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Host Family Accommodation For English Language Students In The UK

Nov 24, 2007
Host family accommodation can be an integral component to the studies of international students. Not only does the host family provide a home environment with the opportunity for privacy or integration but also potentially provides emotional support and friendship. Reputable schools select their host families carefully and they are regularly inspected to make sure that high standards are maintained, conforming to specifications of various accrediting bodies.

The homes that have been selected have diverse conditions and a 'host family' could be a single person or a couple, that are retired, or where one or both are working. It could be with or without young, teenage or adult children or pets. The hosts can be any age - early 20's to middle aged or older. When students book their accommodation, they can request certain conditions, which schools take into account when allocating a host family. The student may have allergies, religious reasons or have personal likes and dislikes and request a home with no cats; no dogs; no young children, television in the bedroom, wireless Internet, a special diet. Furthermore they may request a home with grown up children; other students in the home, or to be the only student in the home. During the busy summer period, meeting these requests is likely to be more difficult and not guaranteed so students are advised to book the course and accommodation as early as possible.

The board can vary and many schools offer either standard or Executive (ensuite) host family accommodation, single occupancy or sharing, and students may be able to choose full or part-board, bed & breakfast or self catering. Students should expect the following conditions:

- a single room (or a double or twin as requested)
- a study table or desk
- hanging space and drawer space for clothes
- heating, when necessary and lighting
- shared use of a shower or bath daily (Executive rooms have their own private bathrooms)
- clean bed linen each week
- a clean home in good condition
- laundry facilities

Schools are careful not to put 2 students of the same language together in the homes that accommodate 2 or more students. If, when the student has arrived, he requests to change families, most schools will arrange for them to visit alternative families so they can make their own selection. Some schools charge for this service and may insist on a period of notice (unless there are exceptional circumstances). Accommodation placements are normally done by experienced personnel, who would take into account student nationality, age, gender, length of stay, as well as the students likes and dislikes, and so on when booking the student with an appropriate host family.

Host families enjoy hosting international students, as not only does it provide an additional income but it also brings diversity to their lives, increasing an interest in cultures, travel and language learning. Host families tell of friends they have secured for life and students tell of the wonderful experience they have had with their British families and of course how it helped with their language and fluency.
About the Author
Ian Gault is the Executive Director of BBSI one of the most highly-accredited private education, training institutions and English language schools in the UK.
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