Homestay frequently asked questions

Find out more information about the benefits of living with a family in Australia. From food and lifestyle, to safety and security. These common questions cover a wide range of topis.

Homestay students

What is Homestay?

Homestay provides a safe and secure environment and fully furnished accommodation for international students in Australian family homes.

It is a cultural interaction between student and family and can be beneficial for students to improve their English language skills.

What are key benefits of Homestay?
  • Students make lifelong friendships and gain an understanding of different cultures
  • All students are provided with a private room, fully furnished with bed, desk, lamp, wardrobe or hanging space and access to laundry and toilet facilities.
  • Your homestay host will assist you with purchasing a Go Card, orientation around the Homestay and house facilities. Bus routes and timetables to and from your campus of study
What are Homestay families like?
  • All families are culturally sensitive to student’s needs
  • Not all families are the same. Some families may consist of single lady or mother and father and children.
  • All Families speak English, have attended a Homestay Orientation and have signed a Homestay Agreement
  • All houses have been inspected by University staff and each family are monitored in accordance with the Homestay Program
  • Communication is very important and please talk to your host if you have any concerns or issues that you do not understand.

Please note that every effort will be made to meet your homestay requirements when you complete your application.

Am I eligible for an airport reception on arrival?
  • Griffith English Language students commencing their studies in Australia are eligible for the complimentary airport reception. Undergraduate and post graduate students will receive only one complimentary airport reception for their duration of study.
  • Students are required to confirm their airport reception details 72 hours prior to departure from their home country.
  • When a student arrives at the international airport our representative will be holding a board with the university logo and student’s name. The student should not leave the arrival area. Should a student not make contact then they should proceed to the traveller’s information desk for assistance.
  • Booking Information can be found on the Airport reception page.

I want to leave my homestay

If students are experiencing difficulty with their accommodation they are encouraged to visit the Homestay office or ask for assistance from the Student Adviser. Alternatively contact via email at

If a student wants to move out after the first 4 weeks and requires another homestay then an additional placement fee will be charged

Under 18 students are required to remain in homestay until they are 18 years of age.

I am having difficulty communicating with my host?

This is not uncommon; some helpful tips are:

  • Write information down in clear and precise English
  • Speak slowly and in a clear voice
  • Show photos or pictures of what you are trying to explain
  • If you require help please contact the Homestay Office and we can meet with you to discuss some techniques with communication.
Where do I find information about transport?

Visit the Translink website for public transport options. Type in the home address and the destination to display bus/train routes, prices and alternate travel options.

For alternate transport options visit the Griffith Transport website.

What if I want to drive a car?

Students can drive cars in Australia only if they hold the appropriate licence. For more information please visit the Department of Transport and Mains Roads.

International driver licences are valid in Queensland with a certified English translation. Both documents must be carried by the driver. It is important to check you are correctly insured.

Do I purchase a Student or Adult GoCard?

If you are enrolled in an English or GELI course, or are part of a short-term study tour, you must purchase an Adult GoCard. No concessions apply.

If you are enrolled as a full undergraduate degree or post graduate degree student, you are eligible to purchase a Student GoCard. You will need to show your Griffith student ID when purchasing your GoCard.

For more information on GoCard visit the Translink website.

Are there buses between Griffith campuses?

Yes, the university operates a free shuttle bus between Mt Gravatt and Nathan campuses.

The Gold Coast Student Guild operates a shuttle bus between Nathan and Gold Coast campuses.

What are the fees?

ELICITS/Full fee-paying students must pay four weeks homestay fee on arrival at their homestay accommodation.  If a student wants to move out before the end of this four-week period, the fee is non-refundable.

Students may leave at the end of the four-week period without notice. After this four-week period has elapsed, and the student has decided to stay, they should provide one week’s notice of intention to leave.

Request for special dietary requirements will incur an additional weekly charge of $35. Dietary requirements may include halal, vegetarian, vegan or other religious or medical requirements.

Your host family may invite you out to dinner or an activity, they will discuss with you if you will need to pay. This is a great opportunity to see new places and enjoy time with your host family.

If I go away on holidays, will I be charged?

If go away for two weeks or less, then you can expect to pay the host the normal weekly homestay fees. If you go away on holidays for more than two weeks, your host will charge you 50% of the normal weekly homestay fees.

Students must discuss with their homestay host about the holiday period.

What are additional expenses I might occur?

Homestay students can expect to purchase their own private toiletries and personal items.

Internet in Australia is generally not a free service. You should discuss with your host if fees apply for accessing the internet in your homestay.

Students can also expect to pay a small additional fee for the use of a heater or air conditioner, this should be discussed with your host.

Can the I use the telephone and internet?

If you purchase an Australian sim card for your mobile phone, this will allow you to make local calls.

We encourage students to discuss the internet and phone usage with your host directly. This is the responsibility of the host family and student as the University does not enter into the negotiations of these services.

