Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about our services.

Becoming an ISCA Host

Who can host and what is required?

All Homestay Hosts must:

  • be a legally competent person over 25 years of age (not subject to Guardianship or Administration);
  • be a Citizen or Permanent Resident of Australia;
  • have no criminal record and otherwise be a fit and proper person of good reputation;
  • not a bankrupt;
  • be covered under a Homestay insurance policy in accordance with ISCA requirements; and
  • adhere to all standards, policies and procedures as outlined in the Homestay Code of Conduct.
How long do students stay?

Students generally stay anywhere from one term or longer.  Most of our students are in school for at least a year.

What suburbs of Brisbane do you need Homestay hosts?

Our students attend schools in Brisbane City, Hawthorne, Ascot, South Brisbane, Coorparoo, Sunnybank, Scarborough.  If you live 35- 50 minutes by public transport from these suburbs then your home may be suitable.

Can I host if I have a pet?

You can host a student if you have a pet.  Although we find some students are either scared or have not experienced living with a pet before so please ensure you help the student to become acquainted with your pet.  Don’t let your pets jump up on the student. Some students have allergies so we will not be able to place them in a home with pets.

Do we need to be native English speakers?

You need to speak clear, correct English in your home anytime your student is around but you do not need to be a native English speaker.  One of the primary objectives of homestay is for the students to improve their English, they need to learn from your conversations.

Do the students speak English?

Prior to the students arriving in your Homestay they have undertaken an English Language course (minimum 6 week course).  The students are required to have a level of English proficiency prior to commencing High School.  Encouraging the student in conversational English is the best way for them to improve their English.  They are here to improve their English so please be patient with them.

Are any background checks required?

Homestay hosts and adult residents, over the age of 18, living in the Homestay require a Blue Card or Exemption. A Blue Card is required PRIOR to hosting a child in homestay.  ISCA can assist you in obtaining a Blue Card if required. 

Does ISCA comply with any Homestay standards?

ISCA complies with the Australian Government Schools International Homestay Standards. Homestay Standards require:

  • A safe, secure, private bedroom (with a door) for your Student’s sole use that has:
    • suitable storage for clothes, personal belongings and study materials;
    • a free-standing bed with a mattress in good condition (bed size – minimum single);
    • clean weekly bed linen to be provided;
    • study facilities including a desk, chair and adequate lighting;
    • some form of heating in winter (if required) and cooling in summer (a ceiling or freestanding fan);
  • A clean and tidy household with access to shared living areas.
  • Access to (shared or private) bathroom/toilet facilities with reasonable time allowed for daily showers.
  • Free access to the use of television, Wi-Fi passwords, internet facilities for standard use (music, movies, games not included in standard use).
  • Non-standard internet usage is to be negotiated between the homestay host and Student.
  • Access to household items such as towels, sheets, blankets and eating/cooking utensils.
  • Use of household items as mutually agreed between family and Student for their appropriate use.
  • Students provided free – any keys or alarm password/Pins required to access the homestay.
What is the application process?
  1. Submit your on-line request to be contacted or phone ISCA directly. click here
  2. ISCA will contact you and send out introductory information and an application form.
  3. Fill out your ISCA Homestay application including signed Homestay Standards and Code of Conduct and any Blue Card documents ( Homestay profiles are used to match the best students to your home/family)
  4. Background checks and interviews are conducted

You’re ready to host!

What if it doesn’t work out?

ISCA offers 24/7 support for both the hosts and students, we will assist you throughout the time you are hosting for us.  If things aren’t working and can’t be resolved, we’ll arrange for a transfer of your student to a different homestay.

Host – Rules & Responsibilities

Do students have curfew times?

During the school week, your student should travel home directly from school (perhaps a quick trip to the shops, if necessary) but basically, students should not be at a shopping centre for any length of time wearing their school uniform. From Sunday to Thursday nights, students should always be home by 6pm;

On weekends (Friday and Saturday nights), your student should also always be home BY 10pm (not leaving the city or activity at 10pm). If a social activity is planned (eg a party with school friends) 10pm is the curfew time, and a student should be picked up rather than catch public transport from the venue. Prior to the activity, the host family should make contact with the person arranging the activity to ensure there will be suitable and adequate supervision, and obtain name/address and contact phone numbers;

Can I have my own set of house rules?

