Homestay Guidelines for Families

By definition, a homestay student is not a boarder, but rather should be regarded as a welcome guest, who, under the best of circumstances, will become a temporarily adopted member of the family. This means that homestay families assume certain responsibilities (see below) and, in turn, receive a special blessing from the privilege of hosting a student from another country.

A homestay family will:

  • Provide the student with the following basic amenities: a private room, which meets safety, cleanliness, and privacy considerations, a bed (mattresses on the floor are not acceptable), desk with study lamp, bedroom and bathroom linens, dresser, closet, mirror, and a key to the house. A private bathroom for the student is preferred but not required. The room must be readied by the time your student arrives.
  • Provide an English-speaking environment.
  • Provide the student and the homestay coordinator written “House Rules” during the first week of the student arrival to his or her home. House Rules may include matters such as smoking policy, house guest meal times, curfew, etc. Please word your rules politely and include privileges as well as rules so your student is not offended or intimidated by a long list of do’s and don’ts.
  • Provide their student with food items to prepare a continental breakfast—coffee/tea, cereal, fruit, bread (toast) and milk—and a hot balanced evening meal.
  • Treat the student with respect, kindness, and tolerance, respecting their rights, privacy, and culture, including religious and political beliefs.
  • Include the students in family activities. Families are welcome to invite their homestay students to religious activities and meetings, but they must also honor a student’s right to decline this invitation without fear of being treated less kindly as a result.
  • Allow the student full use of the household common rooms, including access to television, telephone and living areas. Families may need to help the student understand how to operate household appliances and what times are appropriate for their use.
  • Provide laundry facilities (washer, dryer, detergent), cleaning supplies for the student to keep their private living spaces clean, including private bathroom, if applicable.
  • Provide transportation for your student to and from class each day and pick up from scheduled ELI activities, if your home is beyond a reasonable walking distance (more than 1 mile). Feel free to carpool with other homestay families who live near you.
  • Please schedule a ‘weekly meeting’ with your student(s) in order to keep channels of communication open. The meeting can also provide an opportunity to encourage the student to leam about more about American culture, lifestyle, activities and family life.
  • Please always remember that most problems come from communication and language-related problems. Never forget that your students are new to this culture and our language. If your student says or does something that makes you angry, it is probably the result of some misunderstanding. Be patient. Politely discuss problems with your student. Try to imagine how difficult it would be for you to live in your student’s country without violating customs and without saying something that might be misunderstood.
  • Inform the homestay coordinator if a student from another program is placed in your home.
  • The homestay coordinator should be notified immediately of any problems between the student and the family. If necessary, please request mediation by the coordinator.
  • The homestay program reserves the right to relocate a student due to incompatibility with the student and the family. This will be done with consideration for all parties to the best of our abilities. Please realize that at times, changes to the student placement may come on short notice.
  • Neither the English Language Institute nor the University of Delaware is liable for outstanding bills such as telephone bills or damages to the home or property.
  • Although we expect the student to stay with the homestay for the full session, we cannot assume that the student will not choose to move out before the end of the full session. Students are requested to give the homestay two weeks notice before leaving.

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