Note: This policy is subject to change at any time. Please check all American Homestay Network Policies on a regular basis for updates.
This document outlines the procedure for placing AHN Guests with homestay Hosts. It will contain policies for placing the following Guests:
The number of Guests placed with one Host should be limited. If there are multiple Guests present in one household it is less likely that they will gain full exposure to the American culture and language. AHN recommends an upper limit of two Guests be placed in one household. Exceptions may apply at the discretion of AHN. Under no circumstances should there be more than four Guests in any one home (Short Term Groups may be the exception).
It is very important that Guests not be placed with other international guests who speak the same language. This will limit growth of the Guest’s language skills and work against one of the important aims of homestay. An exception to the rule may be when a Guest specifically requests to be placed with a friend or a relative, or if an underage Guest requests to be placed with someone of their own culture or language background.
A detailed placement report will be sent to the Guest and the Host once a placement has been confirmed.
The following policy should be followed when placing Guests with Hosts. The Guest’s profile should be checked against system-matched Hosts for suitability before confirming a placement. Guests must not be placed with a Host simply because it is convenient. The Guest’s profile should be checked against available Hosts for issues including the following:
If ‘special needs’ has been highlighted, every care and precaution should be taken and confirmation sought from the Host that they can meet the Guest’s requirements. Guests will have preferences which may or may not be accommodated at the time of matching. While it is desirable to meet Guest’s needs, be aware that some Guests may have overly high or specific expectations. Guests may make requests such as ‘I want to be able to walk to my school’ or ‘I want my own bathroom’. In these cases, it must be explained to the Guest that while Hosts meeting their exact criteria may not be available, other suitable households could accommodate them.
Independent Guests Under 18 years, High School Students (Basic Guardianship) and High School (Premium Guardianship) Program Students
As per our standard placement procedures, Student and Host profiles will be reviewed to find the most suitable matches with regards to gender, personal preferences, family size, pets, hobbies, special needs, etc. For High School Students (Standard Guardianship) and High School (Premium Guardianship) Program Students; AHN will match the Student with two to three potential Hosts and the Student will then confirm which family they want to be placed with.
In addition to the placement criteria detailed above, Hosts who are registered to accommodate Guests under the age of 18 must be prepared to provide additional care and support for younger guests. Along with the Host Obligations outlined in the Host Family Code of Conduct, Hosts must also agree to the below conditions:
Extra responsibilities specific to hosting Independent Guests under 18 years
Extra responsibilities specific to hosting High School Students - Basic Guardianship or Premium Guardianship Program Students
Additional features of the High School Guardianship Program:
Short Term Group Guests:
Short Term Group Guests arrive in groups, are enrolled in groups and generally stay together with the group for all activities. Some Short Term Group Guests attend English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Guests (ELICOS) and some have holiday activities combined with their English course. Each education provider will be different. The contract signed with each individual education provider will dictate the method used for placing Short Term Groups i.e. Host family/travel requirements, and the financial arrangement about the Homestay Fee.
In addition to the policy for placing College Guests, it is important to remember that Short Term Group Guests can often have a lower level of English, depending where they are from. Consequently, it is important to place the Guests with Hosts who have been proven to have a high duty of care and the attitude and ability to communicate easily with Guests with a low level of English.
Travel should be straightforward, and it is good practice to place Guests in one area (where possible) so that they may travel together on the train or bus. Should the numbers be too high to achieve this goal, pick several suburbs close together and place a few Guests in each suburb.
It is advisable to arrange for a suitable time and place for Guests to be introduced to their Hosts. This is a good opportunity for the education provider and the AHN representative to speak to all Hosts and Guests together and allay any fears the Guests might have regarding food or travel and to advise Hosts of the considerate use of the after-hours mobile telephone number.
There are often more after-hours calls when Short Term Guests arrive and it is important to have mechanisms in place for after-hours duties to be shared. Keeping your mobile phone on the answering machine (checked regularly) is recommended so that only urgent calls are returned.
Changes or Cancellations:
All Guests must seek assistance from AHN if they are concerned about their homestay arrangement in any way or if they would like to request to change homestay Hosts. AHN will assess the request and if a transfer is approved a new Host and transportation will be arranged. The Guest may be required to pay for professional pick up service if required. In the case of Under 18s and High School Students, the education provider must be informed of the new address. For Short Term Group Guests, the tour group’s teacher/tour escort must be informed of the request to change homestay and notified of new homestay details if the Guest is transferred.
Please refer to the AHN Refund Policy for full details on how to change or cancel a homestay placement.
Updated May 2020