We are always looking out for special people who are interested in acting as a host family. There's a wide variety of rewarding reasons for taking on such a responsibility.
It may be that you have teenage children of your own who would welcome the companionship of a contemporary and would enjoy the company of friends from a different culture and upbringing. It may be that your children have grown up and left home but you feel you still have something to contribute as surrogate parents. You may simply enjoy the company of young people. You may have a connection with a particular school and want to do something that would help that school and its pupils and staff, or you may have a broad interest in education and a desire to play your own part in promoting understanding between nations.
If you are one of such people we hope that you will get in touch with us. We would then arrange to meet you and visit your home, and we would take you through the rather lengthy but very necessary process of filling in forms and providing documentation so that you can be verified as an appropriate person to have care of children.
The needs of each of our students are different. As a general rule, though, they will want to know that they can visit your home and sometimes stay overnight on a number of weekends during a normal term, and many will wish to stay with you for most or all of half-term breaks and – in some cases – for parts of the school holidays. They will be treated as new, but ordinary, members of your household and they will expect to fit in with the way the rest of your family does things.
Some host families like to take a close interest in the activities of their student in school. For example, they may attend concerts or sports fixtures in which their student is involved, or they may go along to social functions or parent/teacher meetings in order to represent their student's own parents.
Naturally we do not expect you to undertake these duties (and incur the expense involved) without some recompense. We ensure that you are paid a termly retainer ('responsibility allowance') as well as an overnight and daily allowance to cover food and accommodation. Any travel undertaken on the student's behalf is reimbursed to you as soon as you claim it from us, as are any further out-of-pocket expenses such as outings, fares, purchase of clothing, and so on.
Judging by the universal comments of our practised host families, we can promise you a rewarding experience and the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a major contribution to the richness of a young person's journey into adulthood. We hope you will want to give it a try!