Once you’ve chosen your homestay accommodation, you may feel apprehensive or worried about living with a family in a different country. This is completely normal, especially if you have never lived abroad before. However, our friendly hosts have experience welcoming guests from different cultures and backgrounds, and can help you make the transition to living in London.
Living with a host family is a bit different to living in student accommodation or private rented housing. You must remember that this is their home and to be respectful of their property and possessions. Each host will have some house rules you will be expected to follow, and if you have any concerns or questions you can speak to them directly.
On arrival, it’s a good idea to ask some questions and discuss the house rules and arrangements to check that everybody is on the same page. The host family need to know what you expect from them and vice versa, to make the homestay a pleasant and enjoyable experience for everyone. We’ve put together some example questions you may wish to ask your host.
Do I have my own bathroom?
In some homes, there may be more than one bathroom and in this case you may get allocated your own – you may even have an en-suite. However this is not guaranteed so it’s a good idea to check which bathrooms you are permitted to use. If bathrooms are shared between the whole household, a morning schedule may need to be agreed.
Can I use the kitchen?
When booking your homestay you will have the option of choosing a meal plan – self-catering, bed and breakfast, half board or full board. If you have chosen self-catering then your host will allow you to prepare your own food in the kitchen. Again you may wish to discuss a cooking timetable so it doesn’t interfere with the host family’s own preparation and meal times. If you have chosen a meal plan and would like to use the kitchen to prepare snacks or packed lunches, you should ask permission but most hosts shouldn’t have a problem with it.
What time will meals be served?
If you have chosen a meal plan then it’s a good idea to ask about the family’s normal routine for meals. You may find they eat earlier or later than you are used to and will have to adjust to this. If you think your class timetable will interfere with some meal times, let your host know and they may adapt it. It is polite to let your host know as soon as possible if you are out and won’t be home for dinner.
Am I allowed to use the phone?
It is up to individual hosts to decide what guests are allowed to use within the home. Overseas phone calls can be very expensive and therefore you may be asked to buy your own mobile phone with an international sim card. Most host families are happy for guests to use the internet and contact relatives and friends at home using a computer or tablet.
Can I smoke in my bedroom?
It is up to individual hosts but the majority of homestays are non-smoking, so it is prohibited in all areas. If you would like to smoke you should go outside.
If you have any other questions about the homestay process, get in touch with our team.