Sanda Billeting Info
What are the key expectations of Host Families?
Billeting provides a unique opportunity for our visitors to immerse themselves in a typical Australian family experience and host families provide a “home away from home” for their guests. In practical terms, the key expectations of host families include:
– transporting billets to the correct locations at the correct times (this will mostly be to and from Cliff Oval or other local areas);
– ensuring players are organised and have the correct gear each day;
– providing all meals not organised as part of the itinerary;
– providing packed lunches on certain days, and
– doing the visitors’ laundry each day.
How many billets will be placed with my family?
This will be decided in consultation with host families. Typically you will host two billets, however, in the past we have had four (and, in at least one case, five!) staying with one host family. If an entire family travels out together (Mum, Dad and children), they may be split across two host families. It really depends on the host family’s space constraints, ability to transport their guests and accommodate the guests within their own family routines.
What does the itinerary look like?
The weekends will be filled with rugby but during the week, while the Australian children attend school, there is an extraordinarily full schedule of excursions arranged to give the touring party some insight into Australian history, culture, wildlife and scenery. Past tours have included visits to:
– The Blue Mountains
– Jenolan Caves
– Sydney Harbour
– Tobruk Farm (sheep station experience)
– Central Coast (dolphin watching and sand boarding)
– local zoos / animal parks
– Northern Beaches
– Bledisloe Cup match
Am I required to accompany billets on day trips and tours?
Host families will generally accompany their billets to the weekend rugby program and official parties (Welcome Party and Farewell Party). However, during the week, when parents are working and children are at school, the billets will be fully occupied with their program of sightseeing events and experiences. Host families do not generally do these tours with their billets. For example, the billets may spend a day visiting Port Stephens to do a dolphin cruise and sand boarding. The host family will deliver their billets to Cliff Oval at the designated time (e.g. 7.30am), where the billets board a coach and depart for their trip. At the end of the day, the host family will collect their billets from Cliff Oval, again at the pre-determined time (e.g. 5.00pm). The itinerary will be available to all host families once it is finalised.
What does the tour schedule look like?
The weekends mostly involve rugby at Cliff Oval. The weekdays are filled with sightseeing and tours. Billets will take an overnight tour to Jenolan Caves and The Blue Mountains. Some evenings will be busy with social events (Welcome Party, Farewell Party, Coaches’ Party, Parents’ Party…..) but there will be a number of free afternoons and evenings when billets will be able to enjoy spending time with their host families. How this time is filled is up to the host family. It need not involve additional sightseeing. In fact, our visitors look forward to being involved in the everyday routines of their family. You might like to organise a picnic with another host family, or take your visitors shopping, or have a BBQ at home. It’s up to you.
Are there additional expenses for the host family?
Not really. Host families obviously supply meals and packed lunches not provided for in the itinerary. But all tours and program expenses are paid for by the tourers as part of their tour costs. If you decide to take your billets on an outing during their free time, you would normally pay any costs for them. The visiting children will each have a modest amount of spending money, which they like to put towards souvenirs and gifts for their families back home.
Will our billets speak English?
Many Japanese are able to understand some English as at some time they learn it at school or university. However, conversational English may be limited. There are many Apps that can help with translating English to Japanese and vice versa, and you’ll find one of these very helpful. You’ll be amazed how much communication can take place, even with limited shared language skills! It would be a nice gesture to try and learn a few everyday Japanese words – the Japanese really appreciate our efforts to do so!
Will the billets need their own bedroom?
Ideally, host families will be able to provide billets with their own space, be it a bedroom, or another area of the house that can be used by your visitors during their stay. Billets won’t mind temporary bedding arrangements, provided they are comfortable and have some privacy.
Will billets be happy to eat typical Australian food?
Try it and see! When I visited Japan in 2013, my host mother eased us in to Japanese food. Our first breakfast was actually very Western (bacon and eggs), but once our mother realised we were keen to try their food, she was very excited to offer us all sorts of typical Japanese fare. Experiencing new foods was actually a special part of the experience for us. However, it might be a good idea to have some standby food (e.g. rice or noodles) just in case your billets are not overly adventurous when it comes to eating. In their questionnaires, billets are asked to nominate their favourite foods, and foods they don’t enjoy. You can also ask them beforehand via email if you like to be prepared!
I know that gift giving is customary in Japan. What does this mean for the host family?
Gifts are a very important element of Japanese culture and etiquette. Host families will normally give personal gifts to their guests, and often for the immediate family members back home in Japan. In addition to these personal gifts, the Club will organise its own gifts for our visitors.
For more information, please contact the tour convenor Elana Massey on email@example.com