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Understanding homestay ground rules

That’s it, your homestay is booked. Your school or company is sending you to London to stay with a British family. You’re extremely excited (understandably-so) and know that you’re going to get a lot out of this experience. Your host is one handpicked from HFS London so you KNOW they’re going to be fantastic too.

You are right to assume the above. It will be a thoroughly enriching experience. Every one of our hosts are unique in their own way and their homestay will aim to cater to your needs. But one thing to bear in mind is that it is their home and they may have their own rules. We at HFS London have compiled a quick list of common and justifiable homestay rules. If this were your home, what rules would you have?

8 Popular House Rules:

  • “Please try to get home before …”

Midnight? 20:00? It depends, some hosts don’t set a curfew. But most of our hosts would love to eat dinner with you or to help you with your studies after school. If you’re too tired for this, or have other plans, that is also completely reasonable. But be mindful if you are planning an evening out with friends. The host will want their fare share of shut-eye and it won’t go down well if this is disturbed. The best thing to do is to ensure you let the host know that you will be home slightly later than usual.

  • “Don’t leave your hair irons on the floor”

It is easy to forget but commonly done. Not only is it a fire hazard, but you are also at risk of damaging the host’s property. Remember to turn them off!

  • “Please use the garden when you want to smoke”

Smoking affects others. You are entitled to do it but make sure you don’t upset your homestay host by smoking in the bedroom. The host will usually designate an area for you to smoke.

  • “Don’t open accounts or have post directed to my address”

Hosts are usually very willing to help their student set up their life in London. From time to time your host might even help you set up your own bank account. If you want to do it yourself, just make sure you ask first.

  • “Clean up after yourself”

Some homes will be spotless, not a spec of dust in sight. Others may have kids toys hanging from the kitchen chairs. No host, however, wants kitchen plates piled to the ceiling or tesco bags full of rubbish occupying the space under the bed.

  • “Don’t spend 5 hours in the bath”

Firstly, you will get wrinkles on your fingers like you’ve never seen before. Secondly, and most importantly, if the bathroom is shared it will need to be used by the other residents of the home. If you’re home alone and feel like sneaking in a long bath, be mindful of how much water you use. It’s wise to ask your host first (and make sure Mother Earth is okay with it too!).

  • “Let me know if you want to invite a friend”

There’s nothing scarier than coming home from work to see an unknown face helping themselves to the milk in the fridge. Most hosts prohibit allowing friends over past a certain time. Some prefer not to have anyone else in the house at all so make sure you ask first.

  • “Give my housekeys back!”

That spare key that your host has lent you for the duration of your stay is not going to unlock any doors back in your home country. So you may as well hand it back to the host or push it through the letter box on your departure.

In summary

The rules above are just examples and you may not encounter them during your stay. Just remember that our hosts are aware that everyone comes from different backgrounds and cultures so they are ready to adjust. Try to see how well you can adjust to British life too. It’s not only the language that provides an interesting learning experience.

Ready to set an example for your home country of superior tidiness and punctuality? Book a homestay now!

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