What Do you Un-expect when you’re Expecting to live with Host Families?

1. Un-expect the Host families Like your Real Parents and the "Perfect" Family Although meals are mandatorily provided for every host student and laundry could be done for you, do not expect to leave all the mess to them as if you were home, or stay in your own room whole day playing with your phones. Some of the families look to host international students because they love to connect with people to learn more about the rest of the world. They would treat you as a guest in the house, and would love to show your around locally. Also, please ask before taking anything from the fridge or do clean up after using the bathroom--- they open up the door to share their house with you, don’t forget.

Also, the key is to embrace diversity. Our society used to confine and confirm our understanding of the concept and model of a tranditional nuclear family (2 parents + children). Nowadays, family structure evolves too--- and so it is not uncommon to have a so-called lone-parent family (one parent rising the children), symmetical family (both partners engage in paid employment as well as share household-related responsibilities), reconstituted family (two sets of children become one family through divirced parents' remarriage), beanpole family (genreations in close contact), as well as gay/ lesbian family (same-sex parnership). Family structure moves forward, and so as the host families.

2. Un-expect The Queen and British Guard-alike as your Host There is a reason why The United Kingdom is called The United Kingdom. While 3.6 million of British nationals living in the UK, the highest non-British population is from Poland which makes up 1 million, followed by India (362,000), Republic of Ireland (335,000), Romania (328,000), and Italy (233,000). With a hundred years of imperial and colonial history with the establishment of Commonwealth countries, do not expect that every host family sounds like the Queen and dresses like the guards at Buckingham Palace. Do embrace the cultural diversity and take the time to learn about cultural heritage and ways of life as we have become more and more globalized in our everyday life. You probably would feel more close to home as an international student.

3. Un-expect The IELTS Verbal Test-alike Conversation The best way to learn languages to be fully immersed in everyday life--- and the most effective way is to develop understanding and fluency with good listening skills. Unlike in the classroom, home and cultural context would allow you to communicate authentically about life and there is a strong motivation to improve. Do not be afraid of making mistakes, or do not be embarrassed by your non-English accents. Your host families would love to communicate with you even if you are not “grammar-perfect”-- and they speak casually with slang (informal language) too.

4. Un-expect the same old merry English Life

Regionally in the UK different local areas have their own neighborhood features--where is good to go and shop, which restaurant has the best dish, nearby attractions, school and college information, and so on. Many international students enjoy living with host families because they would experience things unlike their homes: barbeque in the garden, weekend trips or hikes, going to parks and sightseeing.

5. Un-expect the engagement in Activities that are not allowed normally All host families have been vetted and gone through DBS-police check to ensure your safety. They should be trustworthy, as well as bear the duty of care towards your safety. Do not engage in drinking or smoking in the house, for instance, and hoping that it would be fine. Do not hold a party and invite friends over without asking them first--- this is after all their house, their rules! Do respect their house.

Want to know more about homestay options and finding a suitable family? We have safe and loving host families that are completely police-checked with great extent of experience in hosting international students. Please contact our Education Consultants, William McFarlane at william@jamesleeconsultancy.com and Karen Li Foster at karen@jamesleeconsultancy.com.

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