When I was in Romania last year, I spent a couple nights in an appartment privately owned by an older couple. They had picked me up at the train station. A night cost me around 3 Euros. I slept in the living room, shared the bath room and got a great breakfast offered. This was a very special experience for me.
Homestays can be great, but then I've also known hosts who try to squeeze as much mmoney as they can out of guests
That is horrible W! Every cent we got from Homestay we spent on the guests! (and then some) They became like part of our family. All of the girls that stayed with us had no siblings and I think they really enjoyed finding out what a 'big family' feels like. And they all spoiled my youngest daughter...they loved to do her hair and pick out her clothes for her. They also loved the wide varity of pets we have. They still mention all those things when we call them.
Anyone who would take advantage of a guest should not be doing it!
What you describe as "homestay" sounds like "au pair" to me except that you are not taking care of children, and that you are not getting paid for it, rather the contrary...
Well it was part of the Nova Homestay program through the local university. The students could stay for 2 weeks, 4 weeks, etc..up to a year. The Nova program paid the "host" family 250 dollars every two weeks...but like with us...we spent it all on the students (ages from 7 to 70) we took them ALL over, out to eat, everything! They really were a part of the family while they were here. We are still in close contact with the 4 girls that stayed with us, and an uncle of one of them stayed with a family here...and we talk to him all the time. I loved it, my children loved it, and I think from the response from the girls that they really enjoyed themselves also!