What will my Homestay be like?
The population of Britain is made up of people of all races, ethnicities, and religions, so you may be living with people who do not look like what you might imagine British people to be. Some homestay providers are not of English origin, but all speak English to high standard.
It is also possible that your homestay ‘family’ is not similar to typical families in your country: it may be made up of two parents with a number of children, or it may just be one person living alone, for example.
It may be strange to be with your host family in the beginning. You will be living in someone else’s house and will be suddenly experiencing a different life. Feeling comfortable in the house and with the family may take time, and that is okay. But a positive aspect about living with a host family is getting a big welcome to your study at LanguageUK.
Homestay tip: Bring a gift – something from your hometown or your country – to give to your family when you arrive. It will help you make a good first impression and help introduce your host family to your culture.
Try to join your host family’s celebrations and traditions. Ask them questions about the meaning and history behind these events and holidays, even the ones that you have in common — as you do this, you will begin to understand how life in your host country works, which is fascinating!
You should also ask your host family about advice on where to eat, how the public transportation system works, and what to do for fun around the city of Canterbury.
Socialising with your family is also a great way to work on your language skills, so try to speak with them! Most host families will be patient and will correct you in a useful way. You will find your language skills will improve really fast if you practise with your host family often.
If you take advantage of all that a homestay offers, you will probably keep your host family as lifelong friends.
What do the hosts provide?
All hosts will provide:
- a private, comfortable bedroom (shared on request, for families or students in a group)
- two meals per day, (breakfast and dinner)
- space for your clothes
- a place to study
- appropriate washing facilities and bathroom access
- free Wi-Fi internet access
What will I have in my room?
A bed with bedding, some hanging or drawer space for your clothes, usually a desk or table, adequate lighting, and a chair. In bigger rooms there may be more furniture
What will the food be like?
Your host will provide breakfast and dinner for the week. Britain is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic community, and our people have different tastes. As well as traditional ‘British’ food, you are likely to be offered Italian, Indian, Chinese, and many other different styles of cuisine.
After a long day, nothing is more comforting than coming home to a home-cooked meal – just like at home!
What kind of food will I eat?
You will probably find the food provided by your host quite different from yours. Please remember that trying different food is part of the experience of living abroad.
Breakfast – your host may prepare your breakfast but if she/he works, you will be expected to make it yourself from food the host has bought. You will be shown where everything is kept in the kitchen. Breakfast in England usually consists of cereal, toast, butter, jam, tea, coffee, fruit juice.
Dinner – this will be prepared by the homestay host and will usually consist of 2 courses. The main course is meat, chicken, fish, eggs, vegetables, salad, etc. The second course may be a full dessert or just yoghurt or fruit.
Tea & coffee – you will be able to make hot drinks during the day. You should not take extra food without your host’s permission.
Unusual diets – some of our hosts can cater for vegetarians, vegans, lactose free and gluten free diets. However, the number of these hosts is limited so you will need to book your homestay accommodation well in advance
Some hosts can provide meals for students with special diets such as Halal, celiac, dairy free (lactose intolerant), vegan, nut allergy – there is an additional cost for this per week.
Will I sit and eat with my host?
We ask our hosts to sit and eat with our students for most days of the week. If you want to sit and eat with your host, you must agree to eat at the same time as the host. Many hosts in the UK will eat their dinner between 17.30 and 19.00.
What are my responsibilities to the Homestay provider?
- Tidying your bedroom so it can be cleaned.
- Arranging your laundry ready for washing or washing it yourself if you prefer. Drying and ironing your laundry.
- Cleaning the bathroom after you have used it.
- Tidying away any belongings you have left around the house.
- Clearing away any food or snacks that you prepare.
From time to time your host might ask you to take part in other domestic tasks, and this should be viewed as an opportunity to experience everyday life in the UK.
Please do not expect the host to do all your cleaning and tidying.
Do hosts have pets?
