NZIIU believes that the best way to learn another language and culture is by complete immersion. Our conversational English classes, excursions and activities in the community are complemented by the Homestay aspect of our programmes. Rather than being treated as a guest, we ask that students be treated as a member of the host family participating fully in their host family’s life. We are committed to providing our students with outstanding, quality host families. All potential host families must provide at least two references from people who are then contacted by NZIIU Tutor Coordinators. An in-home interview is conducted, preferably with all members of the family and the interviewer also ensures that the accommodation is acceptable. Our coordinators provide support to host families and students throughout the duration of the programme.
Our short-term students are generally from Japan and Thailand and are part of groups visiting NZ. Our long term students are on exchange from their home country. They have self-selected because of their interest in New Zealand and in the English language. They have been accepted as an exchange student only after careful screening both in their home country and by NZIIU. Most are currently from Japan and Thailand but they could also be from France, Italy, Germany or other parts of Europe or Asia.
A local contact person is appointed to oversee the homestay for the duration of the student’s stay. We call them Regional Homestay Managers (RHMs). This person selects the homestay and then provides pastoral care overseeing the welfare of the student(s) in addition to maintaining regular contact with the family and school. It is important to remember that students are teenagers and may occasionally need guidance and advice. They are bound by strict rules and guidelines.
RHMs also provide a brief monthly report on the student and their progress which is sent to our overseas affiliate and then to the natural parents. Being an RHM is a very interesting and rewarding way to meet new families and help students from a variety of nationalities.