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The rate of international students aged 16 and under visiting the UK for study placements is growing faster than ever before, as parents around the world realise the value in their child learning to speak English and to study in London. Families are beginning to send their children to the UK as young as 10 years old. Generally, they come as part of a group and will want to be located close to one another. Catford, having been identified as one of the major centres in the London Plan, is fast becoming a popular destination for such students to stay. So if you live in the Catford area and have a spare room you wouldn’t mind renting out to a young guest, read on for more information!

Why Catford?

Catford may not be the first place most of us think of when we conjure up the images tourists from overseas want to see when they visit London. However, the place has got plenty of merit which is proving popular with visitors. Considered a safe residential area, Catford is well connected transport wise to the rest of the city. Its two independent schools alongside Greenvale School, Conisborough College and St Dustan’s College, all attract overseas students on various exchange and non-exchange study programmes. And, of course, the Catford Cat is an attraction to be noted all of its own!

What is there to do in Catford?

When hosting younger students, HFS London encourages host families to show them around the local area. If you have time on your hands too, why not find an activity to try to really immerse them in local life. Just because they’re not on holiday doesn’t mean they can’t do things other than study! For Catford, these are just some of the things we recommend you involve your homestay international student in…

Take some snaps of the Catford Cat

OK, it’s not the greatest architectural monument in the world, but the Catford Cat is undoubtedly THE heart of Catford. If you’re nearby, it’s begging to be visited! Because why not?! Built 1974, the Catford Cat seems to be constantly under threat from demolition by those who don’t enjoy the sculpture.  Despite this, pleas from the local residents and councillors who continually petition for its permanency, keep it alive. Make sure your guest is able to see it while it’s still standing… or purring.

Shop at the Street Market

Catford’s high street isn’t the most competitive in terms of chain stores, but the market is brilliantly representative. This is not just of the local neighbourhood, but the whole of London! Charming in its authenticity, the diversity and range of food, drinks and products on offer really is unrivalled. It gives a brilliant overview of the fantastic multi-culturalism the UK enjoys and is proud of. Plus, if you’ve got a student who’s feeling a little homesick, you may be able to comfort them and put their nerves at ease a little with things more familiar to them.

Browse at Halcyon Books

Bookworm or not, browsing a bookshop in a foreign country can be really interesting! The shop does stock a variety of books in other languages but also plenty of gifts and trinkets. They also have free Wi-Fi (a bonus if they need to catch up on homework but could do with getting out of the house) and serve fresh coffee and tea.

Become a Host Family in Catford

Becoming a host family to international students is a great way to earn some extra income and help integrate visitors into your local community. HFS London is always looking for safe and welcoming homes for under-16 overseas students staying in the UK. So, if you have a spare room and think you could fit the bill, get in touch!

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