Become an HFS London Host Family

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1 Become an HFS London Host Family

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3 Become an HFS London Host Family 3 The UK Language Travel Sector 4 The Student Path to London 5 British Council Homestay Guidelines 5 The Homestay Experience 6 Backgrounds of our International Students 7 Applying to be a Host Family 7 The Inspection Visit 8 Categorisation of Host Families 8 Homestay Accommodation Options 9 Host Family Registration 10 The HFS London Team 10 T: E: W:

4 Become an HFS London Host Family Do you have a spare room at home? Could you use some flexible from time to time income? If the answer to these questions is Yes then hosting international students may be ideal for you. We are currently recruiting for Host Families in zones 1-4 of London, who can provide a temporary home away from home to a visitor from overseas. Host Families need not comprise a family in the traditional sense. Our Hosts are married, single, of all ages and from all walks of life. We have couples with no children or whose children have left home who enjoy the extra company and also being able to help a short term visitor settle into the country. At HFS London we have a very diverse portfolio of Host Families, reflecting the multicultural nature of London. The most important criteria is that you can provide a safe, warm and welcoming Homestay environment in a suitable standard of accommodation within your own home. Host Families have the chance to meet new international friends, many of whom remain in contact long after they leave. Guests will sometimes return the hospitality and invite their Host Family to stay with them in their homes abroad. Homestay hosts with children often tell us that welcoming an international student to their home has helped their own children broaden their minds and appreciate other ways of doing things. Rates of pay for Homestay range from 90 to 180 per week, depending on the category of accommodation on offer and the meal package selected (see page 9 for details). So being a Host Family is a great way to share our language and culture, learn more about other cultures and supplement your income.

5 The UK Language Travel Sector The UK education system is internationally respected. Every year over 600,000 learners come to the UK to achieve their ambitions, to experience modern life in the UK and to use the language in its natural home. The ability to speak English is seen as a major advantage in an increasingly globalised and competitive world. Many students choose to come to the UK to be immersed in our language and be able to use their English every day. There are a wide range of educational institutions offering courses across the UK. Some of these include private language schools, independent schools, tutorial colleges and further and higher education institutions. HFS London works on behalf of numerous institutions, many of which are language schools. Accreditation UK is the UK accreditation scheme for English language courses. It is run by the British Council, in partnership with English UK, the national association of accredited English language centres. Language schools must meet strict criteria in order to gain an accreditation. There are over 430 accredited English language centres in the UK, with many of these centres in London. T: E: W: Pg4

6 The Student Path to London International students that choose to study in the UK will initially contact an educational study abroad agency in their home country. Such organisations are based all over the world. The role of a study abroad agency is to understand the needs of the student and advise them in their native language. This will include advice on the most appropriate country to study in. They will also help the student choose their place of study (language school, university etc.) and the most suitable course to help them achieve their goals. The UK Border Agency (UK BA) governs the requirements on international student visas and entry into the UK. International students from countries that require student visas are now only able to study at educational institutions that are on the UK BA Trusted Sponsors List. Such institutions are graded as Highly Trusted, A Rated or B Rated. HFS London works directly with educational institutions here in London and abroad, such as language schools and universities. As well as this, we have direct links with study abroad agencies. Our relationship with an educational institution or agent will be defined by a contractual agreement that outlines procedures on our provision of Homestay to their students. The educational institutions and agencies that we work with are, therefore, clients of HFS London. We also often receive accommodation requests from international students that contact us independently; through recommendation or over our website. British Council Homestay Guidelines At HFS London we work to the British Council guidelines and Codes of Practice that educational institutions are required to follow as part of on-going accreditation with the British Council and English UK. The key Homestay requirements are to: Make the student feel at home and treat him/ her as a member of the family rather than a paying guest. Encourage your guest to speak English and engage with the family in social activities, such as conversation and watching TV. Provide meals (if part of the chosen Homestay accommodation package) that are balanced, nutritious and appropriate to the student. Ensure that the guest s room has adequate heating and lighting and is in a proper state of cleanliness and repair. Provide adequate washing facilities and access to the bathroom as a member of the household with bath/shower to be available once daily. Provide a change of linen each week and a good supply of blankets. Provide the student with his/her own room that includes a table for private study, hanging and drawer space for clothes.

7 The Homestay Experience Imagine sending your son or daughter to study or work in New York, Tokyo or any other major city abroad for the first time. You will naturally be excited for them but, at the same time, will want to make sure they have a safe, rewarding and positive time abroad. For many international students it is their first time visiting London and, for some, it may be their first time travelling abroad without their parents. Their choice of accommodation is therefore as important as where they choose to study. International students who choose Homestay over other options want to be integrated into a home away from home environment where they can live within a typically British home, experience our culture and have further opportunities to practise their English. over the normal routine of your home life, as students will integrate into the normal running of your family home. Host Families are not required to organise excursions or activities for their students on weekends, as many schools and colleges will offer the student this option themselves. Students will, however, expect to be included in as many aspects of family life as possible. Homestay, by its nature, tends to be short term. Students who intend to stay on in the UK often choose Homestay to find their feet in London. When they are more confident they may choose to live with friends in other forms of accommodation. The average stay in a Homestay is between 4 to 6 weeks. HFS London has a minimum stay policy of 2 weeks and there is no upper limit. Hosting an international student can be more akin to fostering than it is to renting a spare room out to a lodger. Hosting a student should not, however, take T: E: W: Pg6