If you’re like most of us, you probably don’t think about your house rules. They’re so familiar to you that they’re just part of your life. You will need to think about them and it’s important to make clear what you expect from your student from the beginning. The more predictable you can make the student’s environment, the less stressful his or her adjustment will be. The clearer you are in your own mind about what behaviour is important to you and why, the easier it will be to get your student to accept your (foreign to your student) patterns. You will also find it more comfortable for you to compromise on things that matter less.

Do I need to clean their rooms and pick up after them? What about their bathroom?

The student should keep their own room tidy and pick up after themselves.  You should wash their linen and vacuum the room on a weekly basis.  It is reasonable to ask the student to help with household chores.

What about laundry?

Discuss your washing/laundry routine, eg the days of the week you do laundry.  If your student prefers to wash their own clothes, show them how, when and where to do so.  We have found it is good for a student to do their own ironing. 

Can I ask the student to participate in household chores?

The student is expected to help with housework just like other members of the family. Give the student a roster or set of chores to help you with, like taking a turn in setting the table at night for the evening meal, washing and drying dishes and feeding the family pets.  If other family members prepare their own lunch and breakfast, soon after your student arrives, encourage and show them how to also make their own.  Speak with your homestay student to explain your household routine.

Do I need to supply internet?

Please let them know your house rules for Internet usage. Encourage the student to seek permission from you and obey house rules regarding Internet use. Here are some helpful guidelines you may give your student:

  • use only at the time that is appropriate and under the conditions allowed
  • exercise caution with internet sites accessed by the student as accessing insecure sites,.
  • avoid visiting sites which maybe considered inappropriate by the household.
  • do not download any amounts of information, video streaming, music and flashcards on their laptop.

Payment for Hosting

How much do I get paid to host?

ISCA will make homestay payments to you, in arrears, for the period that you host your Student in your home. The amount of the homestay payment and the dates covered are indicated in the letter you receive prior to a Student commencing homestay.

When your Student is away from your home for school holidays, with their belongings kept safely in their room for their intended return, your homestay payment will be adjusted.

ISCA will notify you in the event to any change in the weekly Homestay payment rate.

If we overpay you, we may reduce your future homestay payments by the amount of the overpayment or require you to repay the overpayment to ISCA within 14 days. The overpayment will be a debt due and owing to ISCA by you.

Information on the fortnightly pay rate will be given at the time of your enquiry.  Please contact ISCA directly for further details.

How many guests can I host?

ISCA Homestay students, are required to have their own bedroom and not share.  Generally ISCA will place no more than 2 long term students in a home

My student wants to pay me directly. What do I do?

You must never request or receive homestay payments directly from your Student.  Contact ISCA so we can speak to the student and/or Agent.

Do I pay tax on my homestay payment?

Generally speaking, you can host up to 2 students at any point and the payments will not be tax assessable however we recommend speaking with your accountant about your individual circumstances.

Food

What food do I provide?

You must provide your Student with three meals each day and reasonable access to snacks.  Meals should be nutritious (include meat and vegetables) and in accordance with your Student’s dietary and medical needs.

What food do they like to eat?

The students are here to experience Australia, therefore you should introduce them to the everyday foods you prepare in your home.  Some guests will be very easy-going about food and others will have a harder time adapting.  Invite them to go shopping with you, they may like to help in cooking a meal they enjoy.

Holidays and Outings

What if I need a break or want to go on holidays?

Contact ISCA as soon as possible and let us know the dates you intend to be away.  If you are unable to find someone who can either stay in your home or the student can stay with then ISCA will arrange a homestay.   The person/s looking after your student must have a current Blue Card.

Do I take my student out to dinner, on excursions, and on family trips?

It is important for you to encourage the student to become part of your family and a great way of doing this is by getting them involved in your daily activities. For example shopping, visiting relatives or trips away.

When do I pay for outings and dinner out?

You may ask the student to pay for activities such as excursions, movies and other forms of entertainment. If the dinner out is replacing the meal you would have made at home you should pay for your student.

