Here are some tips from international students at NMIT about what is considered polite in a New Zealand homestay.
- Greet each other in the morning with "good morning" or "hello" when you first meet. A "good night" at the end of the day gives a good indication to your host family that you are going to your room.
- Let your host family know if you will not be home for dinner or phone home, giving enough warning so that the family know where you are and that you are safe and don't need a meal that night.
- Be considerate when using the phone by not using the home phone for too long or having late night phone calls or noisy phone calls.
- Respect each other's privacy. Do not open your host family's mail, cupboards or private rooms. Sometimes a host parent may enter your room to clean or place your washing on your bed, but in general, nobody should enter your room without your OK.
- Be sensitive to the family's need to spend time quietly and without you sometimes - some families feel uncomfortable when their homes are crowded with people speaking loudly in another language.
- If people ask you to smoke outside, they really mean OUTSIDE, not just with the windows open because the smoke will go through the rest of the house.
- Talk with your family about their expectations regarding having your friends around. This varies from family to family and it is important to find out what is OK.
- If you would like to have a friend around for the weekend or for the night, ask your host family first if its OK to invite your friend.
- When your visitors come, introduce them to the host family and speak in English as much as possible.
- If you are offended by something, don't stay angry, talk with your family or to the cultural advisor at NMIT about your concerns. Explain anything that is culturally offensive to you. The host family will wonder what has gone wrong if you do not explain. Be prepared to explain and talk about differences you notice, but try to choose a time when both have time to talk.
- Pay your rent on time.