Frequently Asked Questions
Homestay is a popular accommodation option available to overseas students visiting Perth. Homestay Hosts may be families, couples, single people or single parents with children. All are selected to provide a safe, caring and friendly home environment where students can live, relax and study in comfort and security. We do our best to match our homestay student with the family which is why we ask you to fill in the application form as comprehensively and accurately as possible. The more we know about you, the better we can match you to a family.
Families apply for many reasons. Sometimes they want to expose their children to other cultures, sometimes they have children who have grown up and moved away from home and they miss the company of young people. However, all of our Hosts want to help and take care of someone, share their knowledge and experience and learn about different people and cultures.
Once we receive an application from a family we decide if they live in a suitable area, close to public transport, shops, parks and reasonably close to school. We then visit them in their home. We look over the house and student bedrooms and interview the families for suitability. We want to know their reasons for hosting, their background, interests and their experience. Most families in Australia have pets so we make sure that any animals living in the house are safe for visiting students. Finally we make sure that everyone residing in the home who is over 18 years old has appropriate Police Clearances.
The first step is to fill out our online Student Homestay Application giving us as much information as possible so that we can find the family most suited to you. Please make sure you’ve read the Homestay Student Terms and Conditions before submitting. Talkabout Tours will then invoice you for 4 weeks Homestay unless otherwise requested, a one-off Placement Fee, Bank Fees, if paying from overseas, and an Airport Pick-up fee if requested. The Placement Fee is due before we locate you a family and is non-refundable . The balance is due 3 weeks before arrival. You can pay by direct deposit into our bank account or pay by credit card. Once money has been received, we will send you the details of an available Perth Homestay family who we believe most closely fits your profile. If you request an airport transfer, we will also send the name and phone number of your driver.
The price is dependent on the meals package chosen. For traditional Homestay which includes all dinners and breakfasts plus lunch on weekends the cost is AUD$285 per week (over 18) and the the Placement Fee is AUD$275 (Over 18). Please refer to the Pricing section when you apply.
Talkabout Tours supplies an Airport Pick-up service should you require it. One of our friendly drivers will wait for you at the designated location with a blue sign with your name on it and will take you to your Homestay, any time of day or night, in an appropriately licensed and insured vehicle. Alternatively, taxis are available at the airport. It is important that we know your arrival time, even if we don’t collect you, so that we can let your family know when to expect you.
You will be supplied with your own private, fully furnished bedroom with a bed and space for hanging and storing your clothes.
You will be supplied with sheets, blankets, bed coverings and towels. These are usually your responsibility to clean.
You will have access to a washing machine- If you are unsure how to use it, please ask your Host family.
Please look after house keys supplied to you and make sure the house is kept locked. Some families ask for a key deposit.
Gas, electricity and water are included in your Homestay fee provided you use them responsibly.
One of the biggest adjustments to life in Australia for most students is getting used to the Aussie diet. Be positive and optimistic about your new food adventure, you may be pleasantly surprised! Tell us on your application form and always let your family know if you have any food dislikes or allergies. You can drop hints about your favourite foods too.
If a family uses the expression “help yourself”, please be thoughtful and use your manners in your approach. It is an Aussie way of saying, make your self comfortable. It does not mean eat everything at anytime. Always leave chocolates and snack foods off the “help yourself list”. Chocolates and snack foods should be offered to you. It is customary not to eat or drink the last of anything without asking first.
Please remember that snacks, morning and afternoon tea and alcohol (legal drinking age is 18+) are your responsibility.
Breakfast in Australia usually consists of toast and cereal or fruit and yogurt and normally you prepare this yourself.
The Australian diet is very multi-cultural and you will hopefully have the chance to try dishes from around the world! Dinner often consists of meat and vegetables but can also be stir-frys, pizza or pasta and usually has bread on the side. While rice is popular in Australia, it is not eaten daily and is not always an accompaniment to meals. Please be prepared to try new foods. Remember that you are not only in Australia to learn at school, you are also here to learn about our way of life.
Lunch is provided on weekends and often consists of sandwiches or left-overs from the previous night’s dinner and you will normally need to prepare this yourself. Your midday meal from Monday to Friday is not supplied by your host family, however most schools have a canteen where you can purchase lunch quite inexpensively. You can also purchase your own food and prepare it at home if you wish. If you do require lunches during the week some families are able to supply this for an extra cost. Please let us know on your application.