Home and Public Liability Insurance

Do I need to get special insurance to be a host?

 

You must hold HomestayHost Insurance-plus with a minimum legal liability insurance of no less than $20 million and provide ISCA with a Certificate of Currency of the insurance, when requested; and;

Advise ISCA as soon as reasonably practicable of any damage done to your property caused by your Student.

Host – Common Questions

How do I make the student comfortable in my home?

You may want to try some of the following ideas to make you and your student feel at home with each other:

  • A welcome sign at your door or in his or her bedroom will set the stage and let your student know you are glad he or she is there.
  • Find out what your student’s preferred name or nickname is – and have everyone practise pronouncing it.
  • Help your student talk. Keep talking – slowly (but not loudly!) – they don’t need to understand every word to get the idea.
  • Point out vocabulary words around the house – “your bed”, “towel”, “bathroom”, “dog”, “tree”, “garage”, etc.
  • Take a walk around your neighbourhood to help your student locate the house and feel comfortable in the area. Draw a map showing your home, school, friends, shops, bus stops etc.
  • Help your student pronounce your street name, address and family name. Write them down so that your student can keep it in his or her wallet at all times. Recommend he or she memorises your telephone number and understands how a pay phone works. If your student has a mobile phone ensure that you both exchange numbers.
  • Encourage your student to go to bed early, especially in the first week to adjust to their new environment. It takes a lot of energy to concentrate on speaking English all the time in their new surroundings so encourage your student to have plenty of rest.
Do I need to provide transportation for my guest?

Students should be able to get to and from school on Public Transport by themselves. If a student is travelling at night on Public Transport you may have to meet them at their stop to ensure their safety. On occasion you may have to assist them if they have missed their transport, this should not be a common occurrence.

The guest refuses to turn off the lights at night, what should I do?

Sometimes they feel uncomfortable with the lights turned off. Try a night light or a bulb with a low wattage. Explain the high cost of electricity in Australia.

The guest asked me to purchase a special personal item for the bathroom. Am I responsible for that?

You are not expected to purchase their personal bathroom items such as shampoo and deodorant.

My student guest is feeling very unhappy/depressed – what do I do?

If you suspect your student is unhappy or depressed ask them to speak to their International Co-Ordinator. Give ISCA a call and we can follow up with the school. Students will often feel homesick and overwhelmed at times.

Can I be in touch with the student guest’s parents?

Yes you can keep in touch with the student’s parents. If an emergency occurs ISCA must be contacted first, do not make contact with the family in this instance.

Are my guests allowed to stay away overnight?

The homestay family MUST notify ISCA if the correct procedure has been followed and approval given by school to sleep away from the homestay family – even if it is just an overnight stay or if you are travelling with your host family. Under current legislation, ISCA needs to keep track of your whereabouts at all times.

Irrespective of age (high school students who are under or over 18 years of age), sleepovers with friends is not encouraged. Unless prior arrangements have been made, forms signed and permission granted, students are not permitted to travel and stay overnight away from their homestay family home. ISCA also requires notification that a student will be away from their homestay family after the correct procedure has been followed and permission granted. The host family must be involved in the arrangements regarding transport, pick up etc. A day trip (eg to the Gold Coast) arriving home before dark is permitted. It is essential that you know where your student is at ALL times; If students wish to undertake any holiday travel during their program, they must notify, and provide details to, the staff at their school at least two weeks before they travel. If the school does not approve the travel for safety reasons, because it affects attendance, or creates a visa problem, permission will not be given, even if the natural parents have agreed in writing.

Students should ask the school for an “International Student Travel Request Form.” This form needs to be signed by the student’s parents, education agent (ie, ISCA), and the homestay family for all travelling requiring an overnight stay. This form should be lodged with the school’s International Student Co-Ordinator at least two weeks before travelling. Students must provide contact details and a proposed itinerary as part of their travel request. The travel must then be approved by the school principal. Students must ensure that they return to school on time to start the new term.

Failure to comply with this procedure may result in the student’s enrolment in school AND their student visa being cancelled.

What should you do if the student’s parents wish to stay?

