Living abroad for the first time can be complicated and daunting, especially if you’re moving to a big city like London. There are plenty of accommodation options for those studying in the UK capital, including halls of residence, shared flats and houses - all of which have their own pros and cons. To add another option to the mix, if you decide on a homestay, London living becomes a totally different experience. |
Staying with a homestay host family means you can experience British life in an authentic way, and it’ll also provide you with a platform to enhance your language skills. Any opportunity to use the English language outside the classroom is always valuable for those who want to make the most of their student experience.
If you’ve opted for a homestay, to maintain a healthy relationship with your host and enjoy a pleasant living experience, try to remember these helpful tips.
1. Follow the Rules
It’s important to acknowledge that you’re staying in someone else’s home, no matter how familiar you become with your surroundings and hosts. If your host sets ground rules, you must respect their wishes no matter what. You should also make an effort to find out if there are any cultural differences that may affect how you should act in the home. For example, should you take your shoes off at the front door?
2. Accept Help and Guidance
Even if you’ve opted for a homestay, London can still be a little scary, and you may find yourself getting confused by things like the public transport system. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to ask for (and accept) the help of your host. Don’t forget they are likely to have had international students staying with them before, so they will be quite familiar with the common mistakes that are made when navigating the city.
Similarly, if you’re feeling homesick, a host family would much rather comfort you than leave you hiding in your room. Reach out and accept their support.
3. Return the Favour
To maintain a positive relationship with the home owner, you must show respect in more ways than one. Small, consistent decencies such as making your bed, offering to help do the dishes or housework and being generally tidy can make a huge difference. Again, remember that you are living in their home!
Another way to show your gratitude is to keep in touch with your host family once your stay is over. Just a phone call, text message or letter is a lovely gesture and it will also allow you to keep up with your language practice.
If you’re considering a homestay, London is definitely a great place for it. Hosts know everything there is to know about the city, so you needn’t be nervous of arriving in a strange city. In addition, many of the host properties are in great locations with easy access to the all the attractions. If you keep these tips in mind, your experience with a temporary family is sure to be one to remember.
Sophie Smith works as an independent consultant, specialising in offering advice on London student accommodation ranging from the Hall of Residence to an apartment to a homestay. London offers an unbeatable experience for international students, and Sophie has many suggestions to make sure that their time in the city is positive, safe and enjoyable.
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