a significant factor in the student s successful completion of his or her studies. To those of you who have had homestay students for a longer period of time, I am sure that you will confirm the above statements. More importantly, I would ask that you provide feedback to us on how we are performing from a management perspective and how we might be able to do homestay better. From my perspective, Mary and Francis are a great homestay team but I am sure that they would appreciate any feedback that you might have. Finally I wish to extend my thanks to all of you for opening up your homes to our students and making them so welcome. Thank-you.

3 10 QUICK TIPS FOR HOST FAMILIES For Group student departure times refer to your introduction letter or ask the Accommodation Office staff not the student as this may cause confusion. If you receive arrival details directly from your student check with the Accommodation Office that they have received them also. Obtain your students mobile number as soon as possible as this is the quickest way to communicate with each other. All students may apply for a holiday rate to hold their room if having a holiday of 21 nights or more. If the Host agrees by signing the form, the held room should be found as the way they left it on the students return. Weekend and course holiday meals consist of 3 meals per day for all students in homestay. If your student wishes to cook, set clear guidelines at the beginning about cleaning up after themselves. Always knock and wait for an answer before entering your student s room this is to reassure students that no-one will enter at an inopportune time for them. If your student tells you they are leaving, direct them to visit the Accommodation Office the following day to pick up the leaving form. Seven nights notice applies. Discuss internet payment at the beginning of your students stay write the date of the next payment on a whiteboard in a main living room so your student is aware when he/she needs to make payment again. This way you don t need to discuss it every month. Never leave an under 18 student alone overnight in your home this is a Code of Practice requirement for our organisation. Foundation Year Dates Term 2 Classes finish 10 October 2014 Term 3 Classes start 20 October 2014 Classes finish 29 May 2015 Exams 2-12 June 2015 Language Centre dates Mid term recess August 2014 Mid term Orientation August 2014 Classes start 25 August 2014 Term ends 10 October 2014

4 A Unique Homestay written in her own words by Janice (Chi Fen Huang) Although I home stay on a place that is not very close to the city, I have my first year living in a very modern house on the Otago Peninsula an absolute nature wonder place. Unlike other home stays, what I wake up to everyday is a view of farmlands with immense ocean stretching all the way in the background. Every time after coming back from school, I feel like entering a relaxing zone with lots of new things for me to discover. The windows in my room are mainly French windows, which I really enjoy it. During summertime, I would be woken up by the sunlight spreading on my face, and then a crystal clear sky, deep blue sea and herds of sheep grazing on the grassland would run into my eye. If that day is not a school day, I would spend the whole morning enjoying the moment with a novel and a cup of tea. Living on the peninsula, I spend a lot of time visiting the nature. I have seen amusing sunrises, sunsets and beautiful starry sky, which I know I could hardly witness them if I live in other home stays. It is understandable for some people to concern about the commute condition on the peninsula. For me, it is not actually a problem because there are two cars departing every day to the city in different time that are mainly based on school and work time. I can choose which person to go with, and arrange the pickup time with them. As a result, I am still able to go to school early and the library to study. Besides, I can go to the gym or hang out with friends just like other home stay students do. Moreover, the Barkers have no problem running me in to town for extra activities. For example, I am currently volunteering at the Otago SPCA, which is a morning job every Saturday. What I found really nice about the Barkers home stay is that they treat me as one of the family members as

5 well as an adult and a friend. I am able to participate most of the family activities. I have dinners with the Barkers every night; we do the dishes together and after that we would sit on coaches watching TV programs. I feel really comfortable living with them. They make me feel like being home. Especially having Kimberley accompanying me. We have lots of fun doing baking, watching movies and spending time together. Our house is really close to Sand-fly Bay Beach. If the weather is perfect, we would walk down to the beach to enjoy the sun and sand. The beach is just amazing. It has not been over-developed so most of the time you are able to spot sea lions taking sunbath and penguins walking up the shore! When it is holidays, the family would take me on a road trip for an adventure. So far they have taken me to lots of gorgeous cities along the east coast. Since the time I came to New Zealand, my English has improved a lot. At home, the Barkers are like my English teachers. They would correct my English grammar; teach me new vocabulary and many interesting New Zealand slangs, which is very useful for my learning. In conclusion, I really enjoy staying in the Barkers homestay and I am very glad that I could have such a unique experience during the time in New Zealand. Janice (Chi Fen Huang) Medical Attention If your student requires any medical attention during 9.00am-5.00pm they may make an appointment with Student Health, corner of Walsh and Albany Streets, After hours and weekends they should visit the Urgent Doctors at 95 Hanover Street, Home Security We have recently had an unfortunate incident where a family home was broken into and a large sum of money belonging to the student was stolen. To our dismay we have recently discovered that there are a number of families on our data base who do leave their homes unlocked during the day when they are not at home. Please be aware that once you have accepted an International student into your home protection for them is also required. Another aspect is that your unlocked home may affect a claim on insurance as the house was unsecured. Our students may bring very valuable items with them believing homestay is a safe environment. If you are hosting one of our students our expectation is that the family home is kept secure when family members are not home. We also urge you to encourage your student to bank large amounts of cash explain that you don t want that responsibility in your home.

6 Private Payments Our golden rule is please do not enter into any private payment arrangements with our students either University or Language Centre/Foundation Studies students. If they are placed by our Accommodation Office the payments continue in the same way once the students progress to a University level. After the students minimum period of homestay is completed, some students have been approaching their Hosts to ask if they can enter into a private arrangement with them rather than arranging it through the Accommodation Office. Students don t tend to understand the benefit of using our Accommodation Office. We have a large database of supportive and wonderful Host families to offer them and clear and consistent procedures that help protect the student and Host. Some students may confuse price with value! In our Host handbook this is one of our guidelines and unfortunately, if a Host family does enter into a private arrangement we take may them off our database. We suggest that if your student does approach you about paying privately you could refer them to our office and let them know that you are a registered Host family of ours and would like to remain so. Benefits for the student: Supported if there are problems, financially they are aware in advance of their homestay costing s, able to hold their room with a smaller payment. Benefits for the Host: Supported with any problems, financial security of not having to deal with the payments, hosts receive holiday payments to hold rooms for long periods, or if your student is away for short periods you are paid at full rate. The Accommodation Office staff are always happy to discuss this situation with you if you are feeling uneasy about being asked to host privately we have seen this happen to Hosts over the many years working in our office. The outcome for many Hosts is the student moves on quite quickly to go flatting without any thought for their Host family.

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