The pros and cons of homestay accommodation for international students

UNSURE whether living with a local family while you’re studying in Australia is the right lifestyle choice for you? Trinity College Foundation Studies students Chelsea Liang, David Kianjuan Bi and Su Lynn Kew weigh the pros and cons of the homestay experience in Australia.

If you’re a current or future student at Trinity College then you may be considering the homestay option during your time in Melbourne.

To help with your accommodation decision, some current students have shared their homestay experience.

What are the advantages?

If you can build up a good relationship with your host family, living in a homestay can be a wonderful and rewarding experience.

The homestay option can be a good choice for newcomers to Australia who feel they might need a family away from home to help them adapt to their new environment.

Trinity College student, Hanna said she was very satisfied with her homestay experience because she had built a good relationship with her host.

According to Hanna, her host “treated her like her own granddaughter”. The host would always drive her to the train station when she needed to take a train to the city as her house was a 30 minute walk from the station. Also, before going grocery shopping, her host would always ask if she wanted to come along.

Many students also feel that their conversational English had also improved as a result of their homestay with a local family.

Hanna said her spoken English had greatly improved after four months in a homestay.

If you’re looking for cheap and short-term accommodation, a homestay would be a wise choice. Trinity student Nu Nu said that “other options are expensive and they require students to stay for at least six months”.

Are there any disadvantages?


As homestays are usually located in the suburbs, the long commute to school is often frustrating for many international students.

Trinity College’s Housing and Accomodation Manager, Jennifer Walsh said students  would “spend such a long time travelling every day that they have much less time for study than their peers who live near the school”.

Some homestay families may also impose restrictions on students’ shower time, which may also make some students feel uncomfortable. According to Nu Nu, she was not permitted to shower after 9pm because the bathroom was above the kids’ bedroom and the shower noise would disrupt their sleep.

Food can be a problem as well as some students might feel the way their host family plan out their meals can leave them a little unsatisfied.

“The family would sometimes eat the same food for both lunch and dinner,” said Nu Nu.

In the end, the homestay experience often depends on your own personality and lifestyle preferences.

“Some people may prefer living on their own, while some others may choose a homestay because of the social environment,” Ms Walsh said.

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch us via

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  1. I have stayed at both homestay and rooming house. My stay at Homestay Melbourne has been a particularly good one. As it is a rooming house it game much needed privacy and at the same time very economical. Reaching my college was not a big challenge as I could catch a bus or a train just a few minutes away from my place.

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

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