8 Backgrounds of our International Students The majority of international students placed by HFS London come from a university background in their home country. HFS London works primarily with students who are over 18 years old, so your guest will usually be a young adult. Although the average age of our guests is between 18 to 25 years old, we also get requests from more mature students, or professionals studying a business language course. As we work with numerous educational institutions, we place students from all over the world. There is not one nationality that we work with more than another. Students come to London with different levels of English. It is rare that a student cannot speak English at all as many international students are required to start learning English from a very young age in their home countries. You are as likely to host a student with a beginner s level as you are one with an advanced grasp of the English language. An international student and his or her parents will plan the trip to the UK carefully. The expense involved in course fees, flights, accommodation, spending money etc to the student s family will not be insignificant. This usually means that they will take their studies seriously and will want to get the most out of their trip to the UK. So you will often find that, whatever their background, your guest will generally be very open and keen to learn about your family and life here in the UK. They will be mindful that they are coming into a family home and respectful of this fact. Applying to be a Host Family The process of applying to become a Host Family with HFS London is very straightforward. The first step is to complete the online application form on our website. Aside from the usual personal details i.e. name, address, contact telephone numbers you are asked to provide additional information about, for example, the accommodation you have available, meal packages you are prepared to offer and any preferences you may have for hosting male or female students. With this information we are able to build a comprehensive profile of our Host Families; which is invaluable when it comes to matching a student with the right Host Family, as the closer the match the more likely it is that both parties will have an enjoyable and fulfilling Homestay experience. After submitting the online form we will contact you to discuss your application and arrange a home visit from one of our Inspections Officers.

9 The Inspection Visit The aim of the home visit is to meet you in person and to gain an understanding of your motivations for applying to be a Host Family, as well as to inspect the accommodation to ensure that it meets all the requirements of the educational institutions that we work with. Key factors that we look at to establish suitability include, but are not limited to: Motivations for applying to register to host international students The standard of the accommodation (including the guest bedroom) The area surrounding the home (amenities, transport, safety) The visit is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and establish definitively whether Homestay is right for you. The Inspections Officer will need to take photos of all the communal areas of the home e.g. student room(s), living room, kitchen, bathroom etc. In practice, the photos add to the profile of the Homestay stored on our system and shared with our team, school clients and/or study abroad agents that may, from time to time, request to see more information about a Host Family that we are proposing to match with a student. As members of our Placements Team will not see your home, the photos are an extra aid for them when pairing student to Host Family. The number of people in the home versus the size of the accommodation Current requirements of clients that we work with Categorisation of Host Families When a student is choosing a Homestay, budget and location requirements are often important factors for them. International students buy accommodation packages based on zone (London Tube/Rail map). HFS London offers three categories of Homestay to suit different student budgets. Standard Superior Executive Mainly zones 2, 3 and 4, this is a very good level of Homestay accommodation. It will usually be within good residential areas. This will mainly be in houses and sometimes apartments. Mainly zones 2 & 3 and will be a higher standard of Homestay accommodation, some with the additional benefit of a private bathroom. This will be either in houses or apartments. Mainly zones 1 & 2 and will be of a very high standard of Homestay accommodation, some with the additional benefit of a private bathroom. This will be either in houses or apartments. T: E: W: Pg8

10 Homestay Accommodation Options HFS London offers a range of Homestay accommodation options to international students. As a Host Family you can select to offer any of the options below. On the Inspection Visit at your home, HFS London will record which of the options you are happy to offer. Self-Catering Guest has full access to the kitchen, prepares own meals and has a dedicated storage area for food in the kitchen. Times for use of kitchen to be decided with Host Family. Bed and Breakfast Continental Breakfast: Cereal, Toast, Jam, Tea/Coffee, Juice Light access to the kitchen only (for example, use of the microwave but not use of the oven/cooker) Half Board (5 nights) Continental Breakfast 7 days in the week. Evening Meal Monday to Friday. Continental Breakfast: Cereal, Toast, Jam, Tea/Coffee, Juice Evening Meal: Main meal to be cooked, nutritious and to include a meat or fish dish and a light dessert (fruit or yogurt). To be eaten with Host Family. On week-ends light access to the kitchen only (for example, use of the microwave but not use of the oven/cooker) Half Board (7 nights) Continental Breakfast and Evening Meal Monday to Sunday. Continental Breakfast: Cereal, Toast, Jam, Tea/Coffee, Juice Evening Meal: Main meal to be cooked, nutritious and to include a meat or fish dish and a light dessert (fruit or yogurt). To be eaten with Host Family.

11 Host Family Registration After the Inspection Visit HFS London will write to you to inform you of whether your registration has been successful. If so, you will receive: A welcome letter that confirms details of your registration, categorisation and rates of pay. The HFS London Host Family Agreement; which you will be asked to print, sign and post an original copy to us in order to complete the registration. A copy of the HFS London Host Family Handbook. An out of office telephone number will also be issued to enable Host Families to contact HFS London for urgent matters out of hours. You will then be ready to receive your first student! The HFS London Team HFS London are experienced at meeting the needs of our Host Families and are always at hand to answer any questions or queries that you may have either before, during or after any placement. Our office opening times are every Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) between 9am and 6pm and you can reach us on We look forward to working with you and hope that your experience as an HFS London Host Family is a thoroughly enjoyable one. T: E: W: Pg10 Pg4

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