FAQs for students
Jump to FAQs for hosts.
- Do I have to be a UOW College student?
- How do you choose the family for me?
- How long can I stay and what happens when I’m ready to leave?
- How far away from my school will I be and what kind of transport is there?
- Will I have internet access?
- What kind of food will I eat?
- Can I use my host's kitchen to cook?
- Should I do my own laundry?
- What will my room have in it, and do I get my own bathroom?
- Can I share a room with my friend or partner?
- Am I expected to help around the house?
- What happens to my room if I am on holidays or travelling?
- Who will pick me up from the airport?
- What if I have a problem?
- Can my friends come to visit me?
- Do I have to ask permission to go out at night?
- What if I’m a smoker?
- When can I arrive at my Homestay?
The Homestay program is available to UOW College and UOW students, as well as visiting Study Tour students.
We use the information you give us about yourself on your application form to choose a family that best suits you. Tell us as much as you can in your application, such as your hobbies and other things you like to do in your spare time, for example any sports you play/watch, your favourite video game and books you like to read.
You can also tell us your preference around living with children or pets. Many families in Australia have pets, however they keep their homes very clean. If you are allergic to pets, please make sure you tell us on your application.
For non-Study Tour students over 18 years, the initial stay is 4 weeks. If you would like to stay longer, you may discuss this with your host. Some students stay with the same host for many years, until they graduate.
If you are under 18, you must stay with your host until you no longer require UOW College welfare care.
You need to give your host family 7 day's notice when you are ready to move out (or 7 days payment instead of notice).
All of our Homestay hosts are within 30 minutes of UOW Wollongong campus or your school on public transport. Your host can advise you on which public transport to take. Some hosts may live close enough that you can walk or bicycle, and on occasion the host may drive you in their car.
All hosts are required to have internet access for students. In Australia, some internet plans are charged on usage. Your host will talk to you about their internet plan and usage limits. In some cases, you may need to pay a very small fee to cover your internet use, however your host will discuss this with you up front.
You will eat the same food as your host family eats. Australia is a multicultural society, so we eat a wide variety of foods. You will get to experience many new things while you are here.
Breakfast: Australians do not usually prepare hot/cooked breakfasts except occasionally on weekends. Breakfast is usually cereal, toast, fruit, yogurt or porridge. Students will have access to breakfast items in every home to prepare those items themselves. It is very unusual for Australian families to sit together at breakfast time and usually eat their breakfast at different times (because of their individual morning preparation routines).
Evening meals: Australians eat a wide variety of foods and utilise many countries’ cooking styles and flavours. You will get to experience many different types of dishes in Australia. Students eat with the household and fit in with their daily routine.
If you are not planning to be home on time or eat with your host, you should advise them early in the morning or day before so they do not waste food or wait for you to come home before they eat.
Lunches: Lunch is generally a casual and small meal in Australian homes. It may be a sandwich, a salad, or some other simple thing. Australians do not often eat hot meals in the middle of the day.
Weekend lunch is included in your Homestay fee (if you are home). Your host will provide a prepared meal for you or provide you with the ingredients to make your own sandwich or salad. Weekday lunches are not included in your Homestay fee. Most students will buy lunch on campus or purchase ingredients to make their own food.
If you use food from your host’s cupboards to make lunch, you must pay an additional cost per week to cover the additional groceries required. For more information on cost refer to Other Service Fees.
Alcohol: Alcohol is not included in your Homestay fee. Ask permission before you bring alcohol into the home, however most hosts will not have any issue as most Australian’s like to enjoy drinking alcohol socially. Remember you cannot legally drink alcohol if you are under 18.
Special diets: Let us know on your application if you have any special diet needs due to food allergies, illness or religious reasons. We will find a host that can work with your special needs. Please note that there may be an extra charge for some special diet requests.
