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Staying with a Host Family in London

Aug 26, 2008
London is still one of the world's leading centres for international education and continues to attract hundreds of thousands of overseas students each year. All of them share a single problem: where to stay. Many universities and colleges offer halls of residence, but these can be expensive and may not always appeal, as they tie the student tightly to the place of study. Privately-rented accommodation is expensive. It may be located some distance away from the place of study and it may be necessary, in the interests of reducing costs, to share it with others.

However, there is another alternative which many students fail to consider - staying with an English host family. There are several companies in London who can provide quality homestay accommodation to visiting foreign students and meet the homestay requirements of English UK or the British Council. Some companies also offer a Meet and Greet service which can collect students from the arrival airport and deliver them to their accommodation.

Many students find that living in a good family environment leads to a faster improvement in the language and a happier stay. Host families are normally experienced in looking after overseas students. They are usually situated in residential areas of London, near to an underground or British Rail station, making the trip to university or college an easy one. Prices can vary, depending on distance from the city centre and standard of accommodation, but they always represent a significant saving over halls of residence or private accommodation.

Host families will generally go out of their way to make sure that students feel at home and are treated as a member of the family, rather than a paying guest. Students are normally offered a clean and comfortable room with study and storage facilities. Another advantage in homestay accommodation is significant savings in living expenses. Host families generally offer bed and breakfast or bed, breakfast and evening meal. Meals are normally eaten with the family unless otherwise arranged and special diets such as or halal or vegetarian can usually be catered for. Some families also offer self-catering or full board options.

If you're thinking of coming to London to study, homestay accommodation is worth considering and may turn out to be one of the highlights of your visit. Homestay accommodation isn't only for students. It is also attractive to business visitors and tourists, who find it a useful alternative to expensive hotel accommodation. For tourists in particular, it can give them genuine contact with real Londoners which can greatly enhance the quality of their stay.
About the Author
Peter Brown is a director of leading London homestay provider Hosts International which arranges accommodation for many universities and colleges. He is also Principal of London Graduate School of Management, a well-known UK business school.
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