AHN Guest Placement Policy

AHN Guest Placement Policy - USA

Note: This policy is subject to change at any time. Please check all AHN Policies on a regular basis for updates.

Document Overview:
This document outlines the procedure for placing AHN Guests with homestay Hosts. It will contain policies for placing the following Guests:

  1. College Guests
  2. Independent Guests Under 18 years, High School Students (Basic Guardianship) and High School (Premium Guardianship) Program Students
  3. Study Tour Guests

College Guests:

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:

  • gender, age and personal preferences
  • size of the family, how many children and their ages
  • pets
  • smoking or non-smoking
  • transport time to education provider
  • length of stay
  • hobbies
  • special needs

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.

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. There are also legal implications to having multiple Guests in a household. 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 (study tours 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.

Hosts from the Guest’s education provider should not be recruited. The Guest will be in a difficult position if an incident occurs. A detailed placement report will be sent to the Guest and the Host once a placement has been confirmed.

 

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 (Basic Guardianship) and High School (Premium Guardianship) Program Students; AHN will match the Student with 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 Homestay Policy, Hosts must also agree to the below conditions:

  • be members of the local community within 45 minutes’ travel of the school;
  • not host more than two international students at one time, each in their own private room;
  • ensure all members of the household over the age of 18 passes a criminal background check and a search of the Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Registry (this will be completed on an annual basis while hosting a minor);
  • fully complete their profile truthfully and to a high standard including detailed profile and photos;
  • complete online training;
  • pass a home inspection and interview to determine they are a suitable host (if it has been more than six months since the home was inspected, a pre-arrival inspection must occur) ;
  • provide three meals each day;
  • conduct orientation with the student including a discussion of the house rules, expectations of each other, offering support and guidance, and encouraging the student to come to them if they have any concerns;
  • assist students with setting up a bank account and purchasing a mobile phone/SIM card;
  • take the time to ensure students become familiar with their neighborhood and understand local customs;
  • complete the contact details card (including the student’s name, host family name, host address, host phone number, AHN local office number and 24/7 emergency hotline) and provide a copy to the student;
  • assist in monitoring the student’s behavior, welfare and school attendance and escalate any bigger concerns to AHN;
  • practise English with the student whenever possible (during meal times at a minimum); and
  • treat the student as a member of the family, take them to local family outings and monitor their whereabouts at all times.

Extra responsibilities specific to hosting Independent Guests under 18 years

Hosts must:

  • take an interest in the student’s academic progress and attend school meetings if needed;
  • drive students to and from school and extracurricular activities and support non-school related activities and social engagements (within reason) if requested and paid for; and
  • take the student to the doctor if needed.

Extra responsibilities specific to hosting High School Students - Basic Guardianship or Premium Guardianship Program Students

Hosts must:

  • be willing to sign and accept the responsibilities of custodial care for the international student;
  • pass ongoing inspections every semester (inspection to be done by the Regional Manager 30 – 60 days after the student’s arrival and a second inspection to be done within six months by Homestay Coordinator);
  • attend a host parent orientation program at the school to learn more about the academic program (if required);
  • understand and accept the billing cycle and payment terms:

o    Hosts will be paid two weeks at a time. The first payment will be processed on the first Monday after the student arrives and then fortnightly for the duration of the placement.

o    Premium Guardianship Hosts only will be paid the normal full rate if the student goes home in the Christmas/ Easter break. The student may stay for up to one week before and/ or after the beginning/end of the school year but must pay additional fees if they wish to stay for the entire holiday break. Students who return home may negotiate with the host to store their belongings and return to them next year. The host will not be compensated for this, so it is suggested that they store the belongings outside of the room so that the room is available for potential short-term summer tours.

o    Basic Guardianship hosts will be paid a holding rate if the students return home during the holidays in line with the AHN Room Holding Policy.

  • pick the student up from the airport holding a clearly visible sign in the arrivals area (hosts must monitor the flight online for any changes and adjust pick up time as needed):
    • Extra fee applies for students on the Basic Guardianship Program, Airport transfers are included for students on the Premium Guardianship Program.
  • drop the student at the airport when they leave:
    • Extra fee applies for students on the Basic Guardianship Program, Airport transfers are included for students on the Premium Guardianship Program.
  • drive students to and from school and extracurricular activities and support non-school related activities and social engagements (within reason):

o    Extra fee applies for students on the Basic Guardianship Program. Transport is included for students on the Premium Guardianship Program.

·         contact AHN for all travel approval.

 

Additional features of the High School Guardianship Program:

  • AHN will facilitate the host/student guardianship process
  • AHN assumes the role of designated guardian for the student
  • AHN takes responsibility for the student in the event of a critical incident and can organize necessary medical care
  • Host and AHN maintain contact with the school’s international student office and can approve major schedule changes, relevant leave permissions (including medical assistance), off-campus events and holidays
  • Monthly phone or video calls are conducted with the student to ensure welfare needs met (Basic Guardianship Program)
  • Monthly face-to-face meetings are conducted with the student and AHN facilitates regular communication between the parents, school and host family regarding the student (Premium Guardianship Program)

Study Tour Guests:

Study Tour Guests arrive in groups, are enrolled in groups and generally stay together with the group for all activities. Some Study Tour 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 Study Tour Guests 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 Study Tour 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 Study Tour Guests arrive and it is important to have mechanisms in place for after-hours duties to be shared. Keeping your mobile phone on 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 Study Tour 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 April 2019