It is worth noting that many of our hosts (although not all) have cats and/or dogs at home- it is very common to have pets here in England.
How often can I have a shower?
Everyone in the family needs to use the bathroom and there is often only one bathroom in the home, you will need to ask your host for the best time to have your bath or shower.
How can I wash my clothes?
Your homestay host will either wash your clothes with the household washing or will allow you to use the washing machine. There will be somewhere for you to do hand washing. You will be shown where to hang your clothes to dry. You will have to do your own ironing.
Can I watch television?
You will usually be able to watch television in the sitting room with your homestay host(s). A few hosts also provide a television in the student’s room.
Will I be able to use the internet?
All our homestay hosts provide broadband internet access in their home.
Please be considerate in your usage of the host’s internet connection – you should check with your host before downloading large files or communicating with friends and family at home (e.g. via Skype, WhatsApp) late at night. Calls can be made usually up to 10 p.m.
Remember that there is Wireless Internet (Wi-Fi) access throughout our school building which is free for all students.
Will I be provided with a key?
Your family will give you a key for the house. You must take very good care of it and you cannot give it to someone else or copy it. If you lose it, tell the family immediately. You might have to pay for a new one. Please note if you are under 18 you will not be provided with a key.
Can I have friends to visit?
Please ask your family for permission to have visits from friends, they will probably say ‘yes’ but please do not allow friends to stay longer than your family has agreed, especially no overnight stays
How will I travel to and from school each day?
You will be given directions by your host family and a map from LanguageUK. Most of our homestay providers are a bus ride away. You can buy a mega rider on the app.
We do have some homestay providers who are a walk away but please note in our busy times these are booked well in advance.
Do I need to be aware of any house rules?
As a guest in the homestay home, you should be respectful of their rules and routines. It is recommended that you ask for details on any family curfews, any possible visits from your friends and any smoking policy the host may have. If you expect to return home later than normal or if there is any change to your routine, always inform your host. Let your host know if you expect to be away for a night or weekend.
Please exchange mobile phone numbers with your host as soon as you arrive, so that you can contact each other when necessary.
Can I smoke in my room?
Not usually. Most homestay hosts prohibit smoking in the house. There are hosts who will permit smoking but please be aware this is often outside (e.g. in the garden).
What happens at the weekend?
Many students spend time visiting friends, going shopping or sightseeing. Of course, LanguageUK often arranges social activities such as sightseeing, beach games, boat rides and nature walks so you will always have something of interest to do and the opportunity to continue improving your English language skills.
Do I have to be home at a certain time in the evening?
Students over the age of 18 can go out when they want to and will be given a house key- but it is a good idea to speak to your host about the right time to come home. Most of our hosts are very relaxed about this. Students under 18 have curfew times set: they must be home Sunday to Thursday by 10pm and Friday/Saturday by 10.30pm.
Can I contact the homestay host before arrival?
Yes, we recommend it. When you are allocated to a host family, you will be given some basic background information for them and their contact details. It is a good idea to write or email them before you arrive to introduce yourself. This is an opportunity to get to know your host a little in advance – you could tell them where you are from, what hobbies or activities you like to do, and what you are looking forward to about staying in Canterbury.
How do we choose our host families?
All our host families are carefully selected by our specialist staff and go through a rigorous application process to become a provider with LanguageUK. This includes police checking for all family members over the age of 16. While each family is different, they share a genuine desire to welcome students into their homes and their lives. The UK has a rich history and is very proud of its cultural diversity. We do not discriminate and welcome all home stays that fit our basic criteria.
- Genuine desire to welcome students into their home
- A clean and comfortable home
- Speak English to native standard
Can I change my accommodation?
If you are unhappy with your host, we will try to find a solution for you. This might be discussing the problem with you and your host first to see if this will change the way you feel. Is usually takes a few days for a student and a host to feel comfortable with each other. We understand that for some students the change of environment and culture can be a challenge and we will try to support you.
If we feel that it is necessary to change your host, an alternative will be found.