Building Positive Homestay Experiences

Hugh Guthrie,1 Ms Jennifer Walsh1

1Trinity College and The University Of Melbourne, Melbourne,

This presentation is one of the final products of a Victorian State Government’s International Student Welfare Grant, which aimed to study, document and critically analyse the homestay experiences of international students in the higher education (HE), vocational education and training (VET) and English language sectors.

The project sought to address four research questions on the nature and scope of homestay amongst international students studying in Victoria, key criteria students are using in selecting the homestay option, challenges students, institutions and support agencies face in accessing and providing high-quality homestay experiences and changes to existing arrangements to improve the nature and quality of homestay in Victoria for all parties concerned.

The Building Positive Homestay Experiences report provides a summary of international students’ experience living in a Victorian homestay between 2018 and 2020. The research was both qualitative and quantitative in scope, drawing on literature and documentation, publicly available statistics, survey and critical incident data, interviews with homestay service providers and forums involving students and institutions utilising homestay.


Jen Walsh is currently in the role of Senior Manager Student Accommodation and Experience at Trinity College, the University of Melbourne. Jen provides leadership and management of accommodation services for international students to ensure consistently high standards of student safety, security and wellbeing within a range of approved accommodation options for students under the age of 18. Jen champions the Student Experience team to lead and assist the development of a coherent wellbeing strategy across Student Services with particular focus on student activities such as virtual orientation, valedictory events and student clubs and societies. In her previous position as Vice President of ISANA Vic/Tas (2017-2019) Jen in partnership with the University of Melbourne and funded by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions completed ‘Building Positive Homestay Experiences’ research in 2020 which can be found here

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