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Students open doors to new cultures


Brigid Veale
20 August 2009
If you’d like to experience another culture without having to leave home, Southern Cross University’s Homestay Program could have the answer.

The University’s International Office is looking for Coffs Harbour families who are interested in hosting an international student for either a short or long-term visit.

Students visit Coffs Harbour for short English language programs of one to three weeks as well as long-term programs, which run for a minimum of 10 weeks.

Julie Thurgood, international student adviser and homestay officer, said staying with an Australian family was a crucial part of the English language program.

“The students are coming here for intensive English language classes and the cross-cultural interaction,” Ms Thurgood said.

“There is no better way to improve the students’ English than to be living with an English speaking family – this experience helps them enormously.

“Our host families have also commented on what a wonderful experience it is. There are many benefits including long-lasting friendships. It’s also a great way for children to experience a different culture and language and some new recipes.”

The host families receive a weekly payment and in return are expected to provide accommodation, meals, transport to and from classes, access to household facilities and inclusion in family activities.

Ms Thurgood said families interested in participating would receive a home visit and an orientation. They would also need to undergo the Working with Children Check, for all members of the household aged 16 years or older.

“We have an increasing number of international students coming to Coffs Harbour and urgently need to find new host families,” she said.

Anyone who is interested can email [email protected] or phone the Coffs Harbour International Office on 66593147.

Photo: Diep Nguyen Minh Huy, with Julie Thurgood,international student adviser and homestay officer, and Bob Palmer (right) his homestay host.