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 the UK. Our students come from all over the world to learn about the culture and the language in the UK. 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 Julie, one of our host mums in the UK, to find out more about what hosting brings to their family life, as well as to one of the students who recently spent the year with Julie and her family. This is what they had to say about their experience.
“Growing our family. We’ve always been sociable – we like to share our family. Family isn’t just blood – it’s who you choose to be. This experience enriches our lives and enriches the students’ lives. We’ve even had former students who we have hosted in the past turn up for surprise birthday parties!
There are times when things are stressful, but that’s just because the student is truly a part of the family. Our student is like a daughter to us.”
“Do it! – but do it the right way. Our first time hosting, we didn’t get it quite right. You need to set ground rules from day one. This will help the student to settle in better, avoid any awkwardness and will prevent you from getting frustrated further down the line! Communication is key. Enjoy hosting – it will enrich your family.”
“My host family have been brilliant – they are very cool! We do a lot together, such as salsa dancing, and we even went to a 1970s themed party together.
For New Year, my parents came over and we had dinner with my host family! This was a bit stressful at first because my parents don’t speak English, but they all got on really well.”
Stephanie is responsible for our programmes in the UK, working with our team of Local Support Coordinators to ensure that our students and host families have the best possible experience taking part in our programme.
We asked Stephanie: What inspired you to work with student exchange?
“Having been an exchange student myself here in Edinburgh, I know how exciting such an opportunity can be and also understand the challenges.”
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