Use of facilities
Bathroom and Toilet
You will have free access to the bathroom in the same way as the family, but you may have to work out a rota for baths and showers so it is convenient for everyone in the household to use the facility depending to their routine for the day. You will be able to have a daily bath or shower, generally once a day. Some more traditional homes still only have baths; if you require a shower in particular, you should mention it at the time of your booking. It is generally acceptable to bath/shower between 10 and 15 minutes; although a longer bath/shower for more than 15 minutes is possible occasionally.
You are expected to leave the bathroom clean and tidy after use. If you are unsure how to use all facilities, please do not be embarrassed to ask the family as they understand that you may be shy or lacking in vocabulary, in which case please feel free to write it down to gain a proper understanding of how to use the electric shower or mention any personal hygiene issues.
You will have free access to the bathroom in the same way as the family, but you may have to work out a rota for baths and showers so it is convenient for everyone in the household to wash to their routine for the day. You will be able to have a daily bath or shower, generally once a day. Some homes, from old English days, still only have baths; if you require a shower in particular, you should mention it at time of your booking. It is generally acceptable to bath/shower between 10 and 15 minutes; although a longer bath/shower for more than 15 minutes is possible occasionally.
You are expected to leave the bathroom clean and tidy after use. If you are unsure how to use all facilities, please do not be embarrassed to ask the family as they understand that often you are too shy or too lacking in vocabulary to ask, so please feel free to write it down and gain a proper understanding of how to use the electric shower; or any personal hygiene issues.
Heating and Hot water
Adequate heating will be provided in the student’s room at no extra cost. It is normal for most family homes to turn off the heating at nights (as heating is bad for the respiratory system of the body) and during summer periods (May to early September) so if you are cold, ask the family for more sheets or a blanket. Remember it may be warm for the family, but you may still be cold and it is important you tell them. For hot water, some homes still run off a timer, so ask the family about the hot water arrangements and timings. It is important that you understand the system of the boiler/hot water so that you do not feel unhappy. Families may not permit use of the kitchen/electrical equipment for safety reasons, so please ask!
Adult students are given a front door key, and freedom to come and go as they please. Sometimes, you need to ask the family for a key as they may take a few days to get to know you before giving you a set of their house keys. You are reminded that you are staying in a family home and that you should not expect a lock on your bedroom door as it may be offensive to the family, but tell them if you wish to. Junior students (under 18) may or may not be provided with your own key, this depends on the family.
When you leave the house or your room, it is important that you switch off lights, water and close the front door and respect the family home and facilities at all times.
If there are any problems in this, please talk to the school.
Although, many home now have Internet use, it is still not common for many host families to offer Internet to students. If you require internet facilities or wish to bring your laptop and wish to plug it into the families facility, you must specify this at time of booking, understanding that this may not always be available.
Conversation is an important part of your learning process and the family may provide you with help and encouragement, but it is up to you to try! You are here to improve your English so please make the best efforts you can; families understand that sometimes you may be frustrated, embarrassed or just shy, but sometimes they may be the same!
If you stay in your room, the family will not disturb you as they understand that you wish to be alone or stay in private, so please do not mis-interpret this as if the family does not want to talk to you.
En suite bathroom
Generally you will share a bathroom with the family and it is not common to have your own bathroom. Private bathroom facilities may be available in our superior or executive range but please specify at time of booking, understanding that it may not always be available.
You can chose independent host family or a family home, please request this at time of booking.
Home stays are by far, the most popular choice amongst overseas students visiting London. Students choose this form of accommodation for the sake of home comforts, a family atmosphere, and a chance to practice their English and generally learn about British way of life. You are not simply renting a room, but can expect to be treated as one of the family. However, student’s expectations will vary and families may vary from a single host mother, to a retired couple, to a family with pets and kids!
It is important to understand that British home stays are primarily English families but families of African origin, Asian origin or Oriental origin are common in London as they are all British and made their homes and lives in England many years ago and therefore, make very good homes.
For many of you this may be the first time away from home. Your backgrounds will vary and you will have very different ideas of home life. Homestay families will try to anticipate problems and give you a friendly welcome and introduce all the members of the household to you as soon as possible after your arrival; it is important that you introduce yourself too.
