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anyone been a host family for foreign students?

(25 Posts)
noonar Mon 08-Jun-09 13:41:08

if so, could you tell me what it was like?

a few specific questions...
did you feel like your privacy was invaded? was it worth the money?
what tips would you give to minimise any stress?
did you have any house rules?

i realise that i probably sound a bit negative, but am just a bit concerned as i had lots of students at home when i was growing up, and didnt like sharing my home, tbh. this has probably made me a bit over cautious.

anyway, out of financial necessity, we prob need to get a lodger, and think that short term lang students might be our best bet.

any advice?


noonar Mon 08-Jun-09 18:56:12


BonsoirAnna Mon 08-Jun-09 19:04:33

You should probably just bite the bullet and give it a try with a short term language student and then work it out on a trial and error basis. It has to work for your family.

What accommodation have you got for a lodger - just a bedroom, or a bedroom and bathroom? Will you be giving the lodger meals or will s/he be making meals in your kitchen? Have you got good local public transport?

EyeballshasBackBoobs Mon 08-Jun-09 19:07:33

PIL did this for years to pay their mortgage. I'll ask next time I see them if you're not in too much hurry for an answer I know DH had a lot of trouble with the foreign girls. They were all just at the wrong age (15/16) and he used to have to barricade himself in his room. He hated having people in the house and has always said he'd much rather have had a small house and privacy than a big house full of strangers.

ZZZen Mon 08-Jun-09 19:08:54

My father took in a Korean woman and her son who was attending school there for a year. They were staying with a host family but the mother felt the man of the house was making advances and so she wanted to leave. My dad took them in and charged them nothing. He didn't really need the money so he was just doing them a favour and it seemed to work very well. He missed them when they returned to Korea and they are still in touch.

It depends on the person you get and no, my dad didn't make any house rules but since the mother was there with her son, there were no problems. She cooked sometimes, helped out a bit here and there in the house hold and the son was well-behaved, studious.

Have a look at some of the aupair threads maybe to get an idea for ground rules that people have used there. I think few rules but very clear ones would be best.

noonar Mon 08-Jun-09 19:11:00

well anna, am trying to decide which would be less stressful, doing an extra meal- everynight. regardless of our plans. or sharing a kitchen...

we only have one bathroom, but 2 loos, and we are thinking of putting an ensuite in the loft room. perfect for hiding a student away, lol.

we have buses 2 mins walk away. 10 mins from city centre.

i think i'd find a lodger bringing home friends v stressful. am thinking that as i'm a control freak, a young student would be better. the dds , dh and i would make them welcome, but they'd be joining our household, rather than setting up an autonomous little household under my roof.

noonar Mon 08-Jun-09 19:15:22

eyeballs, sounds like your dh had a similar exp to me...

zzen, i could never be that altruistic,lol!

ooh, just thought of a key question. dyou think its fair enough to say to an overseas student, from uni- not a lang school student staying 3 weeks- that the sitting room is for dh and i only after 8pm. couldnt bare to share my evenings every night! (student would prov not want to be with us either, obv)

good idea re aupair thread

mummylin2495 Mon 08-Jun-09 19:18:09

i have taken students for a few years now.It does invade a bit into your privacy but the school i use make sure the students have activities all the time thay are not actually at school.One of the things i dont like is getting up in the night and having to scramble around for my dressing gown in case i bump into one of them in the hallway !!!the ones i take are between 13 and 18.We have made some very good friends and in fact we have just been to germany to attend one of our last years students confirmation.we were made very welcome and in fact the whole family is now coming here in July for 3 days.Some of them have been quite arrogant but on the whole we have had a great time with them all.{ we mostly have Germans now ,but have had them from sweded,finland etc}

BonsoirAnna Mon 08-Jun-09 19:19:46

As long as the lodger's room isn't mousehole sized, I really don't think you have to let him/her in there at all, ever.

I lodged with families as a language student in several countries and never expected to use the sitting room unless specifically invited to join the family one evening.

mummylin2495 Mon 08-Jun-09 19:24:04

the students we take have the rules set by the language school,they have to be home by 9 if they are under 18.They are not allowed to smoke or drink.But because the school i use look after them most evenings,afternoons and mornings ,this isnt a problem.Most of them make their own beds and will also clear the table of their used mealtime plates.One thing i do like to do and that is to give them the same food we eat,some host families buy all the cheap stuff for students and do separate meals for themselves.On the whole its a good experience, and earns a bit of cash.

mummylin2495 Mon 08-Jun-09 19:25:43

Anna ,i do like to let the students into our lounge as they are living here as part of our family.They are encouraged to think of my home as theirs whilst they are here.

noonar Mon 08-Jun-09 19:29:08

thanks all.

yes, the dressing gown in the night thing would worry me too. in fact, we have a walk in cupboard off our room that has plumbing for a cloakroom, but too small for a shower. am thinking of getting this done as i am quite private and am often up a few times a night.

am aware that i am sounding less and less like a person who's designed to house share- lol.

noonar Mon 08-Jun-09 19:30:14

agree that sitting room would have to be avail for short term young students, but adult termly uni students, not so sure.

any exp of them having friends round??

