Where to Secure a Student Renter
Why Become a Homestay Host?
Homestay hosting is a great way to introduce your family to new cultures and pay some bills while you're at it. Many people have an extra room in their house that is serving no purpose. Either it's filled with junk or perhaps it's the "office" that never seems to get any work done in it. Why not make your home work for you?
I'm not saying that hosting an international student is passive income. But it work unlike any other. One that requires you to be an in-house landlord of sorts, providing meals, cleaning and potentially language practice for the student. But the experience reaps non-monetary rewards as well.
Opening your home to a stranger can seem a little odd at first but the value of exposing your family to a new culture and getting paid to do it at the same time is definitely worth it.
The is a brief list of resources to secure your own international student.
There are no shortage of agencies out there. Some or reputable and some are unscrupulous. Agencies vary from area to area so there is no specific one I could recommend. I can advise, however, that performing a search via Google for local agencies and then checking their reputation on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website.
The homestay industry is ripe for scamming since families send their (often young) student naively across the world through a completely online arrangement. The parents can't necessarily visit the agency themselves or the people running it so they have to trust the agency without actually seeing it or the people involved. You can help to keep the industry straight by only dealing with reputable agencies. Talk to them. Go into the agency, ask lots of questions and make sure the agency is safe for everyone involved. You want an agency that cares for the students well-being and is not just trafficking them. Keep in mind that there are fees involved in placement agencies.
TIP: If you have found someone else who has hosted a student, find out what agency they used. A quality referral can save time and almost guarantee a good agency.
Craigslist, as most of you know, is where you can secure almost anything. This includes international students! I you decide not to go with an agency, then Craigslist is a good place to look. Under you regional postings, look under: housing > rooms & shares.
Here you will find students looking for placement. You can also place your own accommodation here.
TIP: Look what the other homestay host advertisements are charging for their rooms so that you have a sense of the market value of your own room.
Put in your status: "Anyone know a student that needs hosting?". This will source your friends directly and even your friends friends. Someone is likely to know either a student or host family that can lead you on the right path and perhaps provide some advice.
TIP: Keep it casual in the form of a question. Don't place a want ad in your status update. That will just annoy people.
Word of Mouth:
Seems obvious I know, but the simple method of asking around will usually turn up someone who is hosting or has hosted a homestay. A friend, a friend of a friend. People who aren't on Facebook that you queried from the previously mentioned method ie, your parents friends, are prime candidates since homestay hosts are often older couples.
TIP: Homestays often change residences for one reason or another. If you know someone who already has a homestay, find out if the host is interested in sending them your way.