OPEN YOUR HOME: Allex McDonald (pictured) with previous homestay guests.
OPEN YOUR HOME: Allex McDonald (pictured) with previous homestay guests.

Hosting an easy way to earn money and gain new experiences

IF YOU'RE looking to make some extra cash while opening yourself up to new worldy experiences, why not try being a host for an international student?

Lismore is set to welcome more than 50 Japanese students to the city throughout February and March, with the Australian Homestay Network looking for generous hosts to open their homes.

The international students will be studying English at Southern Cross University and enjoying an Australian cultural experience as part of a study tour.

Lismore residents have the opportunity to get involved and become 'Aussie ambassadors' by signing up as homestay hosts.

Lismore residents Kelly and Allex McDonald have been hosting with the Australian Homestay Network since 2017 and say there are plenty of benefits to homestay.

"Thinking back to our early days of hosting, we wish we had started earlier," Mrs McDonald said.

"Our child absolutely loves each and every student that we have hosted and he quickly adopts them as his older 'brother' or 'sister'."

She said meeting people from all over the world was also a perk for the family.

"Hosting international students is a great way to make new friendships across the globe," she said.

"We have hosted for several years and because of the wonderful connections we have made, we have ended up travelling all over the world to visit with our students."

Australian Homestay Network general manager Cris Rey said locals can turn their spare bedrooms into an asset while being part of a unique cultural exchange.

"Study tours give international students a taste of what it's like to live in Australia and study at our schools and universities," he said.

"Offering a home away from home and welcoming international students to the community sets them on the right track for a positive time in Australia."

Mr Rey said people from all walks of life should consider hosting.

"From single parents, couples, families with kids, empty nesters - the opportunity to be a homestay host is open to all types of households and you'll be paid for the experience," he said.

Hosts will receive a reimbursement for providing their guest with a comfortable bedroom, meals and weekday transport to and from SCU, with host payments of $245-$275 per week.

Homestays are required for 2-4 weeks, with the final group departing on 21 March.

Interested families can apply on the Australian Homestay Network website or contact the team on (02) 9264 0470.