DamonBradleylovesPippi Mon 08-Jun-09 19:35:50

I have been one of such language students in the uk for years in my youth. From say 12 to 17. I always had the box room. Was not in the house much but out at lessons or with friends. When in I'd be in my room or occasionally in one family chatting away with the father but just because he was willing and it helped with the language. I usually joined in for evening meals and breakfast, but not all schools require you to do this. IMHO use of kitchen more annoying than cook an extra meal. One family was nice in that they took me to sunday roast at grandma's house but I did not have to go [goody goody emoticon] and I bet they wished I hadn't. Some friends were in families were nobody spoke to them, even though it defeat the whole concept. None of us thought we had free reign of the house, quite the contrary it was much the case of hiding in our room.
I suggest though that if you decide to do it try to do it through reputable companies as they might guarantee a bit more on the students you get.

The advantage with having lang students is that they usually do not stay more than 3 weeks top so there's not enough time to feel at home and abuse of it. Disadvantage is that is seasonal, maybe, and they change.

I wouldn't have a problem if I were a single parent.

EyeballshasBackBoobs Mon 08-Jun-09 19:37:03

OK, well DH says now that at the time he hated it but looking back it was a good experience and he met loads of interesting people hmm. He changes like the weather he does

DamonBradleylovesPippi Mon 08-Jun-09 19:38:25

occasionally in the living ^room ^, I meant.

Also yes the school pretty much makes the rules I think.

DamonBradleylovesPippi Mon 08-Jun-09 19:39:41

How old are your children? If young they'd love it I think. One family I stayed with had 3 children under 7. I could not understand a word but we enjoyed each other company.

noonar Mon 08-Jun-09 19:41:37

damon, what an interesting post. thankyou. i would really like to welcome a young student into my home as part of the family. the dds would love to have young-mid- teens, and, as a teacher, i am quite used to being around young people... its the adults that i think i may struggle with more, as they may want to make up their own rules, IYKWIM.

i cant imagine buying diff food for the guests. thats awful. and so much cheaper to just do a large batch of one meal anyway!

noonar Mon 08-Jun-09 19:44:13

dds are 5 and 7. the student wouldnt get the box room. it'd be the loft room which is large and has wonderful views. its the best room in the house. or the second bedroom, which is a good double, but next to me and dh .... (not the best arrangement, lol)

DamonBradleylovesPippi Mon 08-Jun-09 19:59:10

noonar I don't know where you are but DH friend's in london does it so I can ask for the school.

I went a few times with them and others with an English man married to an Italian woman who had set up a summer language study/holiday in their uk home town (not a fancy one).

I personally loved eating my the family and so did my friends. We all came back (to italy to the shock of our parents wink) with suitaceses full of Baked Beans, Heinz Spaghetti, Shortbread and where often at the chip shop. I truly believe that those trips in the cold rainy julys cemented my love for the UK and made me move here hmm.

I think you'll find that most students will be out more than in. Your room sounds fab and the fact that they'll have a sep shower will help, most families complained that the student showered for too long!! My sin was to eat too much toasted bread and butter (hardy breaks the bank) but one day I found the fridge locked! I swear! I didn;t mind though, part of the charm wink.

noonar Mon 08-Jun-09 20:19:58

thanks again, damon.

i would embrace the whole dining together thing, as long as i had a gracious guest. not everyone is good at eating meals that they are unused to, are they? would i find that i had to cater for individual tastes, i wonder. or cook meat in my vegetarian household grin.(maybe ham sandwiches at lunch would make up for vege suppers).

hey, i've just remembered a german boy named dirk, who stayed with us when i was in my teens. he often talked of his parents and prefaced every sentence with 'my father, who's a doctor...' he was very smug,lol.

noonar Mon 08-Jun-09 20:21:28

ooh forgot to say, EF pay the lowest rates by far in our area- £70 pw as opposed to £100 offeredby another local company! but thanks for the link.

DamonBradleylovesPippi Mon 08-Jun-09 20:27:41

I think local companies are the best tbh, they are usually more strict and provide you with more support ime.

I ate what was given and never in my mind I though I could choose. I liked everything but yes others found it horrid, especially pasta. I would not worry, like I said part of the charm is to eat local food, there's always McDonald for the crap meat eaters wink.

I'd try for a term. Italian school age teens do it june july and august as that's when they have their school hols.

DamonBradleylovesPippi Mon 08-Jun-09 20:30:52

another thing, the shame of how little they pay! I remember 3 weeks in June costed then the equivalent of over 3K now shock! In my naivety I though the families where getting a third! My gosh the money these companies make!!

mummylin2495 Tue 09-Jun-09 00:14:58

been out for the evening so justreturning to this thread.Regarding food ,we find it useful to wait until our students arrive ,then we ask them which foods they dont is better to do this than cook something then they wont /cant eat it.Only then do we go and do our food shop.i mostly have boys and i have to say that so far we have only had a couple who are fussy eaters,and i have had students for the last 8yrs.The school i use travel over from germany in coaches.This coach then picks them up in the morning to take them all to school ,then in the afternoon they usually take them on a trip somewhere,they are then bought home for their evening meal about 5 ish ,then picked up again about 7.30 for their evening entertainment. and then return back home between 9.30 and ten.So really the longest time they are here is about 2 and 1/2 hours.We have short stays of 5, 7 11 or this year its 18 days.Its fun and we laugh a lot when we are all trying to understand each other !I am on the south coast,where are you ?

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