There are many reasons why a family might choose to host an overseas student and there are many benefits that can arise from the situation. For a starter, many families with children find that an overseas student can enrich their own education, language skills and understanding of other cultures. It’s a two way relationship in many aspects and for all that a student gains from studying in the UK, a host family is able to gain just as much by way of experience.
Inviting an overseas student into the family home can be an extremely rewarding experience and one that is particularly suitable for those who enjoy meeting new people. A student from another country enables a UK family to learn about new cultures, religions and languages and helps to educate children about the lives of those in other countries. For families with children, hosting an overseas student can be such a valuable learning experience and many come out of the experience with new friends and an illuminated insight into another way of life.
Families without children may choose to host an overseas student not only for company or to meet new people from different cultures, but also to brush up their own foreign language skills. An overseas student will rely on his host family to enrich his own educational experience, and in doing do, a host family can gain so many new language skills themselves. Additionally, it goes without saying that the host family will learn so much from a young person staying in their home- about different countries, cultures and religions. Many host families also gain a sense of real accomplishment from contributing towards the personal development and growth of a student under their care.
Some host families decide to take in a student due to changes in personal circumstances, such as maternity leave, redundancy or retirement. Often in situations where hosts find themselves at home more often, they feel more able to open up their homes to a student, for more reasons that one. Perhaps the financial rewards might help towards house-hold bills, or perhaps a family might wish to use up free space in their home. Whatever the reason, many families find that hosting a student can have great benefits.
Host families are encouraged to explore their reasons for taking in an overseas student thoroughly, before committing to anything. It’s vital that families are clear about what is required of them throughout the length of time that the student is with them. It’s a good idea to consult with all family members about the benefits a student can bring, and what the family themselves wish to get out of the situation. Drawing up a list of reasonable rules and expectations can be a really good exercise so that all involved are clear about how day to day life will be. This also benefits the students as they too will be clear about their own role whilst they are in the UK.
Ultimately, hosting an overseas student can bring great rewards- not just financially, but emotionally, spiritually and educationally. Many families feel that they gain so much from hosting a student that they agree to new students again during the following academic year. Many also feel that showing hospitality and sharing knowledge about their culture and way of life brings a real sense of satisfaction that is difficult to beat with any other occupation.