Welcome to Homestay! We want your stay with us to be enjoyable. As you will be staying in someone's home, we will ask you to abide by certain guidelines that all guests and hosts agree to follow. This will make your stay with us more pleasant.

What is Homestay?
Homestay is affordable housing for international students and interns. It is a clean and safe accommodation in a friendly American home where you can practice English language skills during shared time with your host.

Students and interns can purchase a private or shared bedroom, a private or shared bathroom, and 2 meals per day (continental breakfast and dinner). The host provides a bed, desk (lamp and chair), a place to put clothing, linens & towels, and, purchased meals.

Got Questions or Problems?
Simple issues in the home can usually be discussed in the home with your host. Being familiar with the guidelines and discussing the issue with the appropriate person can clear up any confusion regarding what is expected of you or your host.

> All arrangements for your accommodations are made through the San Francisco Homestay
? agency. If you have any questions or problems regarding your accommodation or your fees, please email the appropriate homestay personnel:

For housing:
Susanne Freeborn


For payment of fees:
Billing Coordinator


If you have a problem but do not communicate it to us when it occurs, we cannot be held responsible and will not issue refunds based on untimely communications. Any questions regarding your fees must be referred to our billing coordinator, not your host.

To Cancel Your Homestay or To Depart Homestay Earlier:
If you made advanced reservations and need to cancel before your arrival date, please give us a 4-week notice of cancellation.

If you have already checked-in and must move out prior to your stated departure date, you must give us a 4-week notice of departure. You will be charged for the 4 weeks after the day that you gave notice.

Extending Your Stay
If you wish to remain in the home beyond your class completion date or your original departure date, you must speak with San Francisco Homestay
at (415)230-5313 to determine if the room is still available. We may have booked someone else in that room.

Homestay Fees
Please pay all homestay fees correctly and on time. We charge late payment fees for all late payments. Please discuss your fees only with the appropriate homestay personnel.  We will not accept partial payments without prior arrangements.

Enjoy Your Homestay
Please feel welcome in our homes! Make certain that you engage in conversations with your host family. Practice your English and learn about each other!

Please Respect Your Host
Homestay hosts provide this service because they have an interest in international cultures. There are certain services that they perform and certain responsibilities that are yours. Please be courteous and respectful when interacting with your hosts and other guests.

San Francisco Homestay Guidelines and Your Host's House Rules
Please remember: when you live in homestay, you are living in someone's home. Please be sensitive to the needs of others in your home and understand that each home will have some "house rules" for all family members and guests to live by.

We encourage you to talk with your host to make sure you understand what they expect of you. An enjoyable time can be had if you understand and live within these rules. Please be aware that failure to follow homestay rules, or to pay your fees and pay on time, may result in probation or immediate removal from homestay.

Please Clean up After Yourself
Please keep your bedroom area clean and neat. Hosts will provide you with a clean room to move-in to, however, the daily and weekly cleaning of the room becomes your responsibility once you occupy it. Please clean up after yourself in the bathroom, whether it is a shared or private bathroom.

The continental breakfast is self-serve and you will need to clean up after you have breakfast. After dinner, hosts will greatly appreciate assistance in cleaning and dish washing.

Personal Hygiene
Please be familiar with American customs regarding personal cleanliness.

You Are Not Responsible For Jobs in the Home
You will not be asked to do big jobs for the family. For example, it is not your responsibility to baby-sit, mow the lawn, or rake the leaves. You are only responsible for simple chores such as cleaning up after yourself, washing your dishes, doing your own laundry, and, helping the family clean up after a meal.

Not Coming Home for Dinner or for the Evening
If you decide to have dinner out, please inform your host ahead of time, at least an hour or two, so that dinner will not be prepared for you that night. We do not prorate your fees if you decide to dine out and miss the host dinner for the evening.

If you plan to not come home for the night, it is important that you inform the host to not expect you home. We only ask this as a safety precaution. If you do not come home for the night and you have not informed your host, he or she will be concerned that something might have happened to you and might phone us or the police to report you missing.

Please note: if you are under 18 years of age, please respect an 11:00 p.m. curfew.

No Overnight Guests or Romantic Visits
We do not allow overnight guests that are not registered homestay clients, nor do we allow romantic visits (day or night). Please understand that this is a security issue, as well as a family issue. Strangers in the home can make the home unsafe and the family has a right to know who comes into and out of their home. Also, some hosts have children in the home and do not wish to expose them to certain behaviors. Exceptions to the "no romantic visits" rule apply in some Exectutive packages but need to be formally agreed upon in advance with the home family and with the homestay agency.