It is customary to help your families at meal time. This can mean setting the table for dinner, helping to clean up or helping with the cooking.
Your family will give you cupboard/pantry and fridge space to store your own food/snacks. Some families do not like the students cooking or preparing food in the kitchen so your family may be happy to make it for you. Please discuss this with your family.
Most Host families will provide you a well lit desk in your bedroom. If this is not supplied, there will be a quiet area in the home where you can study.
You will have access to a toilet and shower. These are normally shared with the rest of the household so please keep them clean.
Please offer to help your family with the housework. Very few families have servants and men, women and children share the housework in most families. Offering to help tidying the home, doing the washing up and laying the dinner table is normal in Australia. Helping with meal preparation is a good way to improve both your English and cooking skills. It is also your responsibility to keep the bathroom and your bedroom tidy.
Homestay is an excellent way to improve your English so please take advantage of this opportunity. Your Hosts will be more than happy to help you with your school work and general English skills. Families have asked for students to be placed in their homes for the company and cultural exchange. Please do not spend too much time in your room. Make a point of talking to your hosts and asking about their day, sharing your day and experiences with them and offering to help out when needed. Most families feel a little uncomfortable when their student only comes out for meals. Be PART of the family. If you’re making a cup of tea, offer to make them one too.
Students are obliged to follow the rules of the homestay family. Students over the age of 18 do not have curfews, but students are encouraged to let their host families know their daily schedule and when they expect to return home each day, especially during evening hours. As an international student in a homestay, keeping your homestay family informed of school schedules, introducing your homestay family to your friends, and keeping your homestay family informed of your travel plans are safety factors for your protection. They allow the homestay family to be more aware of situations where you may need assistance. Please let your family know well in advance, (by 4pm is a good idea) if you will be late home, staying out, or missing dinner. They worry. Please ask your family if it is OK to bring guests to your home. It is the polite thing to do.
You will need to advise Talkabout Tours if you smoke as we will need to ensure you are placed with a family that is okay with you smoking. Some Host families do not host students who smoke. It is very important that you inform us if you are a smoker, even if it is only an occasional thing. Failure to tell us may result in you being asked to leave the home, incurring an extra Placement Fee. If you are a smoker, smoking is never permitted inside your bedroom as it could cause a fire and will make the house smell. You can often smoke outside the house or on a veranda or balcony if the family is in agreement. Please be respectful of where you smoke in the home or outside and dispose of your butts thoughtfully.
If you break a regular cup or glass etc and it was an accident you will not usually have to pay for it. However, if you break a window, a door, some furniture or some furnishings lose a phone or some item you have borrowed then it is YOUR responsibility to repair or replace…. Even if it was an accident!! Please be careful and talk to your host family about using appliances if you are uncertain how to use them.
Please use these responsibly as they are expensive and environmentally damaging. Please discuss about washing your clothes, saving water and appropriate times (and lengths) to take a shower. Try to keep your showers to a maximum of 5 minutes-Australia is a very dry country and families pay for water by the litre. Please use heaters and coolers only when necessary and if you are not using lights, please switch them off. You can help the environment by putting on extra clothes or asking for an extra blanket if you are cold. Using excess electricity can result in extra fees.
Telephone usage is not covered by your Homestay fees. Telephone use will be at the discretion of the Host family and is generally not permitted without a calling card. Students need to seek permission to make calls and reimburse the host family for the cost of calls. It is a good idea to purchase a mobile phone and a calling card. Please let your family know your mobile phone number in case they need to get a hold of you and carry your host’s family number with you at all times. You can ring Liz or Tim if you need to contact your family but cannot reach them. (0450 122 424 Liz) (0438 908 545 Tim)
Most families offer internet to students for an extra fee. This is for email, chat, research and browsing only NO DOWNLOADS ARE PERMITTED. If a family has an excess bill due to you downloading music and videos you will be liable to pay the excess internet costs which can be very expensive. If you wish to download or your family cannot offer you internet access, wireless internet USB’s and cards are available for purchase. Free internet is available at your school, in public libraries and in many cafe’s and hotspot areas throughout the city.
