Nelson family opens home to international students

Students Prommai Shrindhorn, (front left) from Thailand, Kati Breckwoldt, from Germany and hosts John and Vicki Maxwell. ...
Sara Meij

Students Prommai Shrindhorn, (front left) from Thailand, Kati Breckwoldt, from Germany and hosts John and Vicki Maxwell. On the trampoline are Alicia (left), Jessica, and Joshua Maxwell.

Vicki Maxwell grew up with international students in her house and three years ago decided to continue the tradition in her own home.

Since then, Vicki and her husband John have had four students stay with them. 

"It's been really good, it's a great way for the kids to be exposed to different cultures and new languages," she said.

The students study at Garin College in Richmond and the Maxwell's live around the corner with their three children, Alicia, 11, Joshua, 9, and Jessica, 6.

READ MORE: Overseas students worth millions to region's economy

Garin College International Students Homestay coordinator Jacqui Cleary said the homestay families are paid $235 a week.

In turn, the families provide an inviting home, three meals a day and "treat them as their own", Cleary said.

"I'm not sure how other people do it, we let them eat whatever they would normally eat," Maxwell said.

"I take them to the shop and they can chose whatever they like."

Maxwell said they currently had two students staying with them.

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She said Prommai Shrindhorn from Thailand would be staying for two years and Kati Breckwoldt from Germany was staying with them for six months.

"We find it quite easy, extra people [in the house] is not hard for us.

"I'm quite strong in communication so I'll always voice any issues and they can voice their issues.

"They're very respectful because it's our house and we respect them because they're our guests."

Maxwell said the international students each had their own room in the house. 

She said they would probably go down to hosting one international student once their oldest daughter was ready to have her own room and privacy.

Maxwell said she would encourage other families to try hosting international students.

"For us it's just seeing a different culture and seeing photo's of their home town is quite cool.

"Building a bond with someone who is not part of our family is quite special."

 - Stuff

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