INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS HOMESTAY HANDBOOK

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1 INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS HOMESTAY HANDBOOK

2 HOMESTAY We want you to be happy in your homestay Keeping these simple rules of respect will help make your homestay experience a happy one. 1. Be part of the family enjoy your host parents, brothers and sisters. Respect them and be friendly. They will treat you the same way. 2. Respect the house as a home it is not a hotel. Respect personal and private property of your family. Always ask before borrowing or using any personal items. 3. Ask permission to invite your friends to your home. 4. Always tell your family where you are going and if you are going to be late home from school for any reason. 5. You must ask your Homestay Parents permission to stay overnight at a friends house. They will require the address and telephone number to contact you in an emergency. 6. You must go straight home after school unless you have prior permission to play sport or participate in any other after school activity. We encourage you to play with your friends but for anything after school you must get permission from your homestay BEFORE the event. Your homestay family must know where you are at ALL times. 7. Teach your homestay family about YOUR country and show them pictures of your family. Use Google Earth to show them where you live, where you school is etc. You can also use Google translate (which can sometimes be very funny). One of the main things we can advise you is to smile and be polite. Make sure you learn how to say please, thank you, hello, good morning and good night. These simple phrases will let your homestay family know that you are a polite student and will also reflect well on your parents back home. 2

3 Your Homestay Family may not have both a father and a mother. This is common in New Zealand. Your homestay family may be just as nervous about getting to know you as you are getting to know them. Patience, manners and a warm smile will always help in any situation. Sometimes problems arise. Most problems are solved very quickly. Occasionally it may be necessary for a student to change his or her family but usually students remain happily in their families. Talk to your Guardian, Homestay Parents, Mrs Inger or Mrs Hines about any problems immediately or speak with your parents back home; they can tell us if you are having problems. We cannot help you solve a problem if we don t know about it. It is very important to talk about it so that your experience is a happy one. Your new homestay family want you to be happy too. BEDROOM: Please feel free to study in your room but do not spend all your time in your bedroom. Try to talk to your family about different things every day. You may have many things to share and talking with your Host Family will assist your English. Members of your host family will generally knock on your door but some (small children) may walk into your room without knocking. This is because they are treating you as a family member. If you are concerned about this, speak to your homestay parents. There are no locks on bedroom doors in our country. If a door is shut please knock. The bed may be different from your country. We sleep between the sheets which we wash each week. Ask your family to show you how to make your bed if unsure. Keep your room tidy. Your homestay carer will tell you about arrangements for keeping your room tidy and what you will be expected to do. New Zealand families like to let sunlight and fresh air into bedrooms. We pull back the curtains and sometimes open the windows during the day. Please ask advice before opening the windows. Bed Time: Most New Zealand children go to bed from 8.00 pm onwards depending on their age. Most Intermediate age children will go to bed between 8.30 and 3

4 9.30pm but please check with your homestay parents. It s the custom to say good night to each other before we go to bed. BATHROOM, SHOWER & TOILET: In most New Zealand homes the bathroom is very busy in the morning. Try to be as quick as you can. Bathing and Showering: Ask you family what time is best to have your shower or bath. When taking a shower; pull the curtain across so that the curtain is on the inside of the bath or shut the shower door and put a bath mat on the floor to stop it getting wet. Only take 5-10 minutes in the shower. Try not to use too much hot water. Hot water in New Zealand is expensive. Check with your host mother where to put your wet towels. Toilet: Males: Remember to raise the toilet seat before urinating. Laundry: Your host mother will wash your clothes and tell you where to put your dirty clothes. MEALS: Start your meal when the family starts to eat. It is a good idea to say thank you for dinner to the person who cooked the meal. She/he will appreciate it. A New Zealand family usually eat their meals together. Remember to ask someone to pass the salt, salad, sauce etc to you. It is good to pass these things to other people. Do not reach over the table. It is OK to say no thank you to food you do not like. Your family will not mind, but do try a few new foods. It is all part of your New Zealand experience. It is usual to stay at the table until everyone has finished eating. Ask your family what food you can eat yourself between meals. 4

5 Try to eat with your mouth closed and try not to make too much noise with your mouth when eating as this may be considered impolite in western culture. You may want to help cook. Talk to your host carer about this. Don t speak on the telephone at meal times. Ring your friend back after the meal. No phones should be at the table nor should any hats be worn at the table when eating. Host families may appreciate help to: Set the table Serve the meal Clear the table Pack/unpack the dishwasher Lunches: Talk to your family about lunches. Tell them what you like and what you don t like. HELPING AROUND THE HOME: In New Zealand it is usual for EVERYONE to help with the household jobs. These include: Helping to wash the dishes or pack/unpack the dishwasher Helping to prepare meals or set the table Helping to clear the table after meals Keeping your own room tidy FAMILY OUTINGS: It is fun to join in with family outings and visits. This is a chance to see the country, make new friends and practice you re English. If your family goes somewhere that involves expense, for example the zoo or movie check with your guardian and homestay family what money you may need to take with you. These are personal expenses and you may be responsible for paying your own entrance fees. 5

6 CULTURAL DIFFERENCES: Spitting: You should NEVER EVER spit in public. This is very impolite in western culture and is considered extremely rude and dirty. Blowing your nose: If you have a cold it is generally considered good manners to use a tissue and blow your nose. Sniffing is considered impolite. Family Disagreements: It is usual for New Zealanders to show how they feel. If they are not happy or disagree with something they usually let the other person know. We are often direct when we are angry and we think it is okay to express anger. This can be embarrassing to students. Children and teenagers will often argue with each other or their parents. If you feel the family is always shouting or arguing and you feel uncomfortable, please let Sharon Hines or Anna Inger know. Showing Affection: Many European families often show affection in public and around the home. If you are not comfortable with being cuddled or touched then please let us know so that we can tell your homestay family. Eye Contact: It is polite to look at someone when you talk to them; even adults. Some students may find this difficult at first. 6

7 GENERAL INFORMATION: Transport: All public buses are pay as you enter or you can buy a special travel card (Hop Card) with your student ID card. We have no train service on the North Shore. Please see Mrs Neville in the front office if you have any questions about school buses. Pets: New Zealanders enjoy family pets. Most houses have a cat or dog inside. These animals may often sleep on the bed in some houses. Keeping Warm: New Zealand houses are generally bigger and much colder than those in your country. The living area is usually heated. Most New Zealand people prefer to wear a warm jersey (sweater) than turn on a heater. It is essential to have warm clothes. When you are cold try to do it the New Zealand way first-put on a warm jersey, trousers and socks. It is important to stay warm. Electric Blankets: Many families use an electric blanket to warm the bed. Do not sleep with the blanket turned on. Make sure it is turned off during the day otherwise it may cause a fire. Families who do not use electric blankets will provide alternative heat. Using Heaters: Do not leave heaters turned on for long periods of time. Electricity is expensive in New Zealand. Always check with your homestay mother or father before you turn on the heaters. Telephone Calls & Internet: You must discuss internet usage with your homestay family. In many homes the internet service is turned off at night. Most students use their own phones 7

8 to call home via the internet or Skype. You must have permission to make an international call from the home phone. Your host family will make the rules around internet usage and the amount of time you are allowed on it. Cell Phones: Look after your valuables. Cell/Mobile/hand phones are NOT allowed to be used during school hours. They must be handed in to your teacher at the start of the day. If you get caught using your phone during school time then it will be taken from you and your homestay parent will need to come to the school to collect it. If you do not give your phone to the teacher at the start of the day the school takes no responsibility for lost or stolen phones or any other electronic device. NEW ZELAND LAW; 1. In New Zealand you must wear a cycle helmet when you ride a bicycle. 2. You must wear a seat belt in a car. 3. You are not permitted to travel in a car being driven by a person with a restricted license. 4. It is illegal to buy alcohol, cigarettes or tobacco products if you are under 18 years of age. 5. Never accept a lift from someone you do not know. EMERGENCIES: In New Zealand we telephone 111 for emergencies (police, fire ambulance) In an emergency: Dial 111, tell the operator which service you require (police, fire, ambulance) Give your name, address and phone number It is against the law to abuse this service Valuables/Money: Be careful with money. DO NOT bring large amounts of cash to school $5.00- $10.00 only (unless you are purchasing a bus ticket). 8

9 Personal Expenses: Your homestay family is NOT responsible for your personal expenses: entertainment, entrance fees, hair-cuts, candy etc. These things are your personal responsibility and you should have arrangements with your parents or First Language support guardian regarding your weekly allowance for personal expenses. We can help you set up a bank account if needed. Health: Please speak with you host mother or father if you are not feeling well. Do not be embarrassed as changes in climate and food can often affect your health. Your Host parent will contact your guardian and the school if you are unwell. If you feel unwell at school tell your teacher, they will refer you to the Health Centre. Your parents must inform the school if you have a known medical problem. Questions for discussion 1. Should I call you by your first name? 2. What am I expected to do daily other than (a) Make my bed (b) Keep my room tidy at all times (c) Leave the bathroom clean and tidy every time I use it. 3. Where can I find extra blankets if I m cold at night? 4. What is the procedure about dirty clothes? Where do I keep them until wash day? 5. How long may I stay in the shower? 6. May I use the bathroom toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste)? 7. What would you like me to do at mealtimes? For example: (a) set the table (b) clear the table 9

10 (c) wash up/empty or stack the dishwasher (d) put everything away after the meal (e) dry up (f) empty the rubbish bin etc 8. May I help myself to snacks or should I ask first? 9 What areas of the home are strictly private? 10. May I put photos of my family or pictures on the wall in my bedroom? 11. When we go out as a family should I pay my own entrance fees? 12. What arrangements are there for making lunch? a. On a school day? b. At the weekend? 13. If I have any problems, who should I go to? 14. Can I invite a friend over to play? 15. Is there anything else you would like me know? 16 How do I get to and from school? We hope you have a happy & exciting time with your new Kiwi Family. 10

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