Host a foreign exchange student with Accent – facts and benefits

With a spare room in the house and time on my hands I thought it might be fun to host language students for the summer and earn a little extra income. The Language School came round to inspect the house and ran through my responsibilities and what I should expect from the experience.

With excited trepidation I met my first student, Sophie from Switzerland. She was charming, she was 15 years old, well-educated with extremely good manners and kept her room immaculate. I made her breakfast, lunches and evening meals and took her off to school each morning and picked her up at 5pm in the evening.

Having Sophie around the house was an absolute pleasure, her English was very good indeed so we spent the whole time chatting and giggling and for me it was just like having a friend in the house.

Hosting Enriches Family Life

It wasn’t long before Sophie became part of the family, she came out to walk the dogs with us in the evenings and when she wasn’t with her own friends, she would happily spend time with us playing games sharing with us her life back home.

So Sophie was the first of many students, all girls from many different parts of the world. We also hosted mature students that were more independent but equally enjoyable to host.

Below is a video put together by The Newsom family who hosted 4 students last summer. This is what they got up to.

Expect to Chat with the Students to help them learn English

For many young students it may be their first time away from home so their English may be limited, or they may be shy or self-conscious about speaking with you, but it is the role of the host family to speak to their students as much as possible giving them confidence and getting them to practice. Speaking out loud as much as possible really does help the students improve their language skills.

It is also a lot of fun and very rewarding. I felt like a teacher or mentor conversing and correctly my students, they were very thankful and we always had a giggle about mispronunciations!

Be open to all cultures

There are many nationalities needing accommodation so don’t expect to just receive French or Spanish, and don’t ‘request’ a specific nationality either. From my experience they are all the same, just a student wanting to learn English. I had French, Swiss, German and a lady from Thailand all bringing their own unique personalities with them.

Establish ground rules with Students to ensure no fall out

The one thing I would recommend is establishing ground rules right from the outset so the students know what is expected of them so there is no fall out. One of my ground rules was the time they needed to be home at night, or letting me know where they were and what time they would be home. If you are hosting a minor you are responsible for their safety at all times, so this ground rule needs to be adhered to.

Other ground rules could be eating meals together at a certain time. The ground rules are for the student, as much as for you so they feel comfortable knowing what is expected of him.

Welcome and engage with their friends

It’s nice for student to know they can bring their friends home and that you will be welcoming and engaging. Many of my students brought their friends back to hang out and do some extra study. They were always quiet and respectful but I made it very clear their friends were as welcome as they were.

Take them out once in a while

They maybe studying and spending time with friends but every now and then it’s good to take them out on a little trip somewhere nice, creating lasting memories of their time with you.

Forming lifelong friends

Lots of students return year after year to stay with their host family and even bring family members over to stay too. I have been invited to France, Spain and Switzerland to visit my students families and we receive Christmas cards.

If this has inspired you to consider hosting with Accent Language School get in touch today for an application form

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