Homestay Accommodation for International Students Policy

Approval Date
1 November 2018
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
1 October 2021
Deputy Chief Executive: Learner Experience
Baldrige Criteria
Customer focus

The purpose of this policy is to provide all international learners studying at Dunedin or Cromwell campuses with the opportunity for homestay accommodation.

This policy will also ensure that there are systems and processes in place to:

a.             provide a suitable living environment conducive to study and a safe and supportive home life

b.             assist the learner to successfully integrate into the New Zealand way of life

c.              involve the residential carer in the welfare of a learner away from the  learner’s family and home country

d.             work towards the overseas parent’s peace of mind knowing that the learner is well cared for in New Zealand

e.             comply with the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2022.


1.          As specified in the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021.

international learners under 18 years of age must be in supervised accommodation. They will not be permitted to rent a flat/room/ house/apartment or to live on their own.

2.          Otago Polytechnic Limited can arrange homestay accommodation for international learners under 18 years of age and may provide an option for homestay to other international learners for the first month if required.

3.          In the provision of homestay accommodation Otago Polytechnic Limited is responsible for:

3.1.         Providing a 24/7 emergency contact person for problems with accommodation; and

3.2.         Selecting, monitoring, and approving all recommended accommodation including recording the results of all homestay assessments and reassessments (refer to clauses 6-8); and

3.3.         Providing a support infrastructure for homestay carers (refer to Clauses 5 and 11); and

3.4.       Providing a support infrastructure for international learners in homestay accommodation.

4.          Within the first week of arrival or during Orientation all homestay learners must attend a homestay meeting with the Homestay Coordinator and sign a “Welcome to Homestay” document. This will ensure that the homestay learner understands the guidelines, expectations, and processes of their homestay.

5.          All homestay accommodation queries, issues, and concerns will be dealt with initially by the International Homestay Coordinator.

5.1.      Pastoral care issues or concerns of learners arising from homestay accommodation arrangements will be referred to the appropriate pastoral care person or a designated member of the Student Success team.

6.          For each learner in homestay, the full name, current address, contact phone number, occupation and relationship of the residential caregiver will be held on file by Otago Polytechnic Limited and maintained by the International Homestay Coordinator.

7.          All homestay families will be police vetted, every two years.

8.          The dwelling and the carer providing homestay accommodation for an international learner will have an annual* onsite assessment of the dwelling to determine that living conditions are of an acceptable standard and are not a boarding establishment, and that the residential carer will provide a safe, physical and emotional environment, as outlined in the code.

*if learner is under 18 then the dwelling assessment with occur every six (6) months

8.1.         follow up visits will be carried out if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the accommodation has become unsuitable.

Responsibilities of Homestay Carers

9.          In the provision of homestay accommodation, the carer is responsible for:

9.1.         Informing Otago Polytechnic Limited Homestay Coordinator of anyone in the home 18 years and over for Police vetting checks.

9.2.         Providing access and availability for Homestay checks every six (6) months when hosting a learner under 18 years of age, otherwise annually.

9.3.         Providing a safe and friendly living and studying environment and to look after the learner to the best of their ability.

9.4.         Providing day to daycare including:

a.             three meals a day and access to snacks;

b.             own room;

c.              bed and warm bedding;

d.             study desk and chair;

e.             adequate bedroom furniture to store clothes, i.e. wardrobe and drawers;

f.               adequate lighting and heating;

g.             transport arrangements (car, taxi, bus) to and from Otago Polytechnic Limited for the first three (3) days minimum, and every day for short-course learners;

h.             bathing and showering access;

i.                laundry.

9.5.         Treating the learner with respect, making them feel comfortable and part of the family.

9.6.         Notifying Otago Polytechnic Limited if there are any changes or additions to the household, especially when anyone living at the address is 18 years or over as they will require a Police vetting check, as per clause 9.1.

9.7.         Notifying Otago Polytechnic Limited immediately if there are any problems or concerns about the learner e.g. medical condition, misconduct, very homesick or depressed.

9.8.         In light of issues or problems raised the host family must be willing to participate in a homestay family resolution process if required.

9.9.         Providing reasonable internet access for the learner for short course international learner groups, however, this is not a requirement for other long-term individual learners. 

10.       Homestay carers are not expected to:

10.1.      Pay for toll calls or mobile phone calls; or

10.2.      Cook special food specifically for the learner, unless previously agreed for allergy, health, or cultural requirements; or

10.3.      Ensure the learner’s belongings or pay for property the learner damages or loses; or

10.4.      Offer accommodation to visiting family and friends; or

10.5.      Comply with unreasonable requests.

11.       Advice and support for homestay carers will be provided by Otago Polytechnic Limited through the International Homestay Coordinator with the support of the Student Success Team.

Responsibilities of Homestay Learners

12.       International learners in homestay accommodation will be invoiced four weeks (28 days) homestay payment in advance for the duration of their homestay

13.       Where the homestay learner wishes to discontinue living with the family for whatever reason, then two** (2) weeks’ notice must be given in writing to the International Homestay Coordinator.

**CAP nursing learners require only one (1) week notice is required.

14.       Where a learner in homestay has concerns or queries reading the homestay environment or family they must inform the Homestay Coordinator as soon as possible via email or face-to-face appointment.

15.       In light of issues or problems raised the homestay learner must be willing to participate in a homestay family resolution process if required.

16.       Learners staying in a homestay are required to exhibit appropriate behaviour, refer to Learner Rights and responsibilities.

16.1.      Where a learner’s behaviour or demands are such that the homestay hosts cannot reasonably be expected to have the learner in their care, Otago Polytechnic Limited will shift the learner from that home.  The time frame for the learner’s removal will be negotiated with the host family.

17.       All international learners entering into homestay accommodation will be interviewed on arrival as part of their orientation and induction. Feedback on completion of the homestay is gathered from short course learners and used to improve services and homestay experiences.

18.       Where a learner in homestay has concerns or queries reading the homestay environment or family they must inform the Homestay Coordinator as soon as possible via email or face-to-face appointment.


Pre-Departure and Arrival Guideavailable in hardcopy or on the Otago Polytechnic Limited website 

Welcome to Homestay document – for signature by each homestay learner within the first week of arrival or during orientation (available from Homestay Coordinator).