For students

Experience warmth and comfort away from home.

We pride ourselves on carefully matching students and visitors to their ideal homestay families by having a dedicated team and advanced booking system. You can feel safe and secure knowing that all approved host families are interviewed, police screened and house checked.

Host Families NZ pride ourselves on carefully matching students and visitors to their ideal NZ homestay families by having a dedicated team and advanced booking system.

Fall in love with New Zealand families

Frequently Asked Questions

There's so many questions that come to mind when thinking about staying with a host family in a foreign environment as a student. That's why we've made this. Find answers to our most asked questions, concerns, and issues here.

What is a homestay

Homestay is a popular form of accommodation provided to international students. It is a great way to settle in a new country, to learn a new culture, and practice and improve English at home. In New Zealand, each family or household can host up to 4 international students.

The host family will provide you with a private bedroom, a bed, study desk, chair, lamp and somewhere to put your clothes. Beddings will also be available for you to use, however, you are welcome to bring your own linen.

Personal things such as toiletries and shampoo are the student’s responsibility.

What does a typical New Zealand family look like?

New Zealand is a linguistically and culturally diverse nation. It is a country made of people from diverse nationalities, religion, social and finance statics. Therefore, each family is unique and has their own way of doing things. Although it may differ from what you use to, most of the students in the past find New Zealand families friendly and easy to get along with.

In New Zealand, a homestay environment is not limited to a traditional family structure – mother, father and siblings. Family types such as sole parents, couples with and without children, and people living alone also very common.

New Zealanders are informally known as “Kiwis”. So, most Kiwi families are pet lovers and it is very common for them to have dogs or cats.

Respect and manner are very important to Kiwis. Please remember to say “Please” and “Thank you” at all times.

What are the benefits of living with a host family?

Living in a homestay is a wonderful opportunity to get exposure to a new culture and lifestyle. It is safe, affordable, and convenient accommodation with a family that is familiar with the country. You will have a chance to interact and participate in family activities making it feel like a home away from home. The relationships that you build in your homestay are rewarding and unforgettable.

Can I choose which family I am going to live with?

Unfortunately, you are unable to select a host family.

When you apply, we will ask for your accommodation requirements and our team will match a suitable family for you. Please understand that while we strive to accommodate your preferences, we may not always be able to fulfill all of them.

If you would like to change a homestay after a booking is confirmed, the replacement fee may apply.

Will my host family provide meals to me?

Yes. There are two options you can choose from:

1) Full board: Breakfast, lunch and dinner every day
2) Half board: Breakfast and dinner every day, breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekends and public holidays

Please be aware that breakfast and lunch are self-service meals. Your homestay will provide you with the ingredients and show you where they are located, allowing you to prepare your own breakfast and lunch.

What if I have an allergy or any other special dietary requirements?

You must let us know about any allergies or special dietary needs you have when you apply. Our team will do our best to match you with a family that can accommodate your requirements. Please note, an additional fee for the special dietary may apply.

Will there be other participants living with the host family?

It is possible that you will be living with other international/domestic students during your stay. In New Zealand, each family can host up to 4 international students.

What if I do not fit in my homestay?

If you find that you are  not fitting in with your new host family, it's important to communicate openly and honestly about your feelings and concerns.

Sometimes, differences in habits and communication styles can contribute to feelings of discomfort. Getting to know the New Zeland culture can help you better understand and adapt to your new family's way of life.

Please arrange a time to sit down with your host family and discuss how you're feeling. They may not be aware that you are having difficulties and may be willing to make adjustments to help you feel more comfortable.

However, if you're finding it challenging to communicate directly with your host family or feel that the situation is not improving, reach out to us. You can either email us at or give us a call at +64 21 026 91882. We can then provide guidance and support and may be able to arrange a different host family if necessary (please note the replacement fee may apply).

Remember, adjusting to a new family and environment can take time, and it's okay to seek help and make changes if you're feeling uncomfortable or unhappy. At Host Families NZ, we have a caring and friendly team who are decidated to help you to adapt to your new home so please do not heaite to reach out to us for assisstance.

How early do I need to apply?

We recommend you apply at least 6 weeks prior to your arrival.

However, if you have any emergency bookings, please email us at or give us a call at +64 21 026 91882. Our team will try our best to assist you.

What is provided by the host family?

