Frequently Asked Questions

Living with my Host Family

  • What will the food be like?

    Homestay students are usually surprised at how much they enjoy the meals that Lyn prepares.  She enjoys preparing dishes that reflect having lived in many cultures of the world, and students are happy with both the variety and freshness. She likes to cook!  We look forward to trying the food from your country.  Please note: While we are able to accommodate some allergies or restrictions, our food is not halal.

  • Who does the student’s laundry and cleaning?

    Homestay students are responsible for their own laundry and cleaning. Most American families do not have domestic help. Therefore, it is normal for everyone in the home to help with some of the light housework as asked (e.g. washing dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning the shared bathroom, or sweeping after dinner). Homestay students are responsible for keeping themselves, their rooms, and their laundry clean.

  • May I use my host’s computers or printers?

    No. Hosts’ computer and printer equipment is personal property and cannot be used by homestay students.

    Your room will have internet access and most students bring a computer of their own. If you do not have your own computer or printer, you should ask your university or academic program about gaining access to a computer lab on campus.

  • What about transportation?

    The SEPTA is Philadelphia’s public transportation system, offering many options for smooth commuting both inside and out of Philadelphia. The Newbrander home is convenient to a bus, train, or trolley for use during the day and is walking distance to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. After dark, you should travel with a friend, use a taxi, or use one of the many campus transportation services available through your university or program. Students should take advantage of free bus loops, door-to-door shuttles, and walking escort services provided by their universities.

    We will carefully teach you the best transportation route from your homestay to your classes by taking you there on the first day. We are not responsible for providing transportation for you.

  • Will there be other international students in my homestay?

    Frequently, there is more than one international student living in a homestay. This can be a wonderful way to make a good friend. Remember: all homestays are English-only zones. Out of respect for everyone learning English, if two students speak the same native language, they will not be permitted to use that language in the homestay.

  • May I send my luggage ahead of me?

    No. We can not accept luggage ahead of the student’s arrival.

  • Are there rules in my homestay?

    Every family has rules about “how things work” at their house, like cleaning up after yourself, being considerate of others, and letting them know if you aren’t coming to a planned meal or activity. But you’ll find there is a lot of freedom in living in homestay!

  • Do you mix genders of students in homestay?

    Having all men or all women students in homestay makes everyone feel the most comfortable!

  • What about pets?

    The Newbranders do not have pets of their own, but they do have occasional visits from family members who bring pets (dogs and a cat) with them when they visit. Please be sure to let us know if you cannot live with pets as you will likely encounter them at some point.

  • Will I have chores in my homestay?

    Students keep all personal belongings in their rooms, with the exception of a shelf at the entrance for their shoes (slippers are worn in the house).  Common spaces need to be left tidied and personal items removed after using them. 

    All students agree to thoroughly clean the third-floor bathroom on rotation once every month since this bathroom is used exclusively by homestay students. Further, each student is expected to leave the bathroom clean for the next person. Cleaning supplies and laundry soap is provided.

    Homestay guests agree to keep their own rooms clean, to remove their laundry promptly from the laundry room, to keep food out of the bedrooms, and to leave the kitchen completely cleaned up after using it (all surfaces clean, all dishes and cleaning utensils washed, dried, and put away). Everyone appreciates a clean environment!

Moving In / Moving Out

  • What is Orientation to Homestay?

    On your move-in date (agreed upon with the Newbranders), you will meet Tim and Lyn, pay your Homestay Fee in cash or using Venmo or Zelle, present your valid passport with visa, and sign a Homestay Agreement. Before accessing our Internet, you will need to sign the Internet Agreement Form.

    On move-in day, you will receive a house key.  We will explain the household rules, and share all personal contact information (i.e. home, cell, and work phone numbers; email addresses, etc.).

    We will help you with transportation on your first day of class.

  • May I have personal airport pick-up?

    Yes. Personal airport pick-up is available through Friendly Express Limo, Inc. by sending an email to Detailed instructions for arranging this clean, safe, and professional service directly to the Right at Home Homestay office will be included in the Homestay Confirmation Email.

  • What are my responsibilities on move-out day?

