A Day in the Life of a Homestay Family

A Day in the Life of a Homestay Family
Names Lindo (42y), Hermina (40y), Lian (13y), and Hugh (3y)Pamittan

When did you begin as a homestay family?
We started in January 2017. Our homestay student is Kenn Certifico.

What does a day in the life of a homestay family look like?
Morning: Typical morning preparing breakfast for everyone then school drop off.
Midday: Do household chores, cook for lunch then lunch with our 3y/o son, Hugh.
Afternoon: Short nap with Hugh then school pick up. Afternoon tea with kids.
Evenings: Dinner then homework time for kids, TV for parents. Kenn and Lian would sometimes watch TV with us if all school stuffs are done.
Weekends: Lindo and I sometimes work on weekends. But if not, Saturday is usually a family day out in the park, beach, mall, catching up with friends, watch movies or eat out. Sunday is church day and relaxing afternoon at home.

What is your morning routine with your homestay student?
Our morning is always getting ready for school on weekdays. I cook breakfast and prepare lunch boxes for my students (Kenn & Lian). Since Kenn started living with us there is not much difference in our routine except now I have to prepare two lunch boxes instead of only one.

What is your usual afternoon routine with your homestay student?
Our usual afternoon with Kenn is having afternoon tea after school pick up. Then she will stay in her room to rest or do her homework.

What sort of food do you cook and eat on a daily basis?
Most of the time we cook our native Filipino/Asian dishes with rice. However, 3-4 times a month we do Cheap Tuesday takeaway, a sausage sizzle, or pasta meals.

What is your homestay student’s favourite food?
Adobo with rice.

What sort of lunches/snacks do they bring to school?
Before dinner, I would usually save some of the dish for Kenn’s lunch the following day. And would alternate it with sandwich every other day. That’s her main meal. On top of that, she will have something sweet (like cookies, muesli bars, cupcake, etc); something savoury (like chips or crackers); and fresh fruit and sometimes juice.

How do you enjoy your time with your Homestay student?
We usually spend quality time with Kenn before and after dinner during school days. We have now included Kenn in our daily routine. Sometimes we would allocate her to do the cooking for us. Kenn and our daughter Lian are also allocated to wash the dishes on some days. She would also spend time to play with Hugh and Lian. Our Saturdays can be busy if Lindo and I are not working. Kenn is part of the family now hence she is always with us where ever we go for family activity. This is same on Sundays where we go to church, sometimes eat out for lunch then just relax at home before the week starts again.

What are some memorable moments you’ve shared with your Homestay student?
I think the best ones are those times we spent with our short-term homestay students – Kenn would bond with them really well. Kenn would always join us when we take our short-term students out to popular tourist spots in Brisbane & Gold Coast. Our short-term students don’t treat Kenn as a homestay student, but as part of our family because we introduce her as our eldest daughter.

What is your favourite part about hosting a Homestay student?
There is no specific part as our “favourite” because the entire hosting experience is just beautiful and we really love doing it.

Have you had to make any adjustments/changes in order to accommodate your Homestay student?
Not much. Everything remains the same except now I had to prepare two lunch boxes instead of just one. And we have to do school drop off and pick up to and from two different schools as our daughter goes to a different school. But that doesn’t really bother us at all as both schools are not that far from our place.

What have been some of the challenges associated with Homestay, and how have you overcome these?
With Kenn, I think what is quite challenging for us is taking the responsibility to be her guardians and having to push and encourage her to improve her grades and to reduce her time on gadgets like her phone or iPad. It was quite difficult at the start as we were still trying to know her and make her feel comfortable with us. We always give her advice about the importance of education and her future. We do this by constant open communication especially during dinner time where we also include our daughter.
With short-term home stay, communication is what we find challenging as they speak different language. But we always have ways to communicate with them, and this includes downloading the “Google Translate” app on our phone. This is a very effective communication tool that we use for our short-term homestay. We do our best to use anything that would help us communicate with them to make their experience fun, memorable and unforgettable one.

Have you also hosted students during short-term trips or study tours? If yes, which one/s (year/country/school)? How does short-term homestaying differ from long-term?

Jan 2017 – China – No2 Experimental Middle School of Henan.
March 2017 – Japan – Okayama Sozan Junior High School.
August 2017 – Taiwan – National Feng-Hsin Senior High School.
Sept 2107 – Taiwan – Kaohsiung Senior High School.
Feb 2018 – Korea – Seowon Elementary School.
March 2018 – Japan – Okayama Sozan Junior High School.
April 2018 – Thailand – Samseannok School and Chim Plee School.

There’s not much difference between short stay and long stay except the short stay ones goes so quick and we feel that time we spend with them is not enough. We are just starting to bond with them and get to know them better and then next few days they are due to go back to their countries which we really find sad especially for our kids. But the whole hosting experience is great. We are enjoying it because we get to learn about different countries and cultures.