I have dietary requirements

Please discuss this directly with your host who will be happy to cater for your dietary requirements. An additional catering fee of $35 may be incurred. Please see ‘Payment and Fees’ section.

What meals will I eat?

It is a good idea to discuss your meal requirements and perhaps go shopping with your family to become familiar with the different types of food that are available in Australia.

Talk to your host about providing an area that you can store your favourite food items.

Depending on the Homestay option you choose, you can expect:

Semi catered option:

  • Two meals a day (breakfast and dinner)
  • Breakfast may include cereal, yoghurt, fruit, toast or eggs
  • Dinner may include a hot dish with a choice of vegetables, pasta, stir fry, meat rice
  • Students can expect to purchase their own soft drinks, favourite sweet treats or special food from their country of origin.

Fully catered option:

  • 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Breakfast may include cereal, yoghurt, fruit, toast or eggs
  • Lunch may include sandwiches, stir fries, fruit, cheese and crackers, tuna, salmon, cold meat and salad, hot soup, noodles, pasta
  • Dinner may include a hot dish with a choice of vegetables, pasta, stir fry, meat rice
What if I smoke?

Students must discuss this with their host upon arrival. Please note, in Australia smoking in public places is restricted and all Griffith University campuses are smoke free.

Check for signs and discuss this with your host so that you are aware of the rules and requirements in your homestay house and surrounding areas.

Can I go out at night?

If you go out it is important that you notify your host that you will not be home for dinner.

It is important to let your host know if you will not be home, so they do not worry. Some students like to provide their host families with contact details of friends, so they can stay in touch.

Can I have people stay over?

This should be discussed directly with your host family.

Do I wash my own clothes?

Please discuss this directly with your host family. Many families are happy to do the laundry as they are in control of the washing machine and like to monitor the water usage.

Are there water restrictions?

Your host will talk to youabout the water limitations and the period of time permitted in the bathroom. Parts of Australia are in a drought and water conservation is a priority.

Where can I attend church?

You are welcome to worship or attend your own choice of church. You can ask your host to assist with directions or they may invite you to attend to worship with them. If you practice religion at home let your host know.

Do I need contents insurance?

We recommend that students have personal insurance or travel insurance to cover their personal belongings.

Do I have health insurance?

If you are studying on a student visa have compulsory health insurance. Students who are visiting or studying for a short period of time on a visitor’s visa will have private travel insurance and in general will need to pay up front for any medical treatment.

For more information visit the Plan Your Move to Australia website.

What do I do if I am sick?

If you are sick and it is during the week there are medical facilities available on Nathan and Gold Coast campus. If you are sick on the weekend, speak to your host about the closest medical centre to you.

Nathan campus

Mon to Fri 9 am – 5 pm

07 3735 7299

Gold Coast

Mon to Fri 8.30 am – 4.30 pm

07 5552 8734

Important things to know about safety in Australia

Your homestay host will show you around their house and orientate you about the local area.


Wearing a helmet is compulsory in Australia. Cycle on bike paths where possible and lock bicycles when not riding.


Walk or exercise on footpaths, not roads. Be mindful that using headphones can be dangerous if you are not aware of your surroundings. At night walk in well-lit areas and where possible walk with someone.


You should not carry large amounts of cash when shopping and keep your wallet secure at all times. Be aware to cover your pin number when using ATM’s.


Keep bank details private.


Police in Australia will help students who feel unsafe, have been robbed or are being threatened in any way. The Police Liaison Unit has officers who speak different languages and can assist you.

You can find more information at or call (07) 3364 3102

When you go out

Ensure that you have your host family contact details with you including telephone number and address.

We encourage you not to travel alone at night and be aware of your surroundings and alert to what is happening around you. If you are travelling by public transport, sit close to other passengers. Try to appear confident, self-assured and comfortable in your surroundings with strong, positive body language to look ‘streetwise’ rather than fearful.

Do not accept lifts from people you do not know.

Will my host family pick me up late at night?

If you are aware there is no public transport available in your area late at night, then you should discuss this with your host about coming home late.

You can catch a taxi to and from the Homestay but you may like to talk to your host about your options.

Will my host provide me with a key to the house?

Yes, you will be provided with a key. Ensure that the you know how to lock the house when you leave each day.

What happens if you suspect that a personal item has gone missing from your house?

You should contact the Homestay Coordinator who may encourage you to contact the police.

Homestay Coordinator 0419 720 826

If I stay in Homestay Accommodation and I have some concerns? Who do I contact?

You can contact the Homestay Coordinator to discuss your concerns. All matters are treated confidentially.

You can also contact your Student Adviser located in Griffith English Language Institute or Griffith International.

I feel unsafe or harassed who do I contact?

All members of the Griffith University community have a right to feel welcome, safe and supported. We are committed to providing safe and inclusive campus communities, free from harassment, bullying, discrimination and assault and encourage members of the Griffith community to call out, report and seek support when these behaviours occur.