    On move-out day, you will need to 1) thoroughly clean your bedroom, using the checklist provided by the Newbranders, 2) remove all personal items, 3) bring all of your linens to the laundry room for Lyn to wash, 4) turn in your house key, and 5) write your memories in the Newbrander guest book! Of course we will want to take one last picture!

Cost & Fees

  • What does the Homestay Fee include?

    The Homestay Fee is prorated at $35/night for a private room for stays under one month, or $50/night for married couples sharing their room. This fee includes a fully furnished private bedroom with towels, sheets, blankets and a pillow; a shared bathroom; access to laundry facilities, microwave, and refrigerator; internet access; and air conditioning from May 1 through September 30. 

    The monthly rate (payable on the first of the month) is: 

    $875 to $925 based on single occupancy, and depending on the size of the room.  Double occupancy is $1400 (married couple).  When you contact us, we will let you know which room or rooms are available.  

    Students share a common bathroom on the third floor.  Rooms are not shared unless by a married couple.  The third and fourth floor are off-limits to non-homestay students with the exception of Newbrander friends and family utilizing their non-student guest room.  

    Each student has a place to store personal food in both a cupboard and shared refrigerator.  A self-serve continental breakfast (cereal, toast, butter and jam, lunchmeat, coffee, tea) is provided. Students can easily pick up lunch or simple dinner ingredients--the supermarket is in walking distance to the Newbrander home.  There are many restaurants and cafes nearby to explore. Coffee and tea are always available to students.

    Twice a week, the entire homestay family will sit down together for a meal cooked by Lyn and for extended conversation and community. These are rich times together.

    The Newbranders frequently host student gatherings in their home on Friday evenings as part of their non-profit work with international students. All homestay students are invited to participate in those gatherings. If a meal is included with the gathering, homestay students who are participating in the entire evening are welcome to also join for the meal at no additional cost.   

    The Homestay Fee is all-inclusive. There are no additional taxes, utilities, or fees. The homestay is paid on the first of the month and other days are prorated. In the unlikely event of a guest breaking items or causing damage, the student is expected to replace the item or pay for repairs.

  • How can I pay for my homestay?

    Payment is prorated until the first of the month and then due promptly on the first of each month.  Prior to move-out (with a two-week advance notice), the fee will be prorated for partial months.

    Payments can be made in cash, a certified bank check, Zelle, or Venmo.

    Credit cards are not accepted.

    The deposit to secure your homestay is an application fee and covers administrative costs.  It is not a partial payment of the first month’s homestay fee.

  • I'm planning to be away during my stay. What happens then?

    Just as with any university housing or rental, room reservations are from move-in day to move-out day consecutively.  If you choose not to eat meals or not to sleep in your room, you will need to continue paying according to schedule. This policy applies during vacation periods.  Students who do not wish to pay for their rooms while they are gone on break must move out completely and store their belongings elsewhere.  The room will be made available to a new student.

  • Cancellations/Refunds

    Homestays are available on a first-come first-served basis. It is important to apply as early as possible. Once a student has occupied a homestay, there are no refunds for the first four-week session.


  • What will the food be like?

    Homestay students are usually surprised at how much they enjoy the meals that Lyn prepares.  She enjoys preparing dishes that reflect having lived in many cultures of the world, and students are happy with both the variety and freshness. She likes to cook!  We look forward to trying the food from your country.  Please note: While we are able to accommodate some allergies or restrictions, our food is not halal.

  • If I have restrictions on what I can eat, can I have a homestay?

    Almost always, yes. Simply state your needs on your Application and we will discuss it with you. For special requests, see the Guidelines for Accommodating Dietary Restrictions. Please note that we do not purchase halal meats. 

  • How can I eat my non-homestay meals?

    We will provide space to store your personal food for lunches and non-homestay dinners. You may also use the microwave to heat food when Lyn is not serving a family-style dinner. In addition, the Philadelphia area is full of delightful, inexpensive restaurants and food trucks of every variety designed for busy students. You may eat in one of the fabulous area restaurants or use a take-out service and enjoy your meal in our kitchen. No food is to be consumed in the bedrooms!