What is involved in being a homestay host?
Welcome to International House Manchester and thank you for your interest in hosting our international students. Here you will find information about acting as a homestay host, but please also contact us for a chat if you have any other questions. We believe in working closely with our hosts, so that you and our students have the best possible experience.
Our school is based at Brook House, 64-72 Spring Gardens, Manchester M2 2BQ, just a few minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Gardens. We are accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English.
Our students generally spend between two and twelve weeks with us whilst studying on an English language course. Some of our students are professionals from other European countries who are sponsored by their employers. Others are young people who want to improve their English language skills to help them compete in the jobs market. Rather than staying in a hotel, the majority of our students prefer the homestay option. This allows them to experience English life and culture at first hand, and practise their English in a friendly home setting.
Homestay Code of Practice
Encourage your visitor to speak English as much as possible in your home, but recognise that there may be times when your visitor needs to speak in his/her native language.
Encourage your visitor to feel at home and treat him / her as a member of your family, rather than as a lodger.
Always show due concern for the welfare, safety and security of your visitor during his/her stay.
Maintain a close liaison with the school so that you will be in a position to help them to resolve any problems that they may encounter during their stay.
Respect the visitor’s different cultural background and be sensitive to their needs.
Hosts must provide:
– a sufficiently spacious bedroom for a student’s sole use, with natural light, equipped with an adequately sized bed and adequate hanging and drawer space for clothes
– comfortable accommodation that is maintained to a high standard of repair and cleanliness
– an environment where the student can study i.e. A desk/table in their bedroom or in a dedicated quiet area of the house
– free access to WI –FI/ broadband internet access if available
– adequate heating and lighting within your home
– a balanced and appropriate diet, taking into consideration any special requirements. From Monday to Friday this must include breakfast every morning, a hot meal eaten with the student in the evenings. Lunch must also be provided at the weekend. Two courses for the evening meal is expected.
– sufficient washing facilities and access to a bathroom, with baths or showers available daily
– a change of towels and bed linen each week and an adequate supply of duvets, pillows and blankets
– clearly explained laundry arrangements – hosts normally will allow at least one load of washing for free each week, and show the student how to use the washing machine etc
– A copy of a house key to allow the student free and easy access to the family home during their stay
Hosts who can offer a double bedroom and a private bathroom for a client’s sole use may qualify as an Executive Host – please ask for further information.
Are you hosting for the right reasons?
Homestays are about giving an international student a base within a family from which they can then have a culturally rewarding experience. If your motives are purely financial, you are hosting for the wrong reasons.
How will having a guest in the house affect my daily life?
On arriving at their UK airport of choice, students will either be met by a driver from our approved taxi transfer company or will make their own way to your home via public transport.
Our students travel to and from school independently. Please help your guest find the bus stop / train station on their first day, and explain local transport costs and routes.
Students are usually at school from 9am to 4pm. Additionally, at International House Manchester we provide optional social activities in the evenings and at the weekend. There is also certainly no obligation for a host to be responsible for entertaining their guest during his or her free time. A friendly welcome is vital, and a willingness to eat an evening meal together.
Please bear in mind that our students have a busy schedule and will not want to be in a homestay where there are late night parties or people working very unsociable hours.
You can choose how often you want to host. Some of our homestay hosts accept students continuously throughout the year. However, other hosts may only accept clients for a week or two every month. We cannot guarantee to provide students to any host throughout the whole year and we close for two weeks over Christmas and New Year.
What are the rewards for being a homestay?
Learning more about other cultures and gaining a better understanding of other nationalities makes the hosting experience something really special. The friendships forged between student and hosts often lasts a lifetime.
However we recognise that hosts incur some costs! We pay Standard homestay hosts £130.00 per week and Executive hosts £175. You are currently permitted to earn a certain amount tax free as a host under the Rent-a-room scheme. Please contact your local tax office or visit the HMRC website for further information.
This fee is paid one week in arrears directly into your bank account. We will provide you with a record of payments on a monthly basis.
Things to Consider
Arrival and Ongoing Care
You must ensure that there is an adult available to greet students on their initial arrival. Please inform us if you will be away from the home overnight at any point during a students stay. If you have a major concern about a student please call our emergency out of hours number (01452) 619021.
Ensure that your buildings and contents insurance are both in place and current. Advise your insurers that you are hosting. Please bring any issues to the attention of the school before the person leaves the country. Do not attempt to get compensation directly from your visitor. If you plan on taking the student anywhere using your car as transport, make sure that you have informed your car insurance company that you are hosting paying students. Please note, IJ Tours Ltd cannot accept any responsibility for damage caused to your property by students.
Bathrooms should be kept spotlessly clean. Soap, hot water and toilet paper should always be provided (at no cost to the student). You should also provide a bin for the disposal of feminine sanitary protection. The student should not be expected to clean the bathroom but they should leave it tidy after use.
If several people use the same bathroom then a rota could be established for times of use in the mornings/evenings.
Mail and Luggage
A host may not hold or destroy mail addressed to a student. Please either forward their mail to the school or return it to the post office marked “gone away”. If property is left behind or abandoned by a student it may be held by the host or, preferably by the school/organisation. The school will contact the student or their parents and ask for instructions as to the disposal of the goods or payment in advance for the cost of postage or carriage.