While considered a very safe city, it is always better to travel with a buddy at night. If you are alone and it is night time, catch a taxi or Uber home.
Our families are all interviewed and the homes are checked for suitability and all members of the family over 18 years are Police checked however we would appreciate your help in evaluating them as Hosts. Please fill out our online Homestay Evaluation Form during or after your stay and let us know about your Homestay experience.
Your new Homestay family welcomes you! Do not worry if you cannot remember everyone’s names at first. It usually takes a week to settle in and to get to know each other, so give yourself some time to adjust. Bring lots of photos from home as your host family will be interested in seeing your family and your home town.
Homestay families are located in areas close to bus and/or train routes for easy transportation to your school and shops. You can access bus and train schedules and routes at the Transperth website. Your homestay family is responsible for guiding you to and from school before or on the first day of classes so that you are familiar with the bus schedule and route. The homestay family is under no obligation to provide daily transportation.
Our minimum Homestay is generally 2 weeks. You are guaranteed a Homestay for the period you have requested and paid for. Many students want to stay with the family after the designated time requested and most families are happy for you to do this, but this is at the family’s discretion. If you wish to stay on with your family, please tell them at least 2 weeks before the date you are expected to leave.
On leaving a Homestay, the host must be given 2 weeks notice or paid for 2 weeks in lieu of notice. You are able to stay as long as you and the homestay family are comfortable with the arrangement.
If you wish to leave your family before your designated time, you will need to give both Talkabout Tours and the Family 2 weeks notice. You will receive a full refund of your Homestay Fees less $40 to cover administration costs.
If you leave your Host family for an extended period and you would like them to hold your room for you, you will need to pay them ½ the normal Homestay rate as a room holding fee.
If your original Homestay time requested has finished, and you wish to remain with the family, we ask that you pay them directly 2 weekly in advance. This can be done by cash or electronic transfer to their bank account. Please ask which suits them best. Families will issue you a receipt for each payment. For high school age students, Talkabout will collect all Homestay fees and distribute to families. This is done on a per-term basis.
At Talkabout Tours we do our best to make sure your stay is a wonderful experience for both you and your Australian family and most students are very happy with our choice of home. However, if you are not satisfied with your Homestay, you may request a transfer. If 2 weeks notice is given, you are able to leave at any time. If, in the opinion of Talkabout Tours, the Homestay does not meet with reasonable requirements, the transfer will be made without any penalty for lack of notice and there will be no charge for finding you a new family. Please speak with your host first about resolving any differences- usually problems simply stem from a lack of communication and are easily resolved within the home.
Please do not ask to change to another family because you would like to be closer to your school. You have been placed with the closest family available that meets your requirements at time of application.
Talkabout Tours are available for assistance with any homestay issues you may encounter. Please try and discuss any concerns with your family first. If there are any unresolved misunderstandings or disputes between yourself and the Homestay family please contact Talkabout Tours immediately. We will do our best to make sure any reasonable concerns are heard and acted upon.
The team at Talkabout looks forward to seeing you in Perth and are confident that you will have a safe, fun and rewarding experience, make new friends and take home wonderful memories to last a lifetime.
‘I really enjoyed studying English in Perth, and have enjoyed studying now. My classes of university have already started. So I have to study not only English but also other subject. English is so interesting. Because you gave me hospitality, I got beautiful memory of Australia. This is motivation for me. Now studying English is so enjoyable. Thank you for everything. Have a good day!’
I think they are the best host family ever. They were very kind for me, for example, Sheila took me to the nearest station every weekend. They gladly accepted my all requests. Thanks to my host family, I really enjoyed the Australian life, so I appreciate them. Not only I learned English,but also got communication with them,and knew the culture.
Kind, lovely and warm. I learned a lot not only about English but also about other things like science, animals and many things
I love my Homestay Family and experiencing the real Australian kind of life with children of my age
I was shocked when hearing that Mr. Dall swims every morning in the sea during the winter. Besides, I think Mrs.Dall is very kind to work as a volunteer after retirement. They are both energetic and optimistic, which I did not expect. I really thank them for the meals, the laundry and other services. I am very grateful for being treated like a family member.