Host families for boarders - talk to me(17 Posts)
A friend is a guardian & decided to do it after having foreign students during the holidays. She asked my DS, who boarded at the time, what his housemates did with their host families & gauged if she was capable of offering the same. (Or better). The agency she went with offered under 14s or overs. My friend chose the older option because they are allowed more freedom & she doesn't have to ferry her student around. Her student is 14, fom Korea & joins in with things as if it were her own family. Only difference is she has staff to do the washing up, make the beds etc when she's in her real home!
Meant to add most I've met have had children of their own going through boarding schools ay some stage, This definitely is an advantage, boarding schools are strange animals especially full boarding schools they are very far removed from a state school however good. I suspect the best guardians are those already very familiar with the boarding school system.
We have just started to be Guardian to a boy from Hong Kong who attends the same boarding school as my DS who is a day pupil there in the year below. The school prefers to use families already with the school as guardians for boys under 16. Older boys are often with agencies.
We offer him a room in our home and he mucks in with family life, we get paid an overnight rate equivalent to the rate we would pay if we had our DS stay overnight to board in the school. It covers bed and board but we won't make much out of it- that isn't the point. The advantage for us is that our DCs get to meet and live with someone from another culture- he loves to cook so we are looking forward to swapping recipes! He will come away with us on holiday over half term to a rented house in the Highlands ( we live in Central Scotland) and get to experience some of what our country has to offer in the outdoors. The overnight payment pays the difference for us between hiring a 2 bedroom and a 3 bedroom cottage which we need so that we can have separate bedrooms for the boys and my DD. If we have out of pocket expenses such as cinema tickets/ entrace fees to places then we get repaid for this.
It is hard for this boy who is only 14 to be so far away from his family and his home, so at least with us he will be in a warm and welcoming family home with all the home comforts (from the chance for a lie-in to the use of the Xbox and a trip to the cinema). We have Skyped his family to introduce each other which was great- and we were able to show them around the house and the room he will stay in- and he will Skype them when he is with us.
My DH and I have the equivalent of CRB checks (for Scotland) anyway from our volunteering for sports and scouts that our DCs are involved in, and the school came to "inspect" the house- just to see where he would be staying and that there was a room for him etc.
We are looking forward to him becoming part of our family over the next year.
"Mostly in it for the money"
That's a bit sweeping and unkind. My DS has school friends from abroad all I've spoken to like their guardians. I've also met a couple of guardians all seems dedicated to those they look after they attend parent teacher meetings, watch matches, bring them home when they're ill, as well as exeats and holidays they encourage and support their children, are acting in loco parentis and are walking a fine line between what the often very
pushy ambitious parents want and what the child wants and is capable of, I suspect it's not as easy as it sounds. I've no idea how much theyre paid but I doubt there laughing all the way to the bank.
Why don't you get in touch with the boarding schools,in your area? Don't forget though that some cultures want their own culture to be the guardians so you may not appeal to everyone. That is just the way it is. Go for it.
Thanks - as I said, we already host students in the summer hols for an EFL school, and love it. I think we're pretty good hosts, and include the students in everything we do.
I'd love to do more of that kind of thing. Love kids/teenagers and get on well with them. The EFL school is summer hols only - but I hadn't thought of working with boarding schools.
We are CRB'd several times for various activities we do (Brownies/school gov etc), so no probs there.
I'll do a bit of googling...
The hosts are 'guardians' who, sadly, are mostly in it for the money.
Round here (Surrey) most boarders from Korea are packed into houses in New Malden.
I think it really does depend, I'm sure there are some great guardians out there, but also some not so good.
My mum used to teach in a boarding school when I was younger, she was always asked if she could host some girls but never took it up because things were hectic enough.
Thanks everyone for sharing thoughts, experiences, etc.
DS boards full time. I've asked him a few times to bring home his foreign friend but I think he feels he'll be labelled 'gay cos you took your boyfriend home', or that we might embarrass him. The latter is more likely though.
