Hi Sherry, can you describe to us what you do at HFS London?
Hi. My role is the Homestay Accommodation Manager at HFS London. As well as managing the accommodation team, I am the point of contact for all our clients, including some of the biggest language schools and universities in London.
I also manage all our student Homestay applications that come through website.
Where did you work before you joined HFS London?
Before joining HFS London, I worked as a Merchandiser for 10 years for various companies such as Arcadia Group, Tesco and TK Maxx.
After so many years in the same job, I felt like I needed a change so when I heard about the position at HFS London, I jumped at the chance to join them. After all you can’t get any more different than Homestay and retail.
I definitely made the right decision to move and have never looked back. I have enjoyed every single minute of working here with a lovely team of colleagues, host families, clients and students.
What are the best parts of your Job?
I find that in this job, no two days are the same and this is what I love the most about it. I really enjoy getting to know our host families and having regular chats with them.
It’s also great when a student who we provide homestay for, calls in to say how much they have enjoyed staying with their host family. It’s nice to know that I have helped in a small way to make someone’s stay in London more enjoyable and memorable.
What do you think are the advantages of staying with a Host Family in London?
London is one of the most exciting and interesting cities in the world, but at the same time, it can be quite daunting if you have never visited it before. If you stay with a host family, it will mean that you will have a “home away from home” experience. Although you are miles away from your home and family, it means that you have a family here in London, who will welcome you and care about you.
This will make it much easier to settle in. Also of course it will give students an insight into real Londoners, their lives and culture as well as being a great way to learn and practise English.
If you were an International Student in London, where would be your ideal area for your Host Family?
This is a very difficult question as there are so many lovely places to choose from.
I’m originally from North West London, which is great if you are looking for a more suburban and leafy part of London.
East London has in the past had a negative reputation as somewhere that is not safe, but there has been a lot of regeneration there recently and is now home to some of the most trendy and sought after areas of London where visitors can see the real London. We have host families available in these areas which include Hackney, Shoreditch, Stepney and Bethnal Green.
For a more suburban side of East London, we also have great London host families available in Woodford, Wanstead and Gants Hill. These are all close to the Central Line and very convenient to get into Central and West London.
Apart from all the areas that I have mentioned above, HFS London has host families all over London in East, West, North and South Zones 1-4 and our accommodation team is always happy to help you find the right area for you. Our team are all from London and have worked in homestay for many years (as well as some who have been host families themselves), so we are in a great position to give you advice when choosing your Homestay in London.
What is your perfect “London Weekend”?
I love to go to the many markets here in London on a Saturday or a Sunday. My favourites are Broadway Market in Hackney and Borough Market by London Bridge Station. I love to eat and these are amazing places if you are a foodie like me.
If the weather is good, I like to go for a walk by the river with friends and stop off at a pub for a drink (or two). In the summer, there is nothing better than hanging out with friends in Victoria Park and getting a huge ice cream from the van that always parked at the main gates. You can get a double soft scoop ice cream, with flake and chocolate sauce for £2. You can’t get more London than that.
When I’m not thinking of different things to eat, I am here and always happy to help you find your perfect Homestay in London. You can apply on our website or call our team directly on 020 7510 9920. If you live in London, UK and are thinking about hosting overseas students, then our team will be happy to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch!