Benefits of hosting students from around the world

Over the past five years Brisbane local Judy has opened up her home to 30 international students for periods of up to six months while they complete their English language studies at the Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education at The University of Queensland (ICTE-UQ). As an ICTE-UQ homestay host, Judy provides the students with accommodation and meals and a safe and friendly environment for them to learn about Australian culture and practise their English. Judy shares her experience.

In Australia today, there are more single-person-households than ever before.

While for some people, this is a choice, for others, it can be something that has happened to them through the death of a partner, divorce, children growing up and leaving home or a move away from family support groups.

While people with an introverted personality refresh themselves by spending time alone, those who are extroverts renew their strength by interacting with others. For these people in particular living alone can be very lonely.

And how many times when you are at home by yourself have you decided to just have a boiled egg for dinner or baked beans on toast, instead of cooking a full meal with protein and vegetables?

So what is the solution?

For me, since my husband died, the answer has been to provide homestay for international students who are studying English at ICTE-UQ.

These students are here for as little as two weeks up to six months or more. The usual stay is five weeks and I can take students as often as I wish. It is a requirement to provide a home-cooked meal in the evenings, so I am having fun trying out lots of new recipes and enjoying the company of someone else in the house in the evenings.

Judy (centre) with her homestay student Saleh (left) from Oman and a member of the Omani Students Association.

While most students are from Asian countries, I have also had students from South America, Turkey, Oman and Russia. So it is also a great opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures and to share my knowledge of the local area and Australian culture in return.

Becoming a homestay host for ICTE-UQ is something I would recommend to anyone, whether living alone or with family. It can be a wonderful cultural experience and a chance to make lifelong friends.

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Last updated:
16 June 2021