More families needed to host exchange students
Every year, Matamata College hosts international students who are after a real New Zealand experience.
The school relies on local families to take the students in and involve them in their everyday lives.
They are looking for homes for 15 students from Wakaba School in Japan staying for a month in March next year.
They are also looking for people that may be interested in hosting a student for a full year.
Homestay manager Denise Williams said hosting a student was a simple way to learn about another culture.
‘‘It’s nice to see the way they do things and to show them the way we do things here,’’ she said.
‘‘You are not expected to tour them around the country – they do whatever your family do.
‘‘If you go and watch your kids play rugby on the weekend, they go with you.’’
The school would like to see more families with children take on students as it often made it easier for the student to settle in.
‘‘Children will often help the students to come out of their shell,’’ Ms Williams said.
Amy Crozier has three children aged between 8 and 13 and has hosted short term Japanese students for the past two years.
‘‘We have had a really positive experience,’’ she said.
‘‘The main reason we did it was to expose our kids to a new and different culture.
‘‘I think the kids break the ice a lot.
‘‘My kids have really, really enjoyed having students and miss them when they go.’’
Mrs Crozier and her family live on a lifestyle block and made an effort to take the students on outings typical for New Zealanders.
‘‘We try to take them to the beach, on bush walks, mountain biking, to the mud pools ... our friend has a jet ski so we went biscuiting.
‘‘It wasn’t things that cost a lot of money.
‘‘At the end of the day, it’s giving someone else a good experience, and that is a really good feeling.’’
Families interested in hosting a student are asked to fill out a form about their family and hobbies so they can be matched with a student who shares similar interests.
They must provide a fully furnished room and board for the student and treat them as if they are part of the family.
There is support available 24 hours a day for both students and host families.