You can talk to your Host Family, Student Adviser Counselling and Welfare, Visit Student Services or for more information visit Griffith Safe Campuses website.

Student Advisor: 5552 9600

Homestay Coordinator: 0419 720 826

In case of emergency contact Police on 000, or if on Nathan or Mt Gravatt campus contact Security on 1800 800 707

Harassment and discrimination officer network

Emergency contact details

International Student Critical Incident: 0418 159 419

Student Advisor: 5552 9600

Homestay Coordinator: 0419 720 826

Griffith College Student Adviser: (07) 373511840407 375 072

On campus Security (only available to contact while on campus)

Gold Coast: 5552 7777

Brisbane campuses: 3735 7777


When is orientation?

Orientation is held on the Thursday and Friday prior to the commencement date of each ELICOS program.

Students are required to attend both days of orientation.

What do I bring?

Passport and details of your current Australian address.

Current Letter of Offer to your Griffith University undergraduate or postgraduate course

Original English test results eg. IELTS, TOEFL iBT or ISLPR (if available)

Thursday schedule

8.00 am – Arrive at GELI, Building M14 (International Building) Mt Gravatt Campus. Go to the Student Centre on Level 5 for registration

8.30 am – Placement testing (if required)

1.00 pm – Pick up your passport from reception and hand in your completed address form

Friday schedule

8.30 am – Student Orientation and Information session (you will be advised of the location on Thursday)

11.00 am – Morning tea break followed by GELI and campus tour

Monday schedule

8.00 am (Morning Class students) – Find your classroom details on the noticeboard

12.30 pm (Afternoon Class students) – If your class is at Mt Gravatt campus you should go to M14 International building Level 2. If your class is at Nathan campus you should go to N06 Patience Thoms Building.

8.15 am (Morning Class students) – Commencement of English classes

12.45pm (Afternoon Class students) ­– Commencement of English classes

Thursday schedule

8.00 am – Arrive at GELI, Gold Coast Centre Level 1, G52 International Building for registration

8.30 am – Placement testing (if required)

1.00 pm – Pick up your passport from reception and hand in your completed address form

Friday schedule

8.30 am – Student Orientation and Information session (you will be advised of the location on Thursday)

11.00 am – Morning tea break followed by GELI and campus tour

Monday schedule

8.00 am (Morning Class students) – Students check their classes on the notice board in Level 1, G52 International Building

12.30 pm (Afternoon Class students) – Students check their classes on the notice board in Level 1, G52 International Building

8.15 am (Morning Class students) – Commencement of English classes

12.45 pm (Afternoon Class students) ­– Commencement of English classes

Visit the website for update information about orientation, pre-arrival details and information about Griffith International.


Where do I go to start my course?

Students enrolled in an English course or Griffith College may study at either Mount Gravatt (M14) or the Gold Coast (G52) campuses. These details will be included in your documentation that you received prior to arriving in Australia.

Undergraduate students will have a timetable and lecture details once they enrol at either Nathan, Mount Gravatt campus or Gold Coast campus.

What is the curfews time GELI students?

Sunday to Thursday by 6 pm
Friday and Saturday 10 pm

What are curfew times for Griffith College?

Sunday to Thursday by 9 pm
Friday and Saturday 10 pm

What are the curfew times for Under Graduate students?

Sunday to Thursday by 9 pm
Friday and Saturday 10 pm

What if I am a Griffith English Language Student and I want to stay overnight or travel?

This request must be approved in advance, and in writing, by the welfare advisor at

What if I am a Griffith College student and I want to stay away overnight?

Permission must be granted from Griffith College if you wish to stay somewhere overnight with friends, family etc.

These arrangements must be made at least 1 week in advance and come from the Dept. of Home Affairs.

Contact Griffith College Student Adviser on (07) 3735 11840407 375 072

Can Under Age students drive Cars?

No, under 18 students cannot drive cars without a valid licence.

Can Under Age students Smoke?

No, it is illegal in Australia for Persons under the age of 18 to smoke, drink alcohol or take illicit drugs.

How do they travel to the airport?

Under Age students must arrange airport transfer through the University and should speak to their Student Advisor about their travel arrangements. It is not advisable for homestay hosts to drive students to the airport and permission must be granted by the University before students can travel to the airport with relatives or family members.

What if the Host Family are going away on holidays?

Please advise the Homestay Office about your holiday arrangements. Under Age students are not to be left alone in the Homestay while you are on holidays. Friends or relatives who may be taking care of the student in your absence must be approved by the University and possess current blue cards. Temporary accommodation for the student can be arranged with another Homestay family. Please contact the Homestay office to discuss the arrangements.

Contact us

Homestay enquiries

Campus Life (Accommodation Services)

On-campus enquiries

Off-campus enquiries

Common questions

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