Homestay and private board

Homestay or private board is when a student lives with a local family in the family’s home.

Family Having Breakfast Together Depositphotos 48299343

Homestay Guide

A handy guide providing key information and responsibilities for homestay host(s), parent(s)/legal guardian(s) and students including:

  • What a homestay is
  • How to apply
  • The role of International Student Care Ltd
  • UC special requirements for U18 students
  • UC support services

Who homestay is suitable for

Homestays are very popular for international students with English as a second language. Homestays give you an opportunity to practice English and learn about New Zealand's culture in a safe and supportive environment. It is recommended that if you are an international student under the age of 18, you choose homestay accommodation.

Homestays are also a good option if you prefer living in a family environment. All homestay families are carefully selected for their friendly, helpful attitudes and comfortable homes.

This type of accommodation is suitable for individual students and sometimes couples, but not students with families.

When and how to apply for a homestay

Your applications for homestay accommodation must be received at least two weeks before arrival. Homestay is for a minimum period of 8 weeks' accommodation.

Contact International Student Care or Accommodation Services for an application form or see 2018 Homestay Application Form or 2019 Homestay Application Form (PDF 169 KB).

Locations in Christchurch

Homestays are available throughout Christchurch in a variety of homes, offering a wide range of living situations, from families with children to single people living by themselves. Due to current demand for accommodation, you should expect to use a bike or bus to travel to campus.


One off placement fee of $330 (NZ$)

This covers:

  • Vetting and selection of host family
  • Arranging health and travel insurance, if required
  • Arranging airport pick-up and transport to host family upon arrival
  • Arrival pack containing bus schedules, orientation booklet in your language, and other relevant information
  • Helping you to arrange a bank account, phone card and bus passes, if required
  • Interpreter help during initial settlement period, if required
  • Ongoing support and monitoring of placements

Weekly fee of $270 (NZ$)

This covers:

  • A fully furnished room including desk, chair, good lighting, storage, bed and bedding, and heating
  • Three meals per day- breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Bathroom and laundry facilities
  • Power and telephone rental - toll calls and some internet charges are extra depending on your usage

Leaving a Homestay

When it comes time to leave your homestay, complete a Request to Leave Homestay Care form and send it to International Student Care.  

More information

Contact Accommodation Services for more information and advice. The University of Canterbury has agreed to observe and be bound by the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.

Contact UC’s homestay agent, International Student Care to discuss homestay options.

Phone +64 3 360 2394
Fax +64 3 360 2395

Host and student profile

Marie and Phil Macquet

Marie and Phil Macquet

'I always buy a slab of New Zealand chocolate and place it on their pillow with a welcome card.'

Birgit van Huijgevoort student profile

Birgit van Huijgevoort

'What I enjoy most about the homestay experience is the fact that you experience normal life in New Zealand.'

Carlos Gaona

Carlos Gaona

'Your host parents will help you with the things you need...'