June 20, 2020

Japanese Customer: Homestay - helpful or a hindrance in international education management?



A homestay is an important option international students consider when they undertake study abroad in a foreign country.

While we were conducting market research into international Japanese student buyer behaviour in Australia (Research: Buyer Behaviour of Japanese international students Australia)we found that the majority of students interviewed had undertaken a homestay.

Depending on the students language ability, cultural knowledge and personality, homestay can be a wonderful way to develop and practice new skills and learn more about daily life in the host country if it is managed well.


In my experience working with a range of institutions I have found that if a homestay is volunteer based ie: no money involved, the homestay has a higher chance of being successful. I believe this may be due to the fact that the host is volunteering meaning they have the ability to put in the appropriate time and effort to make it work. They generally have good people skills and open their home and family so as to share and help another person. Whereas my experiences with paid homestay I'm afraid have shown me a range of inherent problems. These include high expectations, low-quality care and a focus on payment more than the student. That is not to say that paid homestays don't work they do, but for them to carry an institution's brand name, reputation and credibility they must be well managed.

A large part of a student's success in a foreign culture is their comfort and this begins with their accommodation. If they are comfortable they can perform at their best. If they are not comfortable and your institution doesn't pick it up, the student often just quits their course and returns home and the institution is none the wiser. Both the institution and the student loses.

The cost of getting the student and all the work done by your institution's staff is lost. This equals wasted time and money. Once the accountants cost the loss of a homestay they will reveal big money losses, in the form of advertising, exhibition fees, staff travel, airfares, agent fees, etc.

Homestay providers help students best when they understand the student and the difficulties they face. In this respect volunteer homestays have fewer problems than paid homestays as the expectations are different. One is for genuine interest and one is for money.



Learn more about study in Japan at Study Abroad Japan

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