Sydney – Host spotlight: Insights on hosting for Lexis Manly

Our hosts are located on the Northern Beaches and host international Lexis students. Find out more about our host’s experiences and tips:

Hosting Experience
Hayley with her homestay students on a fun adventure


“As a family, we’re richer for the experience of homestay”

– Hayley, hosting Lexis students since +2 years


Every week we have new students arriving in Manly with individual goals, what unites them is the goal to improve their English and make memories for a lifetime. Our students are between 12 to 60+ years old and have traveled a long way to experience Sydney’s beaches and lifestyle.

Homestay is a great cultural experience for host and student. The duration varies from 1 week to over 6 month, every host has their own preferences and house rules. Staying with a host gives international students an authentic understanding of Australian family life, while hosts can discover different cultures. Homestay is more than a rented room, it can include dinners together, game nights or beach walks – it’s not a surprise that homestay is very popular among our students but what is it like to welcome students to live with you, what are challenges and what are the benefits?

We asked Hayley, who has quickly become one of our most popular hosts among the students, on her experience. Every student speaks highly of staying with Hayley and her family, they make anyone feel like family and enjoy spending time with their students. Thank you for hosting Hayley and Matthew!

Find out more about her hosting history and useful tips if you consider hosting:

About my family and I

We’re a family of 4.  Mum/Dad, two now Adult Sons with side Dog/cat combo.
We’re both Bankers with my husband working in the City and myself working from home as Mortgage Broker.

My homestay history

Homestay commenced for us in late 2014.  Most of our students have been young adults both male/female who stayed anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months.  We’ve also hosted under 18’s for short periods.  Countries included Switzerland (German & French), France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, Colombia, Hong Kong, Argentina, Venezuela, Korea and Japan. In all, we’ve probably hosted over 70 students. We’ve not counted.

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The beauty of cultural differences

Food! We’ve discovered Swiss Raclette, Japanese Okonomi sauce for Pancakes, Spanish Omelette, Crepe lessons from our Paris contingent & that no one can do BBQ meat like the Brazilians – this is the tip of the iceberg.

Music! We are very much a musical family. Its always playing in the background.  Students experience our Aussie artists, but have also introduced us to everything from French Rap (better than you may think!) to Disney symphonies (one student being a concert pianist) and everything in between. There’s a Folk element to music of many nationalities which we enjoyed and also seemed to cure homesickness for some students at times.

We choose to be fascinated by the cultural differences of each visiting Nationality.  Argentina has Guanaco’s! (Look it up, student even gifted us Lama balls).  Venezuela, passionate about Soccer (actually, most countries are). The Swiss like to eat horse and are shocked that Kangaroo is on shelves at Coles. They are all different personalities and we are relaxed.  We balance it out and laugh about it which eases the anxiety.  We find a humorous rivalry between the Swiss French & Swiss German but mention Roger Federer and both are beyond patriotic Swiss no boundaries. Our French youngsters didn’t mind a dance around the dinner table and may have had a saucepan on their heads.. true story.
Many Korean’s are allergic to alcohol however, we found them socially, life of the party. Japanese students are hidden treasures. They’re timid and shy until you ask them to teach you how to make an Origami Ibis. Their zany game shows are hilarious and…. They LOVE Disney.

Respect. A very high % of our students have been incredibly respectful and such a great example to our own boys. We’ve also caught up with some students in Europe, experiences are irreplaceable.

We’ve found that when we appreciate the cultural differences and in no way attempt to break them down, we all pretty simply want the same things:
Happiness, fun, personal and professional learning in a safe playground like Sydney.

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Challenges and opportunities

  • Keep a general eye out but it’s NOT our job to parent. They’re Adults. They’re learning and it’s their adventure. Let them make mistakes like forgetting their keys. One of our students slept on back yard furniture instead of waking us at 4am and never did it again. Wasn’t a “thing” rather was hilarious.
  • It’s not a hotel, it’s better. It’s a home. It needs to work as a home with everyone involved with simple things as taking their own garbage out and getting involved in setting/pack away of dinner table.
  • Meals are such a good opportunity to get to know student. Ask for their traditional recipes, cook with them. You bond, the house is less awkward and it’s fun! Have the Japanese teach you to use chopsticks!
  • Totally ok if they spend time in their rooms. Ok if you turn in early and do the same. Make it acceptable.
  • Utilities/ware & tare. Students get it. None has an issue with a request for 5 min showers. Two loads of washing per week. (Light & Dark). Turning lights out. Whilst we wash linen/towels, we return them to the student to make their own beds etc.
  • NEVER mix individual or family washing unless in a washing bag. You’ll spend your life looking for a missing sock that will be very important to your student.
  • DON’T become a homestay family for just the $$$. It shows. Homestay is an excellent method of increasing household income. These however, are people shaping the rest of their lives. If you make it a “transaction”, all involved will likely have a miserable time.

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My top 3 tips for new Lexis homestay hosts

Students will generally NOT raid your pantry/fridge. Cost of some fruit, woolies muffins or extra bread roll at dinner should not be a big ask even in these times. Beyond this, let students know that they can purchase their own snacks and give them an airtight box or space in the fridge. We ARE expected to provide lunch on weekends. Frozen sandwiches toasted up on weekends are great. Students can sort their lunch out as they please.

Post Dinner games.
Cures awkward silences after a crap day. No need to “entertain” students rather once a week/fortnight or so, we’ve played:

  • Jenga
  • We’ve played “Bullshit” with all students and the results have been hilarious. European students have enjoyed “Take 10”.
  • Nintendo! Our Japanese have loved 4 player.
  • The younger students are a little harder to crack. If you have a nerf gun (Toy) and an eye mask, “The Quiet Game” is great.

We’ve cemented that these are young adults, learning to navigate alone. We try not to interfere in their journey. Reasonable house rules are fine. We have no right to limit their activity unless it encroaches on our own life. We listen out but coming home late and forgetting their key is rarely repeated. Let them figure it out so they grow by their own mistakes.

Overall experience

As a family, we’re richer for the experience of homestay. We’d not had the chance to travel extensively pre homestay. We’ve now seen a lot of the world for ourselves and post Covid, have itchy feet again. We wondered whether students would simply utilise amenities/services and do their own thing. It just didn’t happen here. We all worked in together.  When we need a break, we often found one between students.

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Thank you to all our amazing hosts!


How to become a Lexis English homestay host

To be approved as a Lexis English homestay host, the college will arrange a time to inspect your property. Requirements are:

  • Each student must have a clean room of their own.
  • Preference is given to homes that are on a direct bus route to the college – no more than a 50 minute commute.
  • Hosts must provide breakfast and an evening meal Mon-Sun. On weekends – a packed lunch is required.
  • Hosts who provide accommodation to students under the age of 18 need a current Working With Children Permit. All adults living in the household must have this. Permits for Lexis Sydney can be applied for here.

Families or individuals who are interested in becoming a Lexis Sydney Homestay Host should complete this online form.
Alternatively, email [email protected] to arrange a call back.

About Lexis Manly

Lexis English delivers academic excellence in General English, IELTS Preparation, Cambridge FCE and CAE. Download the 2023 Lexis English Brochure here or get in touch to enquire.

Lexis Training delivers professional training in Business, Marketing & Communication, Leadership & Management, Project Management, Beauty and English Language Teacher Training. You must have Upper Intermediate English language skills to enrol. Enquire online.

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