Hosting an international student or traveller in your home is a great idea: you earn extra money, learn about new cultures, and make your home more lively.
At Host Family Stay we get many prospective hosts who are looking to start renting their room out and wanting to ensure their guest is happy with their stay and accommodation. Here are some tips on the things you can do to be an exceptional host.
Be a friend & treat them like family
When hosts open their homes up to visitors from abroad, they have a guest who will be with them for up to 12 months. Students usually expect a friendly, laid back atmosphere when applying to ‘Host Family Stay’. Small daily activities such as occasionally having lunch or dinner together and engaging in conversation will slowly break the ice between you and your guest, and make both of your lives easier, and in some cases creating great memories!
Most international guests will be new in your city, so don’t hesitate to give them advice and tips about life in London; what interesting things he/she can find and do in London, or certain attractions or places that would be better to avoid.
Set rules and expectations early on
To ensure you have a pleasant time together, it is very important to ensure that all parties understand what is expected of them when living in with you. We advise all our hosts to sit down with their guests and go over any specific rules or elements of your house and room. It’s also good to discuss any meal times; ask your guest if she/he has any preferences or allergies with food (if you opt in to provide a meal plan).
Make sure that rules on safety set are reasonable, and any notification system on staying out longer than usual or plans for travelling independently can be agreed on. You also should go over any rules on using the kitchen, if alcohol is allowed in the house, etc. to avoid any inconveniences or unnecessary problems.
Share your cultures
Many international guests are here not only for studying or working in the UK, but also to learn more about British culture. A good host family should tell more about their way of life in London as well as interesting facts about the city and its citizens. Don’t miss a chance to also learn a little about your student’s country and traditions. Having a student from abroad is a great opportunity for you and your family as well. You all can learn more about the world!
Learning another language has many benefits. All members in a host family can develop and expand analytical skills, and in some cases even improve their native language when comparing words in their guests' languages such as German or French. Learning a new language can be useful in all sorts of places, like business and when travelling. Students are usually keen to teach you their language, in exchange for lessons and chats in English. Host Family Stay suggest you take advantage of this wonderful chance!
You don’t have to be ‘perfect’
We understand your wish to be seen by your guest only in a ‘bright light’. That’s great! However, don’t let hosting a student stop you from being laid back and natural. It’s natural for kids to occasionally make a mess in the living room and be naughty or for the boiler to have a breakdown. Your guest will completely understand! ‘Host Family Stay’ knows that you are only human, so relax and remember that despite everything, your guest appreciates your efforts and understands everyday struggles, no matter where they are from.
What not to involve your guests in
Even if you are treating your guest as a part of the family, keep in mind that they are still a visitor. All families may have personal issues or arguments, which are not appropriate to involve others in. A host family should never pressure their guest into attending any family related events such as funerals , the occasional family get together and so on. They also should avoid having big arguments in front of their guests. Keep in mind that people (especially students) from abroad may already be stressed due to the cultural differences and missing their own friends and family.
Have fun and be successful in the future
If hosts and international guests get along very well, playing board games, having gatherings, etc., there is an opportunity to create long-lasting and exciting opportunities in the future. In some cases, hosts have been invited back to their countries for a weekend! Your guest may even leave a thank you on our website, which you can choose to show, increasing your chances of getting another Homestay request sooner.
Change the world
On top of the extra cash you earn by renting your spare room, you also deserve to have a rewarding sense from helping young people with their futures. Remember that you are playing a key role in a young person’s development and achieves of his/her career. Teach them if you can, anything you believe they could use, and help them with their English! When you host guests from abroad, you have the opportunity to change their world.
Interested in becoming a host? Sign up here!
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Published on 12th December 2017
Updated on 29th September 2020