Families with a spare room having had their children leave home for university or careers in a different part of the country often miss the vibrancy of having youngsters in their lives.
So too, families with children still at home who like the company of young people and would welcome an overseas student into their home to add to the dynamic of their family life. It is also a positive opportunity for families with one child who want to create sibling style experiences for their only child.
Hosting an overseas student attending a Day School can have many benefits not least the ability to learn about a different culture and to have that child’s experience impact on the lives of everyone in the family. Horizons are broadened and in many cases the relationship between the student and the family continues for many years after the student has left. Holidays in the former student’s country and continued connections go on for many years when firm friendships have been made.
Host families take an international student into their home during term time and that student lives with the family taking part in British family life for the duration of the academic year. They are expected to go home for the long holidays and for half terms unless otherwise agreed. The student can learn about British culture and to get involved with normal family activities from playing games together to going to the cinema or park for some relaxation. The student can also teach the family about their customs and way of life and can sometimes be found in the kitchen helping to prepare their traditional dishes. Students are expected to keep their rooms tidy and to play their part in helping with family chores such as washing up and laundry. Encouraging students to practice their English is also important!
The primary role of a host family is to offer a welcoming and supportive home environment for the student and to ensure they are treated in the same manner as other members of the family in terms of rules and expected behaviour. The hosts provide a safe environment for their student with a room offering space for them to study. The family will also play a role in liaising with the school on normal parental matters.
There is also the opportunity to have an international student, who is attending a boarding school, stay as part of the family on an occasional basis. Education Guardians provide accommodation for students, whose parents live overseas, during their occasional weekend ‘exeat’ breaks (usually 2 per term) and half term holidays if they are not flying home.
The motivation for doing this is primarily to get to know and support an international student with the chance to have a positive input into their lives and share your British home with them.
The Guardian agency will handle all the arrangements with the student’s family and will be responsible for ensuring the host family is fully security checked prior to agreeing to the arrangement. They will also act as a liaison with the host family and the school, to provide help where required and to deal with any issues arising. They will be in touch on a regular basis to ensure the both student and host family are happy with the arrangement. Families are reimbursed for the student’s accommodation together with any agreed additional costs.
Gabbitas has been involved in placing students into host families for over 100 years and so have much experience in this field. They provide Day School hosting and a full range of Guardianship services.
If you are interested in becoming a host family or guardian please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Gabbitas operate on a national basis throughout England and are happy to receive applications from all geographical areas.