Every year there are a number of incidents reported nationally which involve gas appliances. These include asphyxiation, carbon monoxide poisoning, fires and explosions. You are required to take the following precautions:
All gas appliances must be checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
The law also states that:
· All boilers and central heating systems should be installed and serviced regularly under contract with “competent persons” only (i.e. Gas Safe member contractors).
· No appliance should be used if it is known or suspected of being unsafe.
· The room where the gas appliance is located must have adequate ventilation – air inlets should not be blocked to prevent draughts, and flues and chimneys should not be obstructed.
International House Manchester (IJ Tours ltd) requires all its hosts to have smoke alarm(s) fitted.
IJ Tours Ltd holds information on each registered host which includes the hosts’ name, address, telephone number, details of the host and other family members, description of accommodation and history of placements made with that host on its database. IJ Tours Ltd will not disclose this information to any third parties other than to the potential student, school or agent or to any authorised inspectors.
Cultural and Race Relations
As a host, you are entitled to refuse to host a particular race, nationality or religious group. Please do not publicise such discrimination. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or nationality when taking people onto our books as potential hosts (providing they have an acceptable level of spoken English). However, sometimes students ask to be lodged with a particular type of host, and we reserve the right to fulfil their requirements where possible.
Diet and food
Evening meals should be substantial and hosts should provide some kind of dessert course as well.
The minimum requirement for breakfast consists of: cereal, toast or bread/rolls with butter, marmalade or jam, fruit juice and tea or coffee with fresh milk.
Visitors should have the same meals as your family and will expect to eat with you. We will inform you before their arrival if a student has told us about any special dietary needs for religious or medical reasons
Drinking /Illegal Substance
Excessive drinking is not acceptable and should not be the norm for students or hosts. Consequently, such problems should be discussed with the school staff.
If you suspect that illegal substances are being used by your student, inform the school immediately so that procedures may be followed and appropriate authorities notified. Remember the possibility of your culpability if this is not done. It is not acceptable for anyone in the home stay to use illegal substances during a student’s stay.
Please provide the student with a key to your home, and swap mobile phone numbers with them. (We will also have provided them with this information in a “Welcome Letter”). You can remind the client not to keep the keys with your address!
Although visitors should participate fully in host family activities, an exception to this is religious practice. Under no circumstances should you try to impose your religious practices on the visitor – although you can invite them to a religious service if this seems appropriate. Equally, visitors’ beliefs should be respected and if your student wishes to practice his or her religion during the homestay, you should help him/her to do so. However, you may contact the school for advice and guidance.
If your visitor has something stolen (is a victim of crime) please help them to report it to the Police and school immediately. If you suspect that your visitor has committed a crime, report this to the school.
Using the telephone / internet
Establish ground rules for using the telephone from the outset. It may be possible to put a block on your phone to prevent international calls. Contact your telephone company for further information. However, most students bring their own mobile phone or use Skype via their pc to make calls. If you have a limit on your broadband use, please discuss this with your student.
It is illegal to carry certain weapons in the UK. If you suspect your visitor is carrying a weapon, notify the school immediately so that relevant procedures may be followed.
If you feel in any way harassed by your student, please tell the school immediately, or in emergencies contact the Police.
It is very important that your home is maintained to a high standard – when a member of our staff visits you they will have to consider this aspect of your home. Please do not be offended if the questions asked seem obvious to you – they are not to everyone!
It is a legal requirement that your gas appliances are checked by an approved gas contractor annually and it is important that your furniture and furnishings are clean and of a decent quality.
If you have pets, please let us know. Bear in mind that not everybody feels confident around animals and so please consider your guests feelings in this respect. In many countries pets are not allowed in the house at all, and so this might seem unusual to your student. Please do not allow your pet to go into the students’ bedroom or onto food preparation surfaces.
Hosting for other organisations
Please inform us if you intend to host an international student from another organisation at the same time as one of our students is with you, as we need to know who is living in the home when one of our students is there. Our strict policy is never to accommodate two clients of the same first language together at the same host family at the same time.
On receipt of a booking we may contact you to ask if you would like to host the student for the duration of their programme. You have the right to decline a booking. However, should you accept the student we will then send you a Homestay Information Letter. This letter will provide the following information:
Student’s name, gender, age (if known) nationality, profession plus any other relevant information e.g. special dietary needs or allergies
Arrival and departure dates and estimated time of arrival and departure
Reminder to help the student find their way to school on public transport
An outline of the client’s weekly timetable and social activity programme
A 24 hour contact telephone number in case of emergencies
Cancellation, postponement & curtailment
Should a student cancel before their course start date, you will be informed as soon as possible. However, you will not receive any compensation for this. In the event that a student simply postpones his / her course to a later date, you will be offered the chance to host this student at the later date. Should a student leave the programme or your home earlier than planned, for whatever reason, you will receive payment on a pro rata daily basis for the days that the student was staying with you. You will not receive any compensation for the days when you were not hosting. We also reserve the right to remove a student from your home following a complaint, without compensation.
What happens next?