“It’s nice company and a chance to learn about other cultures, including their cuisines and habits. One student came from the Maldives – before that, I didn’t even know where it was on the map.”
For the students too, it’s a chance to learn about New Zealand culture.
“We have a rule in my house where after every meal we play a game of cards, and the losers do the dishes. This has been quite new to some students – I explain to them that in New Zealand, we all take turns to cook and do the dishes.”
One day, a Saudi student brought six of his friends home, to try cooking in Faye’s kitchen.
“They had asked their mothers for recipe suggestions – none of them knew what they were doing but they had the time of their lives!”
In June last year, Faye wanted to bring her students together again to celebrate her 70th birthday. About 30 of her former homestay students turned up, many who had come from across NZ and around the world to surprise her.
“It was great to have a day with them, and a nice chance to connect them with my own kids.
“I saw one of my sons once introduce two of my former Chinese students as “my brothers” – I asked him why he did that, and he said anyone who lives in my home, with my mum, is my brother.”
“That’s what I love – the extended family I’ve gained.”