Homestay Accommodation

The most popular choice for students coming to study at LanguageUK

Homestay Accommodation

Many of our students choose to stay with a homestay provider, experiencing life in a British home. Spending a little time every day with a host- especially during mealtimes- is a great way to practise your English and make the most of your time here. It is also a very economical option for accommodation, starting at just £21.00 per night for a standard option including breakfast and dinner. Our standard homestay is a popular choice for students. Our homestay providers are in various parts of Canterbury in residential areas either a walk or bus ride away.  We do not guarantee any students to be in walking distance from the school.

As part of a homestay you will be expected to fit in with British customs and culture.  There may be some elements of life that are not familiar to you, but this is all part of the experience! We can provide you with more information on how to help you adapt to the different surroundings at your homestay and to the cultural differences here in the UK.

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.

We try to match students with homestays providers and to find the right homestay for everyone. It is important to book early and to tell us about your requirements e.g. in the areas of diet, smoking, children, and pets.

Please note:

  • Most British people have pets – usually a cat or a dog
  • If you are in self-catering homestay you will not have so much opportunity to practise your English as you will not be sitting down for a meal with your host(s).
  • Students are sometimes required to house share with students of their own language in the summer. If we place you in the accommodation that already hosts a student of the same nationality, we will inform you in advance. You are welcome to cancel your booking if you are not happy with this option. However, this happens very rarely and only if there is no alternative accommodation available.
  • No more than 4 students will be accommodated in homestay accommodation at any one time.

The Accommodation Officer and members of staff are always here to help you and answer any questions you have about the homestay experience.

Frequently asked Questions about homestay

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, or anything in between.

You may feel awkward with your host family in the beginning.  You will be living in someone else’s house and will be suddenly thrown into someone else’s family dynamics.  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 state is known for – to give to your family when you arrive.  It will help you make a good first impression and help introduce your host family to the culture that you left back home.

Your host family does not just know the culture; they have lived it for their entire lives.  So, try to join their celebrations and traditions.  Ask them questions about the meaning and history behind these events and holidays, even ones that you celebrate back at home — Christmas looks different in every culture!  As you do this, you will begin to understand how their life in your host country works— and that is one of the coolest parts about studying abroad.

You should also take advantage of the fact that your family is locals– they can give you great advice on where to eat, how the public transportation system works, and what to do for fun around the city of Canterbury.

Conversing 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 with your slow speaking and will correct you in a nice way. You will find your language skills will improve super-fast if you practice with your host family often.

If you take advantage of all that a homestay offers, you can expect that your host family will become your 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 tastes that reflect our long history of immigration. 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 that at home.  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 provided.  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 & will usually consist of 2 courses.  The main course is meat, chicken, fish, eggs, vegetables, salad, etc.  The second course may be a full desert 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 of £25.00 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 at the early time of 17.30 to 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 when the best time is 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 U18 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 from £14.50 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, whether hosts prefer to be notified when your friends visit and the host’s smoking policy if applicable. 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.
Do exchange mobile phone numbers with your host on arrival so that you can contact each other when necessary.

Can I smoke in my room?
Not usually. Most homestay hosts prohibit smoking throughout the house. There are hosts who will permit smoking but please be aware this is often in an outdoor area such as 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 what they think is a reasonable time to come home. Most of our hosts are very relaxed about this. Students U18 have curfew times set Sunday to Thursday 10pm and Friday/Saturday 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. and 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.

There are three different types of homestay accommodation for you to choose from:

Standard homestay

This includes:

• A private bedroom (or sharing if you are applying with your family or as part of a group)
• Breakfast and evening meal
• Free wifi

Premier homestay

This includes:

• A private bedroom and private use of bathroom (or sharing if you are applying with your family or as part of a group)
• Breakfast and evening meal
• Free wifi

Self Catering homestay

This includes:

• A private bedroom
• Kitchen facilities for you to cook your own meals
• Free wifi

A selection of some of our hosts, their houses and their guests

Download The Homestay Handbook 2021/22

Do you have questions? Need more information?

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