Learning about a new culture through hosting an international student can be a very enriching experience, helping to enable people to understand other languages, food and customs.
International students aged 13-19 come to Rangitoto College from over 30 different countries. Some students stay for only a short time, while others stay for a number of years. Their reasons for coming to New Zealand can vary greatly. Some want to experience a different culture or improve their English. Some are excited by the sporting opportunities offered in New Zealand or the chance to spend time outdoors. Others come with clear academic goals and are focused on attaining NCEA or IB and going on to university in New Zealand or abroad.
Families who approach this experience with enthusiasm and an open mind find the experience very rewarding and begin relationships that can last a lifetime. Many of our host families have been to visit their ex-students overseas or have had international students return to New Zealand for special events in their lives.
Our host families are all different in size and make up, including single parents, families, couples and retirees. We welcome applications from anyone in the local area who speaks English in the home, has a clean, tidy home and a spare furnished bedroom, and has a desire to share their culture with an international student.
Before accepting a host family we are required to police vet anyone 18 or over in the house and visit the house to do an inspection. We must also visit the house during the year to ensure that it is still a suitable place for a student.
To become a host family, please email the Accommodation Manager Vanesa Pearce; firstname.lastname@example.org.
When we get new student applications, we look at the interests of the students and host families and try to ensure a good match of personalities and hobbies. Our Accommodation Manager chooses the family she thinks is most suitable and asks if they would like to host the student, sending them the student profile, enrolment dates and an introduction letter from the student.
When the family has confirmed they would like to host the student, the College contacts the student or their agent and provides them with the details of the host family. Often host families and students contact each other before the student arrives in New Zealand to start getting to know each other through email, phone or social media.
We ask our host families to:
- provide three meals a day and snacks (including a packed lunch during the school week)
- provide a safe, clean room with a bed, bed linen, desk, lamp and heating
- do laundry for the student
- show their students how to get to and from school (e.g. where the bus stop is, how to access the bus schedule, how to walk to school). Many host parents drop their students off and pick them up during the first week if they are able to.
- spend time talking with their students and try to draw them into conversations to give them confidence speaking in English
- involve their student in their family life
- be warm, patient and caring yet able to be firm and set boundaries
All host families are provided with a guidebook when our Accommodation Manager visits for the first time. The College has an Accommodation Manager and an Accommodation Support staff member who work with host families to ensure a successful hosting experience. With extensive experience, they can offer advice on how to handle any situations that may arise.