I think hosts/guardians need an Enhanced CRB check, which is fine. I wouldn't want to have more than one other child (it would need more extra rooms) unless they were younger, from the same school and friends - I read that under 12s are generally put with one other in a shared room, but both my DCs wouldn't fit the criteria for sharing. I suspect, though, DD would quite relish being a big sister, even for short periods. Our current home has a spare room but I'd rather move house first (marketing soon) as I think the children would be disrupted enough with 'three homes' already, without the stress of our stress of moving on top of everything.
Does anyone out there actually formally host a boarding school child?
DS is only 45 minutes away so if he needs us, we can be there quite quickly. It must be pretty tough for those families hundreds of miles away!
There's a difference between having someone to stay in a private agreement with the parents, and having a (paid) Home Stay arrangement brokered by the school (ie the school find the placement, rather than taking in one of your DCs friends).
If it's an official arrangement, you could try asking nearby schools directly whether they run them themselves or use an agency. Either way, for this type, you can expect that all residents over 16 will need to be CRB checked, some sort of assessment of your personal suitability, and a home inspection. There should be other policies setting out the responsibilities for both you and your guest too (ground rules about the stay, medicines, whether the pupil can be left alone/go out alone etc, and a full set of school contact numbers). The guest might also be asked to fill out a questionnaire about their stay, and if they would recommend you to others.
My DD boards and a few years back was very friendly with a Korean girk who was over here for 2 years. We had her to stay - arranged as a sleepover initially but her guardian got intouch with me and said that the Korean girl liked to be able to call her parents properly etc etc and that if I had her for the whole weekend we would get paid. They requested we send a bill for food and expenses.
TBH - apart from the phonecall home she made which did cost £££ I was not bothered about reimbursement but they kept pestering me for a bill. I didnt charge for petrol (as I was collecting my DD anyway). I left the food section blank but they reimbursed me a small sum for food in the final reimbursement. I did charge for entry to a theme park and cinema but only because they kept insisting.
It was a lovely weekend. My DC had a great weekend and I think (due to feedback from DD) that she thoroughly enjoyed her stay with us.
I obtained her parents email address through the school and introduced myself through the email, explained what we did at the weekend and attached a few photos too.
It isnt something I would want to reguarly do tbh (my weekends are mad enough with DC at different boarding schools anyway) but it was a pleasure to have her stay.
All host families for minors have to be CRB checked.
The school that I work for inspects the house, helps with the CRBing, makes sure the families understand their responsibilities etc etc.
We do unfortunately get some like those mentioned in the OP, where the families are clearly only after the £££s and treat the kids like (un)welcome intrusions.
tywy: any of the big EFL organisations are always looking for host families, depending on your area. Obviously summer months are peak, but lots of schools are all year round. Just look for any English schools in your town and contact them. Ditto any universities/further ed colleges which offer EFL.
I think that there are agencies who provide guardians for children from abroad who board. They almost certainly require people to be crb checked but sometimes the guardians are parents at the school too. I used to have foreign girls back for half term as they were friends of DD but I was not a guardian. I think many boarding schools have children with guardians and some of the guardians have children from several families and usually from the same country. Quite often these appointed guardians do not take the children out much, which is why they like to come to a family home, but they maintain their culture with the guardian. My friend was a guardian to her cousin's child, who happened to be German, and she went to lots of events at the school etc which a lot of the appointed guardians do not appear to do.
What a great idea. I'd love to take in child borders. We do have foreign teenagers in the summer hols, who come to local English school, and would love to do more of that kind of thing. Where could I get a list of schools who might be looking for families?
why does it interest you? do you plan to take in boarders?
DS boards (yes, I know some don't like it, but there you are) and his school has a number of boarders from other countries who stay with host families for exeats, half term, etc and I wanted to know more about how that works, from your side, rather than the agency's. One boy, we're told, is hosted in a house where a number of overseas boys stay and they're given basic accommodation but no 'family' life. I appreciate it's up to the child's family how they want things taken care of but I think that if the child comes all this way it would help them to experience some proper family time as well as the occasional 'cultural experience' like a trip to Hampton Court or (god forbid) Oxford Street as well as other, simpler things like movie night on the sofa or some such.
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