Are you new to hosting students?
We have asked an experienced host-mother Kathie Powell to tell us about the joy of having students in your home and give some advice to new host families
I have been a “Host Mother” for about four years now. I say “mother” because, apart from my lodger living in the roof of my house, my sons have flown from the nest and I find myself with extra space in my home that it seems a shame not to make use of. What advice can I give to all who are reading this and are about to embark on this journey? Well, first of all I always keep in mind that if anyone is brave enough to knock on the door of a complete stranger in a foreign country, I would hope that they would be treated the way that I try to treat my visitors.
Settling into your new surroundings
The first thing to do is settle your guests into their new surroundings and your home. I find a quick guided tour of the town helps familiarise the students with the area and also helps to calm their nerves.
Now that everyone is settled, you can go through any rules of the house, enjoy a meal together and show them how the television works! It’s not that difficult being a host mother or family as long as gentle rules are obeyed and you create a feeling of respect and harmony in your home. You have to be quite selfless to run a ‘Home-stay’ business. Of course you are doing it to make a little extra money to pay those bills but you must be realistic about the expenses you will incur. Offering a great service makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone.
The age group that you choose is up to you. I prefer older students and even the odd teacher or chaperon now and then. It is a greater responsibility to have youngsters so be sure you look into all the implications if this is something you are considering.
Communicating and conversing with students
Try to help your guests with their language skills as much as you can by encouraging conversation and correcting them when they get something wrong. Many students already speak English quite well when they arrive and just want to fine-tune their skills.
I really enjoy talking to my guests and having a house full of activity. I would really recommend it to anyone, who would enjoy the extra company and the interesting conversations. IYE International will always support and guide you if there are problems, so you are not alone. A lot of my students have returned for a visit as my guests. So I must be doing something right! Give it a go, and good luck.
For further information about the home-stays email us writing ‘Home-stay’ in the subject line.
TEAM IYE International