Homestay is a popular form of accommodation whereby visitors stay in a house or apartment of a local of the city to which they are traveling. The length of stay can vary from one night to even a year and can be for free, in exchange for monetary compensation, in exchange for a stay at the guest's property either simultaneously or at another time, or in exchange for help on the host's property. It is sometimes used by people who wish to improve their language skills, immerse in a particular culture, or become familiar with the local lifestyle.[1][2] Longer term homestays are popular with students that are participating in study abroad programs.

Students that wish to participate in homestays typically arrange them via their school. Travelers that wish to participate in a home stay typically arrange them via a homestay network.[1]

For the hosts, the homestay provides cultural exchange opportunities, or in cases where compensation is provided, hosts may receive monetary compensation and/or help on their property.

In 2008, a study noted that homestays benefited tourism in Malaysia.[3]

Benefits to students that are studying abroad

In certain cases where students that are studying abroad stay with a family, host families may play a pseudo-parental role, giving advice and sometimes supervising students' activities. In some homestays, families act as cross-cultural advisers, helping the students understand and adjust to their new culture.[4]

Typical contracts and agreements

In longer term homestays, to minimize difficulties, homestay arrangements may involve a contract or written agreement between the host and the guest. Verbal agreements may change contractual clauses depending upon developments after a stay has begun. A contract typically outlines what is expected of the guest and may include items such as chores to perform (e.g., cleaning, laundering), curfews, use of the Internet, television or telephone, and smoking, drinking, and drugs rules. Agreements may also lay out what is being provided by the host, such as accommodations, furniture, facilities, meal provisions, transportation, communications, and entertainment.

Occasionally, a host family or individual may be looking only to capitalize on the financial opportunity of a homestay arrangement and may have little or no concern for the interests of the other party.


  1. 1 2 "Experience South America And Find The Perfect Homestay". Forbes, Inc. 2014-11-18. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  2. Rivers, William P. (1998). "Is Being There Enough? The Effects of Homestay Placements on Language Gain During Study Abroad". Foreign Language Annals. 31 (4): 492–500. doi:10.1111/j.1944-9720.1998.tb00594.x.
  3. "Three Interesting Events On Selangor Tourism 2008 Itinerary". Malaysian National News Agency. 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  4. "Homestay:Opening a World of Opportunity" (PDF). Australian International Education Conference. 2004-10-05. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
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