The student is expected to advise you in advance if and when their natural parents are planning to visit them. Please make an effort to meet with them if your busy routine permits. You are not required to host the student’s parents whilst they are visiting.

My student is sick, do I let their school know?

Everyday your student is unwell contact with the School must be made. You should ring the School’s absentee line for their school. A student cannot ring the School if they are going to be absent.

My student needs medical assistance, what do I do?

If the student becomes unwell, you may give them medication that is safe to take, provided they do not have known allergies; otherwise make an appointment and take them to see a doctor who may prescribe medication. If the student needs any emergency procedure, please contact ISCA immediately who will contact the student’s school.

What should my student call me?

This is your choice. Whatever both you and the student feel comfortable with.

Is it ok for me to go into my student’s room when they are not there?

Privacy is important. You must respect your Student’s privacy. This includes ensuring that your Student is provided with privacy in their bedroom and in the bathroom and toilet (e.g. all persons knock and seek permission before entering). If you plan to clean the room then let them know when you will do this.

Your access to your Student’s personal information is subject to information privacy law. You must not record, store, use or disclose (including on social media) your Student’s personal information except:

  1. to communicate with ISCA or school staff about your Student’s schooling, welfare or the homestay program;
  2. as required or authorised by law; or
  3.  with the express consent of your Student and their parent (for example, seek permission before taking photographs of your Student and only share the photograph with their consent).

Students – Homestay Information

How Does Homestay Work?

Homestay is an opportunity for International Students to live in a warm and welcoming environment and be hosted by an Australian family. Australia is a modern multi-cultural society. Some members of your host family may have come to live in Australia from another country e.g. New Zealand, Philippines, Greece, China or India to mention a few. Some families will be very busy and organised with both parents working outside the home, while in other families only one parent may be working.
While there is no typical Australian family, ISCA does provide quality homes in which you will be assured of a wonderful experience.

Does ISCA comply with any Homestay Standards?

ISCA complies with the Australian Government Schools International Homestay Standards. Homestay Standards require

  • A safe, secure, private bedroom (with a door) for your Student’s sole use that has:
    • suitable storage for clothes, personal belongings and study materials;
    • a free-standing bed with a mattress in good condition (bed size – minimum single);
    • clean weekly bed linen to be provided;
    • study facilities including a desk, chair and adequate lighting;
    • some form of heating in winter (if required) and cooling in summer (a ceiling or freestanding fan).
  • A clean and tidy household with access to shared living areas.
  • Access to (shared or private) bathroom/toilet facilities with reasonable time allowed for daily showers (recommended 4 to 5 minutes by Brisbane City Council).
  • Free access to the use of television, Wi-Fi passwords, internet facilities for standard Student use (music, movies, games not included in standard use).
  • Non-standard internet usage is to be negotiated between the homestay host and Student.
  • Access to household items such as towels, sheets, blankets and eating/cooking utensils.
  • Use of household items as mutually agreed between family and Student for their appropriate use.
  • Students provided free – any keys or alarm password/Pins required to access the homestay.
How much does Homestay cost?

Contact ISCA here so we can send you the latest Schedule of Fees.

How close will I live to my education provider?

ISCA will match each student with a host family located no more than 50 minutes total travel time from the student’s place of education by Public Transport.

When can I leave Homestay?

Some schools may allow you to make an application to live independently once you have turned 18, and if you have been with your current School for at least one term and have proven good attendance. The school will notify ISCA if you are successful. You must provide at least 2 weeks’ written notice by email of your intention to leave your homestay.

Student Rules & Responsibilities

What are my responsibilities living in the homestay?

When living in a homestay it is your responsibility to help with household chores and keep your bedroom and bathroom clean and tidy. You need to show respect for others and follow the house rules outlined to you. You should keep an open mind and be willing to try new foods and experiences. It is important that you communicate with your homestay family, if you have any concerns as generally most things can be resolved by speaking directly to the family. Detailed information on your responsibility to ISCA can be found in the ISCA Student Code of Conduct.

Am I permitted to be a passenger with a ‘P’ or ‘L’ plate driver?

