Many people don’t realise the many advantages of becoming a host family. The UK attracts thousands of international students, many of which desire a homestay experience over traditional halls of residence. Many young people travel to London looking for a home away from home and an opportunity to learn more about the British culture and way of life. Offering your home to a foreign student is not only rewarding, it has benefits for both parties.
We’ve been offering homestay accommodation for over a decade, and hosts often share their positive experiences with us. We’ve heard about many benefits hosts have encountered over the years – here are just a few.
Meet friends for life
When you have a spare bedroom or two, you can choose to rent it out in a number of ways. You’ll always meet new people, but by hosting an overseas student you’ll have a good chance of making a friend for life. You’ll be their first point of contact in this strange new country, and you’ll be there to guide them through their student journey. Your guest might even rely on you for meals too, so you can bond over the global appreciation of food. You’ll probably spend a lot of time together which is how hosts and guests form lasting relationships.
If you, or your children, are interested in experiencing other cultures at the same time as making new friends, then becoming a host family is a great way to do this without leaving your front door.
Earn extra money
Many hosts tell us the first reason for choosing to become a host family is usually to earn an extra income from their home – however over time, other benefits become more important. Whether you are just exploring options for your spare room or already know what you want to do, opening up your home to paying guests can be quite a big decision. Host families are paid well for welcoming foreign students into their homes, cash which can help to pay the mortgage or be used for saving up for holidays.
The Rent a Room Scheme, which applies to Host Families taking in international students, lets you earn up to a threshold of £7,500 per year tax–free from letting out furnished accommodation in your home. This was recently increased from £4,250 as the government has tried to encourage more people to open up their homes and benefit from the so called “sharing economy”. The tax exemption is automatic if you earn less than the £7,500 threshold.
Have a new purpose
Sometimes you reach a time in your life when you feel somewhat “not needed” anymore. Perhaps the kids have all moved out, you retired from your career or you’ve experienced a personal loss. Hosting an international student can give you a new purpose, as well as give the spare room a purpose too! You’ll have someone who is independent but could need your advice from time to time, and by helping them settle into their new life you’ll feel like you’ve done a good job.
The more students you host, they more friends you’ll have from all around the world! This means that your guests may wish to return the favour and invite you into their family home. Many of our hosts stay in contact with their guests for years and years, opening up opportunities to travel the globe and experience new cultures.
Interested in becoming a host? Find out how it works.