Lifelong friends: A homestay experience

“For me, my Australian homestay family is my second family” Shurui on her homestay experience.

Homestay is an opportunity for both international students and Australian families to learn about each other’s culture and develop close friendships. Students improve their English language skills through being immersed in an Australian household, and participating in Australian life.

In 2017, Chinese student Shurui arrived in Brisbane for the Bridging English Program (BEP) at The University of Queensland's Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education (ICTE), and is now studying a Bachelor degree at UQ. Shurui has been living with her homestay family since 2017, and has developed close bonds with the Wiley family.

The Wiley family immediately welcomed Shurui into their homes from day one, and Shurui continues to learn about Australian culture and practise English in a safe, friendly and relaxed environment. Shurui has travelled with the Wiley family on holidays to the Gold Coast, explored all parts of Brisbane, and even experienced an outdoor camping adventure.

Shurui found the homestay experience very beneficial for her English skills. “My English improved over such a short period because of my homestay experience, even my friends and teachers noticed an improvement in my speaking and listening skills.”

“Try your best to communicate with your homestay family every day, it can improve your English, and also help you learn more about each other.”

Homestay Host, Helene, reflects on her homestay experience with Shurui as a positive, memorable experience. Helene told us how her daughter, Leila, and Shurui have developed a very close bond over the last three years.

“The friendship formed between Shurui and Leila is so close they decided to travel overseas together. Leila and Shurui travelled around China, which gave Leila the opportunity to experience Shurui’s heritage,” said Helene.

Shurui and Leila having a feast in Beijing

Shurui was able to return the favour and have her family look after Leila, “I introduced my family members to Leila and my parents were so happy to meet her and learn about my Australian family”.

Shurui and Leila at the Great Wall of China

Helene encourages others to host a student and experience the homestay opportunity.

“Not only has Shurui learnt a lot from her homestay family, but she has also been able to teach our family about her Chinese culture, and where she comes from. It is great to see that a homestay experience has given both the Shurui and my family the opportunity to learn from each other, and make lifetime friendships,” Helene said.


If you would like to provide an international student with a chance to immerse themselves in Australian culture, develop life-long friendships and give your family the opportunity to learn about different cultures and enrich your own family's life.

Become a homestay host: https://icte.uq.edu.au/student-life/accommodation/host-international-students-homestay-brisbane

Last updated:
12 November 2019