Your host family will provide you with:

1) A private room with a desk, a chair and a lamp
2) Bed linen (sheets, pillow, and blankets) and towels
3) Storage for belongings (such as a chest of drawers or closet)
4) Shared Bathroom
5) Wireless internet
6) Laundry facilities
7) TV in common area

Any other personal items are not included, such as toiletries, public transportation expense, medical expenses, insurance and etc.

Do I need to arrange my own transportation on my arrival?

Host Families NZ can book an airport transfer for you on your arrival for an additional fee. Please let us know your flight details.

If you prefer to make your own way to your homestay,  please inform us about your arrival time so we can make sure your homestay is at home to welcome you.

Are there house rules that I need to follow?

Yes, please email if you would like to receive a copy.

How can I get to school?

You will need to take public transport to get to school. Your homestay will help you to get familiar with your surroundings such as showing the nearest bus/train stop and letting you know which bus/train to take.

It normally takes about 40 minutes to 1 hour to get to your school by bus.

What kind of food can I expect in my homestay?

In New Zealand, a typical Kiwi breakfast is often a help-yourself meal with cereal or toast and a cup of a hot drink. Your homestay will show you which food or ingredients are used for breakfast meals. You can simply prepare your own breakfast, eat and then tidy up once you finish

Lunch on weekends and public holiday is either a help-yourself meal or prepared by the host family. Lunch in New Zealand is often a cold meal like a sandwich with bread, cheese, ham and salad.

Dinner is the main meal of the day in New Zealand households. It is eaten after 6 pm and often includes meat or fish, vegetables or salad with rice, bread, potatoes or pasta.

Do I need to pay if I cancel my booking?

Yes. Below are our Refund and Cancellation Policy:

When written notice of cancellation is received,

*8 (+) Days prior to commencement of the Homestay, HFNZ will retain the Placement Fee and agrees to refund the balance of the Homestay fees paid, within 14 days of receipt of written notice of cancellation.
*7  (-) Days prior to commencement of the Homestay, HFNZ will retain the Placement Fee and 1 week’s Homestay fee, and agrees to refund the balance of Homestay fees paid, within 14 days of receipt of written notice of cancellation.
*Upon the start of the Homestay, HFNZL will retain the Placement Fee, 4 weeks of the accommodation charges and any prepaid administrative fees, and will refund the remaining balance of the Homestay fees within 14 days of receiving the cancellation notice.

Got more questions? Feel free to reach out to us here.

A simple application process

We streamline the journey for students seeking a home away from home. Our homestay organisation offers a straightforward application process, ensuring ease and efficiency for a seamless transition into a welcoming Kiwi family environment.

Understand your responsibility

Before applying, it is important to understand your responsibilities as a homestay student. Please get in touch with us to request a copy.

Apply Online

Once you understand and agree to abide by the homestay rules (please note the rules are subject to change from time to time), please submit your online application.

Remember to declare all necessary information to help us to find the best suitable homestay for you. This includes (but is not limited to):

- Homestay Preferences
- Any allergies (food, pets)
- Any medical conditions

Pay the Fees

Upon receiving your application, our team will send you a quotation based on your requirements. If the fee schedule meets your expectations, please accept the quotation and make the payment.

We accept bank transfers and credit card payments. Please note there will be extra charges if you pay via credit card or international transfer.

Receive Confirmation

Once your payment is received, our team will start looking for a family for you. When a homestay is found, you will receive a booking confirmation which includes:

- Booking details (start date, ends date, airport pick up info if required)
- Host details (name, occupation, contact details and addresses)
- House and room photos

Apply today

Fill out the form below to apply as a student. It's quick, easy, and risk free.

See what past students and families have said.

"My experience being a host family and hosting a student has been far beyond my expectations. It's really beneficial for my son as well because he gets to learn from so many people about where they're from. I've had 20 students with Host Families over the past year."


Host family

"I feel very happy here and I very like here. I'm very enjoying the food. And I think the people here are very, very friendly."

Chong Fu Yu


"My kids have grown up having different students around with all sorts of different cultures, which has given them the benefit of knowing about other cultures, other traditions, and my daughter has even learnt a little bit of Japanese from one of the students we hosted!"


Host family

"Since 2015, we've had 53 students. Each was individual and it was lovely having each one of them. The favourite part is I love cooking: we have a roast day, dessert day, fish and chips day, stir fry day, good variety. Host Families has really good communication - I highly recommend them."

Rosemary & Victor

Host family