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The definition of a homestay is:

An arrangement that provides accommodation for students or tourists in the home of a family in exchange for payment

Source: Oxford Learners Dictionary

Another phrase for homestay is ‘host family’. The two phrases mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably.

At Study Links, we take the role of selecting homestay families very seriously. We understand the effect a good homestay family can have on a student’s experience of living and studying in the UK. A good homestay family is crucial in terms of encouraging students to speak English, introducing them to the culture and giving them a ‘family’ in the UK.

Most of our homestay families are introduced to us personally by people we trust. Once we have been introduced to a family, we send them an application form which asks for information about the home and the people who live there

Upon receiving this form, if the family is deemed suitable, one of our homestay team will travel to visit the home. At the visit we check the house and ask all the necessary questions regarding safety.

We must receive two satisfactory references for the homestay, and we will complete police checks for everyone living in the home aged 16 years or older before sending any students to stay there. We are in regular contact with our homestays, so if someone’s circumstances change we can act accordingly.

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What role the homestay family plays

A homestay family’s role goes beyond just providing meals and safe accommodation during the periods when school closes. The relationships formed during this time can be very strong, and students often keep in touch with their homestay family long after they have returned to China, some have even invited their old homestay to their weddings many years later.

The homestay provides a safe environment for students to learn about the culture of the UK. The host family can introduce them to common British activities, such as BBQs in the summer, walks in the spring, and bonfires and Halloween in the autumn. Staying with a homestay family is a great opportunity for a student to experience a wide range of activities that they may not have at home or at school.

Over the course of daily life with their homestay, a student has the chance to improve their spoken English away from an academic arena. This provides a less pressured environment in which students may feel more comfortable making mistakes, and thus will be able to learn from them.

For the homestay family, the experience can be very rewarding. Through this role you can learn about different countries and cultures, and in return share your knowledge and experience of Britain and the British culture.

For students, living with a homestay provides an opportunity to experience home life in England and to practice English in a comfortable and natural environment. Students live as part of the family, sharing meals, chores and social activities.


Want to know more about homestay?

If you would like to know more about becoming a Study Links homestay, click here

If you are a student who would like to know more about what it is like to live with a Study Links homestay, click here

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