You may be uncertain of the domestic arrangements. Every family has its own domestic routine. To make you feel at home and join the family routine, families often explain the ground rules or give you a written sheet to ensure that these have become clear to you.
Airport transfer service
For most students, coming to London is a first time experience away from home and Hosts International therefore offers a full range of transport services for individuals and groups. All our transport is in modern, comfortable, clean and fully insured vehicles with competent drivers who are sensitive to the welfare needs of overseas students.
- DBS drivers
- Fully licenced
- No waiting time
- 24 hour emg line
Choosing the Homestay option: location and considerations
Before making the choice of location for your visit please think carefully about the time and cost involved in getting there. Also think about what your requirements are and which area of London you would like to stay in. Usually Hosts International chooses and introduces a good family for you to meet the requirements that you put on the application form. Please remember that London is a large city therefore coming to study in this Capital means accepting to travel as part of your daily life. In this city most people use public transport and it is quite normal to travel for up to 40 minutes from your home to the school. We always try to accommodate you keeping into consideration the distance from your school and the convenience but also the family, their hospitality and the type of accommodation which is as important.
Some of you may not be accustomed to tidying your own clothes or making your own beds. Some families may do this for you, but you must now do these jobs for yourself so that the family can clean the room properly. Remember the family home is not a hotel! You will be given a laundry bag where you can leave your clothes to be washed once a week. The family may clean your room while you are at school, so although you are in a trusting family home, it is common sense to store all your valuables securely (or locked) for your own comfort.
Culture shock and homesickness
Many students suffer from feelings of alienation, culture shock and homesickness. Culture shock is caused when you adapt to a new environment, when you are surrounded by a different culture where everything (including the language) is new. This can be confusing so you may go through changes of mood and attitude before coming to terms with your new environment. Common feelings of culture shock may be rejection and withdrawal so it is important that you try and be open minded and try to adjust and adapt before making any rash decision or being unhappy.
You may, if your English is very elementary; interpret certain British traits (such as a reluctance to speak to strangers); or respect for privacy if you sit in your room – as unfriendliness.
Many of you are initially very excited and positive about the new culture. But as the reality of deeper cultural differences sinks in, these excited feelings wears away. You may then start to miss friends, family and places as then begin to have doubts about yourself and your new environment failure to adjust can bring serious problems for you and you may experience insecurity, depression, confusion, withdrawal and tiredness to anxiety, irritability, rejection and anger.
In such a case, you must never be too shy to talk to the family to overcome this initial problem. Talking about your family, showing photos, or mingling with the family may help. Families may often be busy, but you must try to talk to them at meal times or when they are available.
Differences in Culture
Differences in culture can cause misunderstandings for homestay providers as well as you, the student. Families can feel offended when things are said in the wrong way and so can you. Families expect you to use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. These are common politeness in England, but different cultures express it may be not so. In many cultures requests are expressed much more directly than British people are used to.
For example: A student who says, “give me the salt” at the dinner table may not be disrespectful to you, but the family may consider it impolite. The tone of voice, which can also vary from culture to culture and often your way of saying things and the family’s way of saying things, may be mis-interpreted due to lack of language usage/understanding.
Some of you may be shocked to find that household pets have access to most areas of the house including the kitchen in England, but pets are part of the family in most homes in England.
Students’ beliefs are respected and received with an open mind, but you must be discrete in the family home and adapt to the cultures of the family/environment/country. If you wish to practice your religion, do it quietly, discreetly, as religion is personal and must not be made public. It is important to respect the family’s views on religion that may be anything from openness to non-existent.
You may find attitudes to men, women and relationships very different from what you are used to. Some of you may not be used to public displays of affection between couples and even a friendly hug or kiss. Men from some cultures may have problems accepting authority from females, as it is highly unusual in your own country. In England, men and women are treated as equal and it is commonplace to show affection for one another in form of a friendly hug/kiss, although there are limits to this. Families may display some affection to the student which may be ‘normal’, but some affection may be completed inappropriate, in which case you must immediately consult your school.
Some of you would like to be able to bring friends home but first, you should make clear the arrangements with the family as to when and where guests may be entertained and whether you should ask the family each time, noise after 10 pm, entertaining guests of the opposite sex, etc.