Hosting an international student will enrich your life in so many ways. You will be a key part of the experience for a student who has come to live and study in Ireland. Our students come from all over the world to learn about the culture and the language in Ireland. They live with a host family, go to school, and integrate into the local community.
International exchange is a great investment in the future for a young person. We’re passionate about providing young people with this opportunity, and we are really grateful for the amazing contribution our host families make to our programme.
By becoming a host family, you will make a real difference to the experience of the international students who stay with you. The aim of our programme is to increase intercultural understanding between the young people of the world, and thereby reduce the risk of future conflict. Hosting an international student is a great way to contribute to this.
Hosting an international student can also be a great opportunity to teach younger children about the world – and for families with teenagers, hosting can be a great, rewarding opportunity to make international friends, practice language skills and learn about other cultures.
We just love it! It’s great to meet these young people and see how they grow. It’s really interesting as well to learn about their culture – the things that are different here from what they’re used to.
My kids absolutely adore Aldo, he became their big brother and that is something that will never go away.
It’s a two-way street – now our kids also understand other cultures, accents and foods! We get as much out of this as a family as the students do. Just watching the relationship develop between our student and our children is a lovely thing.
We love hosting students, they are excellent role models for my children as so polite and studious and helpful
The students are great company, and it’s fun to learn about other cultures.
It brings vibrancy to the house. Somebody new comes in and you get to know them and their ways. Our family looks forward to it every year, and it’s interesting to see how different groups work within the family – it adds a new dimension.
Every host family is different, just like every student is different. The most important thing is that you provide a warm and welcoming home and family for one of our students, and that you will welcome your student into your home and treat them as a member of your family.
You’ll need to be able to offer a suitable bedroom with adequate space, including room for the student to store their belongings. They’ll also need a quiet place to study, and will take part in your meals as part of your family. You should treat the student like another member of your family, so as well as the physical requirements of your home, you should also be supportive, caring and encouraging to the student that you host.
Most of our students arrive at the end of August or the start of September, or in January. Usually, students stay for between a school term and a full school year. So you could choose to host a student for a term, a semester or a full school year or for a short term immersion programme.
You will receive monetary compensation for hosting a student, in order to help you with the costs of having an extra family member. However, this should not be viewed as an extra source of income. You’ll receive further information on this during the application process.
You will have a Local Support Coordinator in your area who is there to support both you and your student throughout the programme, and you are always welcome to contact them for help and advice. We also have a support team at Head Office who can help. In case of emergency, we have an emergency phone which is manned 24/7 by a member of the Head Office team.
When a student first arrives, it can be natural for both the host family and the student to take a little while to settle into the new dynamic. Good, clear communication is key here – and the vast majority of our host families go on to form strong and long-lasting bonds with their students. If you do have any problems, your LSC will help you to solve these.
We place students all across the country, and we’re always interested in placing students in new areas! If you’re not sure if your area would be suitable, please get in touch with us to check.
We spoke to Liz, who has been hosting with InterStudies for nearly twelve years! This is what Liz had to say about her family’s experience.
“Well, I love hosting girls, because I have four boys myself! Overall, I’ve been really lucky with the students I’ve hosted – some of them have even remained in contact four or five years later.
We got on so well with one of the first girls that we hosted – it was such a success, and I think because of that we carried on hosting. We got on really well with her parents too and even went to visit her family in Vienna! It’s not exactly the same as that with all our students, but that’s because each student is different.”
“It brings vibrancy to the house. Somebody new comes in and you get to know them and their ways. Our family looks forward to it every year, and it’s interesting to see how different groups work within the family – it adds a new dimension.
It’s interesting to see all the different cultures, and observe how the Belgians are different from the Germans who are different from the Italians… And I always say to the students that the more they put in to the year, the more they’ll get out of it.”
“Keep an open mind. At the end of the day, these students aren’t your children, but you need to treat them like they are a member of your family, not a guest. Make sure that from the beginning you see them as a family member – that’ll help to break the ice.
Sometimes it can be easy for your student to stay in their room – so make sure you invite them out and give them the option to take part in family activities. For example, it was my mum’s golden wedding anniversary recently, and my students helped to prepare the decorations and even made cupcakes – and then they came with us to the event!
Hosting is definitely well worth trying. Not every student is the same, and not every experience is the same. You’re not in it for the money – you’re in it for the experience. (And for me, it’s nice to have some girls around rather than just a house full of boys!)
Be relaxed, but set your house rules – and pick your battles!”
Petra is out admissions manager – working with the students who join our programme before they arrive in Ireland.
We asked Petra: what’s the best part of the job?
“Reading the students’ application forms. I really enjoy seeing the new students and reading their application forms and why they decided to join and to be part of this great experience we offer.”
If you would like to know more about hosting with InterStudies, please fill in the enquiry form. We will respond with further information and put you in touch with one of our Local Support Coordinators, who will be able to tell you much more about every aspect of becoming a host family.
I’m very glad that I have my host family! I am looking forward spending the following year with them.
My host family is lovely and I feel all their love through the little things they do for me for make me feel at home.
My host family is very nice and I feel welcome
My host family is really kind, reassuring and cool!
I couldn’t have asked for a better host family. I feel very welcomed and I can be myself and “at home”. I love it so far!
My host mom is very lovely and cares a lot about me