International Website

Homestay Accommodation

Students under 18 years of age coming to study in NZ have accommodation arranged with New Zealand families – called a homestay.

Students are placed with a family matched as closely as possible to the requirements on the application form which students sent Wellington High School.

Living with a New Zealand family helps students learn about the New Zealand way of life and improve their English language. Host families make students welcome and, when they first arrive, help students to find their way around the city and to Wellington High School.

Students find that there are differences between life and customs in their home country and those in New Zealand.  Because students are coming to live in New Zealand, they need to be prepared to make some changes so that they can live happily here.

Homestays are usually within a 20 minute bus ride to school.

Students have their own room and the host family will make students feel part of their family. They will provide three meals a day. A cooked dinner in the evening and will make sure that food is available for breakfast. In many New Zealand families, breakfast consists of toast or cereal which people prepare for themselves. Lunch is sandwiches and fruit or some suitable alternative. If students have any strong likes or dislikes the host family should be aware of them from the information given on the homestay application.

Most New Zealand households have pets, usually a cat and often a dog.  Pets are frequently allowed inside the house.

Some helpful hints:

Basic Courtesies

In all New Zealand families, it is expected that when students are going out, they tell the family

  • where they are going
  • with whom they are going
  • what time they expect to be home

This is important because it is polite and because of safety in case of an accident.

Dinner times 

Dinner times are fixed. If students are not going to be in for dinner, they must tell their homestay family in the morning or on the day before. Students are usually expected to be home for dinner and home in the evenings during the school week.  Remembering, they are in this country to study and to improve their English language.

Smoking 

If students smoke before they come to New Zealand they need to know Wellington High School is a smoke free campus and most New Zealand homes are non-smoking. If students smoke they will need to go outside.

Use of bathroom, shower, toilet

Many New Zealand homes have only one bathroom. Students must consider other family members and not stay in the bathroom too long (15 minutes). They should also make sure that the bathroom is left clean and tidy after use.

In New Zealand, hot water is expensive and the supply in the house is limited. Students should not shower for more than 5 minutes. As New Zealand is not a hot country, it should not be necessary to shower more than once or twice a day.

Use of Electrical Appliances

These include lights, heaters, electric blankets, stereo, TV, radios, cookers. All appliances are 230/240 volts and students will need adaptors for their own appliances.

Because of the fire danger and the expense of electricity, these items need to be used with care and respect. All electrical appliances must be turned off when students are not in the room where they are being used.

Use of the Internet/Smartphones

Students may not illegally download music or movies from the internet.

Students may not use the internet or their smartphones after 11pm at night during the week.

Household Chores

Very few New Zealand families have servants or cleaners and most New Zealand women work outside the home. As a result, everyday household chores are shared among family members.

Students may be expected to keep their own room clean and tidy, to help clear away and wash the dishes after a meal and to do personal light washing and ironing. As students are part of a family, they will need to share in keeping the house clean and tidy.

Problems

Misunderstandings can occur because of differences in language and customs. If students are unhappy about anything, they must talk first with the homestay family as soon as the problem occurs. If the issue cannot be resolved talk to the Homestay Coordinator.

Holidays

If students go away from the homestay during the school holidays, for a week or more, the homestay family must be told in advance. The International Director can arrange a reduction in homestay payments for the time students are away.  Generally half is paid.