What are the responsibilities of a host family?
Students are considered as family members and the host parents have full authority over the student. The host family is therefore expected to provide for the exchange student in the same way as for other children in the family. Students will have with them a limited amount of personal spending money.
Working with children check
Parents and guardians of students who will be responsible for the Réunionnais exchange student will be required to hold a Working with Children Check (WWCC) Card. If parents and guardians already hold a WWCC card, a certified photocopy must be sent with the student’s application form. Parents and guardians who do not hold a current WWCC card must obtain an application form from a Post Office. It must then be completed and returned with the students Application Form.
For more information visit the WWC website.
What makes a good host family?
Experience has shown that successful host families have most of these characteristics:
- The family is confident and happy about itself and its values.
- The family is interested in other cultures and open to new approaches to things, to new ideas.
- The family has a reasonable variety of interests and hobbies and is willing to organise some special outings for the exchange student.
- The family has good communication skills.
- The family has firm, clear expectations about appropriate behavior, but also has the capacity to be flexible when necessary.
- The work commitments of both parents and the host student are such that the exchange student is not left alone for long periods of time.
- The family has sufficient space to accommodate an extra person.
What are the benefits to the student and the host family?
The experience enriches both the student and the family.
Ms Cowcher and her daughter Lucy noted: ‘The match between Lucy and Sarah (La Réunion student) worked well and they are firm friends. I expect that there will be further exchanges between our families in future. I believe that the exchange program offers benefits to the whole family.’ Lucy described her participation as a ‘wonderful opportunity’ and ‘an experience of a lifetime.’
Katie Wambeek wrote: ‘I feel so much more confident with new people now.’
Mrs Weatherhead wrote : ‘Thank you to all the committee members for organising such a fabulous experience for not only our son but the whole family.’