Home away from home

The University of Newcastle Homestay program has been operating since the year 2000, providing international students with a friendly and caring welcome to Newcastle and an insight into family life in Australia.

Homestay Co-ordinator, Fatima Shipton is passionate about the program, working closely with over 200 host families to successfully place approximately 500 students into homes each year, ensuring that each host and student has a positive experience.

The majority of students are from China, Japan, Thailand, Korea and the Middle East however, with international students from over 80 countries currently studying at the University of Newcastle, students from all corners of the globe are interesting in gaining an authentically Australian experience.

The many benefits of the Homestay program are certainly mutual. Homestay hosts gain extensive cultural awareness and a perspective of the world that they previously may not have had. Maggie Hsu is a perfect example of this. Maggie came to study in Australia from Taiwan four years ago. Throughout her studies she stayed with a host family in New Lambton, forming a support network which helped her during her time in Newcastle. During this time she met her now husband, Chris. Maggie, Chris and their two children now act as a Homestay host family.

Maggie knows first-hand the importance of Homestay and the significant positive impact which it has on an international students life, “Homestay is a great initiative for students, the student is cared for and does not feel lonely in a new country”.

New hosts are always welcome and for further information on the Homestay Program and how you can be involved please email

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