No, for safety reasons as an international student you may not ride as the passenger in any vehicle driven by any ‘P’ or ‘L’ plate driver including a family friend, relative or member of your Homestay family.

What are the rules around internet usage?

If you are accessing internet on the host family’s wireless system (Wi-Fi), you need to follow some rules and protocols for the usage of Internet. Students will negotiate the use of telephone, computer and internet facilities with the homestay family and abide by the homestay family decision in relation to this usage. Students should not download large files (5MB or more, including movies, games and music) at the homestay family’s internet expense. You should predominately be using the family’s internet for school related work and keeping in contact with your natural parents.
It is illegal for students to access material that is deemed “objectionable” or “unsuitable for minors” and/or for downloading content, that is illegal to possess.

Do I need to tidy my room?

All members of the family are expected to help with housework. Every morning make your bed neatly, hang up your clothes and put out your laundry/dirty clothes for washing. Each week, clean and tidy your room, take out your rubbish to the bin. Take your turn in setting the table at night for the evening meal, washing and drying dishes and feeding the family pets. Offer to help with cooking meals at night and preparing your own school lunch and breakfast, if this is the normal routine for other family members. Speak with your homestay family to confirm their household routine.

Student – Common Questions

Where do I store my dirty laundry and how do I wash my clothes?

Discuss with your homestay mother the days of the week she usually does the family washing/laundry.  She will show you where to put your dirty laundry.  It is recommended that you purchase three sets of school uniforms, as a minimum.  If you prefer to do your own washing, please discuss this and your host family will show you how, when and where to do so.  It is advisable for a student to do their own ironing.

For how long can I shower? Can I take a bath?

Every culture has different standards of “cleanliness.” For example, bathing once a week may be considered socially acceptable in one country, but in Australia it would be considered unhealthy because of the temperate climate. People normally shower daily. Showering, in addition to shampooing hair and washing clothes frequently, allows people to remain free from body odour. While you are in Australia, you should shower every day and use hygiene products, such as personal deodorant. Ask your host family how long you may spend in the shower – four minutes is usual. Showering is recommended rather than having a bath because of the water consumption required.

Australia is a very dry country and water is scarce and it is expected that people will not spend a lot of time in the shower.

My host said I should ‘help myself’, what does that mean?

This means you can take the piece of fruit or snack without asking every time.

What does mealtime mean?

Mealtime is usually a time at night when the whole family will sit together and eat.

Am I allowed to bring alcohol into my homestay?

Students are not permitted to be served or consume alcohol in licensed premises, public places or in Homestay. You are not permitted to bring alcohol into your homestay.

What time do I need to turn down my music, finish making phone calls or stop talking on Skype?

Approximately 10/10.30 pm or as advised by your Homestay family.

I prefer to stay up late studying when my host family are asleep, is this okay?

Speak to your Host family about the lights out time and their expectations.

Am I allowed to invite guests into my homestay?

Some Host are agreeable to having guests sleep over and some are not. You will need to ask your homestay family if they are happy for you to have guests in their home.  Some hosts are okay with you having guests over, as long as you inform them in advance.  If the guest is an international student and staying overnight they must have written permission from their school to stay over.  Both homestay families should know that permission has been given.

Can I stay away for a night or the weekend?

No not unless prior arrangements have been made. This includes relevant school permission forms that need to be signed and permission granted. ISCA also requires notification that you will be away from your homestay family.

What is required if I travel to my home country in the holidays?

Students should ask the school for an “International Student Travel Request Form.”  This form needs to be signed by the school and the homestay family before any travel.  This form should be accompanied with your flight details and lodged with the school’s International Student Co-Ordinator at least two weeks before travel.  Students must provide contact details and a proposed itinerary as part of their travel request.  The travel must then be approved by the school principal.

If I lose my key what should I do?

You will need to inform your homestay family as soon as you realise your key is missing.  You may need to cover any costs associated with losing the key.

Still need help? Send us a note!

For any other questions, please send us a message, click here  or call us on +61 7 3851 0704.

Find Out More About Our Homestay Services

Contact Us

Phone: +61 7 3851 0704
 Mobile: +61 427 269 360
Email: click here

 

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