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Welcoming Overseas Student Guests

As a homestay host, you want every guest that you, to have a great experience in your home.

There are lots of small touches that you can add to your home to help them to settle in and feel like part of the family.

Why it can be difficult for your guest

From your guest’s perspective, they may feel like a bit of an outsider or intruder in your family home. This can naturally make them feel self-conscious and less likely to come forward if they need anything, which isn’t the ideal guest experience, so bringing them into the fold will help.

There may also be a language barrier to overcome too, especially for international students. Most likely, they’ll speak English, but this may be as a second language. Again, this can make them feel isolated and not as ready to speak up should they need anything.

In London, they also have a whole city to get to know, with a complex public transport system to boot. This can feel a bit overwhelming, especially if they’re from a smaller area back home. They’re also integrating into a new way of life, even if it is just on a temporary basis.

If you want to be the best possible host, then there are a few things that you can do to reduce the impact of these difficulties.

What you can do to make your guest feel at home

The first step to getting your guests to feel at home is to welcome them and to introduce them to all of your family members. Depending on the time they arrive and how long they’ve been travelling for, they might want to rest up before you do so. Be flexible and understanding of their needs, then they can be ready to chat after a quick rest.

Some ideas on getting started:

  1. Tour the entire home and introduce them to the whole family. That way, if you’re not around they know others that live in the home should they need any help. Show them to their room and explain any house rules. Make sure they have enough storage space for their things, as this will vary depending on the guest and the length of time they’re staying. No one wants to crush their clothes in a crowded cupboard, consider allocating adequate space for your guests.
  2. After that, you can encourage them to tell you if there’s anything they need. Check in on your guests once they’ve had a chance to settle into the home, as this is when they’ll start to notice if they’re missing the essentials. Phone chargers and toiletries are great things to offer to your guest to ensure that they have everything they need.
  3. Bringing them along to social gatherings can also help them to meet new people outside of their studies. This can also give you the chance to show them the best ways to travel in the area, taking the fear out of this too. You can take them for a test run to their place of study if you have the time to do so, which will also help them get their bearings in the area.
  4. If English is not their first language, then make sure you make an effort to communicate with them and explain things thoroughly. This might mean you have to take a little extra time, but communication is vital for a happy homestay. You might even want to learn a few greetings in their native language to make them feel extra welcome.
  5. If you’re offering a meal plan with your homestay, then find out what foods they like and dislike. You can also attempt to make food from their home country and even get snacks from there too. This shows a willingness to learn more about their culture too, so they might just be encouraged to tell you more about them.

Finally, if your guest asks you for something within reason, do your best to make it happen. If you get the same requests from many guests that stay with you, then you might want to make these elements a part of your homestay as standard. Similarly, if you get praise from a guest, then make sure you’re giving a similar experience to other guests to keep these positive reviews coming in.

These might seem like quite small things, but trust us when we tell you they’ll have a significant impact on the comfort of your guest. As a newcomer, they will most likely feel alienated, and these small touches can assuage those fears.

Becoming a Host to Overseas Students

If you’re interested in being a host to international students with us, then you can find out more here.

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