More fam­i­lies needed to host ex­change stu­dents

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART ni­cola.ste­

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.

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