Daytime Visitors
Please follow family guidelines about daytime visitors. Each host might have a different guideline. Again, this is an issue of home security and safety. Only homestay guests and approved visitors are allowed in the home.

If you have a friend or a relative coming to the area and you want them to have a place to stay in homestay, they must fill out an application form and pay the application fee and homestay fees. Please have them apply for homestay by contacting us through email ( or by phone (415)230-5313.

Please Conserve Our Water, Electricity, and Gas
We do appreciate your efforts to help us conserve water and power.We are experiencing great difficulties with these issues and our water and power bills could be several hundred dollars if we are not careful. This could increase your homestay fee. All residents, guests, and, visitors are expected to respect our need to conserve energy by limiting the use of it. You can help avoid increasing the cost of your homestay by participating in some of the conservation activities: limit your showers to 5-10 minutes, turn lights off when not in the room or when sleeping, limit the use of electrical appliances. Your homestay host will provide you with suggestions.

You are responsible for your own daily transportation. Your host will help you learn which buses or other forms of public transportation to take to go to school or to your place of internship and to come home.  Public buses run frequently. Our public transit systems offer discount passes if purchased by the week or month. The average commute time within San Francisco is 1 hour or less. If you live outside the city, it may be longer.

You are responsible for your own entertainment and outside activities. Please familiarize yourself with general safety guidelines and follow them when going out in the Bay Area. Your host can assist you with these safety guidelines.

If the family invites you to participate in an outing with them (a movie, a special event, etc.) where an admission fee is charged, you will be expected to pay for yourself.

Spending Money
Please make sure you have enough money to cover your expenses for: entertainment, transportation, travel, mail, phone calls, snacks, meals outside the home, toiletries (shampoo, soap, razors, laundry detergent, etc.) and other personal items.

As you are paying San Francisco Homestay
for your homestay services, your host should never ask you for money unless you are joining them for an event that has an admission fee or San Francisco Homestay has asked them to assist in collecting a fee.

Smoking, Alcoholic Beverages, and, Illegal Drugs
Smoking is not permitted in most homes in California. When permitted to smoke outside, please extinguish your cigarette butts completely and dispose of them properly. Make sure that you get an ashtray from your host family. Please be cautious with cigarettes, as fire is a real hazard in our dry climate. Also, please be sensitive to those who are offended by cigarette smoke.

The legal drinking age in California is 21. And, of course, illegal drugs will not be tolerated in the home.

Some hosts have washing machines and dryers available for students and some do not. If they are available, please ask them to show you how to use the machines. Otherwise, please use the neighborhood laundromat, which will be close to the home. You are responsible for providing your own laundry detergent and other laundry supplies.

Telephone Usage: Use a Phone Card
All toll or long distance phone calls must be made with a pre-paid phone card. These are easily purchased at most schools and stores. Under no circumstance, should you accumulate any phone bills on the phone provided by the host. If you do incur a phone bill, you will be responsible for paying the host the cost (in full) of your calls. Telephone usage can, at any time, be limited or prohibited by the host.

When using the phone, please remember that other guests or family members also share that phone line, so everyone is asked to keep phone conversations short.

Phone Lines, Television and Computers
We do not guarantee Internet access from any of our homestay homes, however, most, but not all, homes do now offer wireless access by cable or DSL.

Also, please be respectful in the usage of Internet access by following these guidelines:

  • Do not access sensitive sites such as pornographic sites.
  • Do not incur any phone bills on the host's phone line.
  • Do not charge videos to the host family's cable television.

If a host does not offer Internet access, you must find other ways through your school or wireless hotspots to do so.  Most hosts can tell you where to go near home.

Use of Appliances in the Home
Please ask your family how to use items in the home, such as window shades, bathroom fixtures, kitchen appliances (microwave, dishwasher), etc. We understand that you might not be familiar with the use of these items. Please make sure that you understand how to use them, as you may be held responsible to pay for their repair or replacement if you break them.

We expect you to have your own medical and dental health insurance. If you do not have these, please ask your school to recommend an insurance plan for you. We highly recommend that you carry health insurance.

If a medical emergency arises, be prepared by knowing what clinic or doctor your school recommends. Your medical care is your responsibility and you are solely responsible for the costs of your healthcare.

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