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Homestay in New Zealand are a great option for students, or those who intend to stay for more than 2 weeks in one place. There are many advantages of staying in a homestay, one of them being the price. On average you will pay NZ$ 180 – 220 per week, for your own room and will include food such as breakfast and dinner. Another great thing about homestays is that you get to experience the unique day-by-day way of life of the kiwis, as you are staying with a host family in their house. It may also make the adjustment a little easier as they would be able to provide many explanations about how to do things such as how to set up a bank account and give valuable tips such as where to buy things cheaper and where to look for work, and about the many beautiful sights around the town. If you are a student studying English, staying at a homestay also gives you greater exposure to learning the language, as you will always have a teacher in your own house who you can consult and a conversation partner. It can help you to learn English much faster.

Host families vary greatly. Some are retired couples who’s children have moved out of home, other are single mums, some are middle age couples with children, while others are single people with a pet. They normally have a spare room in their house and appreciate the extra money during the week. They all will offer your own room with a bed, a desk, a closet, and sometimes a private bathroom. Some homestays don’t offer food and have a lower cost, where others will have the breakfast and dinner included in the price. Some will also offer lunch and snacks. One thing to keep in mind is that you will need to respect the house rules, and is important to clarify those rules with the host family upon arrival so you have fewer problems. It is also important to let them know if you are going to be there for dinner, and if you are having visitors coming. Most host families will expect that you keep your room tidy and that you clean your own plates and kitchen utensils after using them. Helping out with some house work such as voluntarily vacuuming the carpet or mowing the grass, and helping to maintain the house clean are always welcomed and appreciated by the kiwi family.

Homestays can be offered with your enrolment into a school, or by getting in contact with an agency that specializes in finding a homestay for you. Normally a fee of the value of one weeks payment is charged as a placement fee, and the minimum time of stay is 2 weeks. From then on you can negotiate directly with the host family things such as a reduced price during holidays or for periods when you may not be at home for more than 10 days. You can choose the kind of homestay you would like to stay such as one without children, or without dog, one with married couple, one without carpets (if you are allergic), location e.g. close to the beach etc. Be aware that the choosier you are with different aspects the harder it will be to find an appropriate house for you to stay.

Homestays are definitely one of the best accommodation options for a single person, for a medium term, especially for students as it is reasonably cheap in comparison to what you would be paying if you were to share a flat (as you still need to pay for food, electricity and other bills) and you also have other benefits as described.. The downside is the lack of privacy and sometimes less freedom that you get. The money paid in advance for the booking of the homestay is not refundable, but you are able to change homestays if you have any problems. In this case you will not need to pay another placement fee.

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