Australian Homestay Network (AHN)

The Australian Homestay Network (AHN) organises homestays for international students so they can live with local families in Australia. As COVID-19 began affecting international students and life in Australia, the AHN quickly and effectively organised emergency accommodation support for international students in need.

19 Jun 2020

#InThisTogether with Australian Homestay Network (AHN)

The International Student Support Network (ISSN)

Finding affordable accommodation became a major issue for international students across Australia as the pandemic began affecting people's livelihoods. In response, AHN developed the International Student Support Network (ISSN).

 

We created the ISSN to provide discounted and short-term homestay accommodation for vulnerable international students in Australia experiencing hardship during COVID-19.

 

"An integral part of this process was working with government bodies, industry bodies, education providers, student groups and education agents to provide relief for at-risk students".

"We are also coordinating homestays for students who need alternative accommodation or whose travel plans have been disrupted because of the pandemic".


Supporting international students

Homestay is an accommodation option which supports international students as they begin to build new lives in Australia. But, the benefits that homestay provides became even more imperative as COVID-19 began affecting student lives across the country.

"It was clear international students would struggle through the COVID-19 crisis and we knew our community could help," says AHN.

"Homestay provides the essentials - food, safe housing, emotional support and friendship - and offering students a discounted stay until they can get back on their feet was an obvious solution".

Homestay also works on the generosity of the Australian community, offering homes to students in need. The ISSN has highlighted the willingness of the Australian public to lend a hand.

Nearly 1,000 families have registered to become a host with the ISSN. This just shows what an amazing level of compassion and kindness there is in this country.

Stories of success

One of the first ISSN placements proved just how vital the program was for vulnerable international students.

"An education provider had referred a student to us as she had hearing impairment. She was in need of emotional support as she was also recently a victim of cybercrime," says AHN.

"There were some very particular requirements for her homestay but the local AHN team was able to find a caring and attentive host family in less than 48 hours. The student stayed with her hosts for a little over a month until she was able to catch her scheduled flight home".

Another example is of international student Sadman Oshan who was struggling with the financial and mental health impacts of the pandemic.

"Oshan reached out to AHN for help as he was desperately trying to find somewhere to live. He was running out of money and the situation was impacting his mental health," says AHN.

"He'd used all his savings and most of his superannuation to pay for rent and food during the first few weeks of lockdown. The $500 grant from his university went towards his fees".

"Our Sydney team quickly connected Oshan with a host family and he settled in well - he's even getting along with the families maltese dog and he's afraid of dogs".

The importance of the international students

AHN is dedicated to ensuring international students get the most out of their time in Australia.

"Making sure international students have a positive experience of Australia and are taken care of is always a priority for us," says AHN.

"Supporting international students in their time of need shows we appreciate them and the valuable contribution they make to our country".

"They have an extraordinary impact on our cultural and social diversity and they're fantastic ambassadors for Australia. International students support Australian livelihoods and enrich our local communities".