Please discuss this with your host. Some hosts prefer students not to cook, however many are happy for you to cook with them. It can be a good way to learn about each other’s cultures and practice speaking uncommon words. If you specifically want to be allowed to cook, please mention that on your application form.
Laundry is included in your Homestay fee. Some hosts will allow you to do your own washing using their laundry and others will be happy to do it for you. Your host will discuss this with you when you arrive.
All Homestays must provide a bed, bedding, sheets, pillow, blankets, clothes storage, desk, chair & lamp for their student.
If you wish to decorate your room with pictures, ask permission from your host first and ask them how to do it to ensure you don’t make holes or marks on the wall. They may have a notice board in your room for this purpose.
It is very unusual in Australian homes for everyone to have their own bathroom. You should expect to share the bathroom with other members of the household. If you are sharing a bathroom with other members of the household, your host will talk to you about what times will be best for you to use the shower.
Yes. There are many Homestays that are set up for two people to share a room - either with two separate beds in one room or with a double bed for couples. If you would like to share a room with your friend, please explain this on your application form.
In Australia, we all contribute to the running of the home. You should make your bed, keep your room tidy and leave the bathroom clean and tidy every time you use it.
You can also help with small tasks like washing the dishes after dinner or taking out the rubbish. Ask your host what they would like you to help with. They will give you some small tasks to include you in the household routine.
If you are away from your Homestay for more than seven continuous days but intend to return to this room, then you are entitled to a 50% discount on your Homestay fees for the time that you are away. Your host cannot let anyone else live in the room while you are away.
If you move out of your Homestay you don't have to pay anything. However, you will need to re-apply with UOW College Homestay if you want to book into a Homestay accommodation again when you complete your holiday. Please note – the same family may not be available again and you will need to pay another application fee to re-apply.
There is an excellent airport collection system in place for our students. UOW use Leisure Coast Limousines to collect and transfer our students. The driver will take you direct from the airport to your host’s home. You will be sent very clear instructions about meeting your driver once we have a host confirmed for you. Hosts do not collect students from the airport.
Your host is there to guide you on living in Australia and will be able to help you with most problems. They are very experienced and kind local people that you can talk to about what is worrying you.
If you have a problem with your host, you should first start by talking to them. It might be a simple misunderstanding. They will be kind and understanding about your question.
If the problem is not resolved, please contact us to talk about your concerns. If you have an emergency, we have a 24 hour mobile number that you can call for assistance any time of the day: +61 438 831 246
Discuss with your host at the beginning of your stay their rules for socialising in the home. Always ask your host permission before inviting anyone to their home.
If you are under 18 you must have permission first and provide your host with all with information about where you will be so they can contact you.
If you are over 18 you do not need permission to go out at night, but it is polite to tell your host that you are going out and what time you will be back. If you are going to eat out, then you should text or call your host so that they don’t make dinner for you and waste food.
In Australia, smoking is widely acknowledged to be very unhealthy. There are strict laws about where you can and cannot smoke. Smoking is not allowed in public areas such as restaurants, bars, shopping centres and beaches. Nor is it permitted on buses, trains, taxis or private cars that have children in them.
For this reason, we do not register Homestay hosts that smoke in their homes. For this reason, it can be very difficult to find a host that will accept a student that smokes. If we can find a family that allows a smoker, you will not be allowed to smoke inside the home regardless. Your host will discuss with you at the beginning of your stay where you are permitted to smoke on the property.
This point is very important: if you are found smoking inside your Homestay house you may be required to leave without receiving a refund.
Students are very welcome to arrive at their Homestay a few days before the commencement of their course. We recommend a weekend arrival on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
Students who wish to arrive early and spend time in Australia before they commence classes should book alternate accommodation for that period. Homestay hosts are here to support students who are studying. The purpose of Homestay is not to provide cheap accommodations for holiday or recreation purposes.
Please note that under 18 students with CAAW cover are not permitted to enter Australia more than 7 days before their course commences. This is a visa restriction.