At Palmerston North Girls' High School, we believe that just as important as having world-class education; international students must have a safe and nurturing family environment to live in where they will receive the care and support that they need to settle successfully into a new culture and educational system. Our Homestay Manager works tirelessly to ensure that happens.
Unless you are living with your parents or approved designated caregivers, you will be placed with one of our carefully selected and managed host families or homestays. The families have been vetted by the New Zealand Police as well as gone through a thorough check by the school. Many of our host families have done this before, while some are new. What they all have in common is an interest in other cultures and a desire to share their family and everyday life by opening their home to you.
A host family plays a central role in your year(s) at high school. They look after you; provide you with your own furnished room and three meals a day. They will do everything possible to help you feel part of the family and you will certainly spend a lot of time with them during your stay. You may exchange traditional recipes, prepare meals together, gather around the dinner table every evening, go to the cinema together or make weekend trips. You will take part in all activities, meet their friends and celebrate holidays with them. It is this everyday life that allows you to experience the real New Zealand.
At the beginning it may be difficult to adapt to a new family with new rules and attitudes in a completely new environment and through a new language. They know as little about you as you do about them, so they will be extremely curious and ask you all kinds of questions about you and about your home country. It is important to understand that every family is different and that their activities, traditions, mealtimes and chores may not be the same as those you are used to. However, through these challenges, you will learn to be flexible, adaptable and resilient to changes. You will become more involved in the life of your host family and quickly start to feel like one of the family.
For many students, life with a host family is the start of a lifelong friendship.
"Taking on the responsibility of being a host family is a huge challege for any family but for us, it has been incredibly rewarding. We have learnt about other countries, cultures and languages and feel lucky to have been able to share a little of 'Kiwi' life with these girls. They have enrished our lives and we are confident we have enriched theirs just a little too."
- Julie Dix, PNGHS hostmother