Welcoming an international student into your home

Host families provide a home away from home where
a student can go during school breaks.

How we support host families

Host family and Chinese student enjoying a coffee

The benefits of hosting

By welcoming one of our students and guiding them through UK life during a homestay, you'll be opening up a whole world of opportunities where everyone learns from each other. In short, you give a little and gain a lot!

By sharing your family life and experiences, you'll be helping our international students learn new life skills and gain confidence at a key time in their development.

When you welcome our students into your home, you'll be helping them feel like a part of your family, experience UK culture, learn positive life lessons and assimilate more easily. Because Academic Families takes care of all the time-consuming arrangements and funds the fun, as a host you're free to focus on making your student feel at home and enjoy your time together.

What does Academic Families do?

Academic Families provides guardianship care to international students who come to boarding school in the UK. This encompasses looking after students, as well as managing host families.

We are responsible for our students when they are not in school and we liaise with parents, schools and hosts to ensure international students are well looked after.

Hosts do not make any direct arrangements - they simply enjoy the fun of hosting! International students come to the UK for schooling and also to improve their language skills, make new friends and experience UK culture. Spending time with a host family is a great way to enrich their experience.

Benefits for UK families

Hosting an international student also offers great benefits for your own family including:

  • Bringing an international perspective to your home and family life.
  • Inspiring your children to have the confidence to speak another language or think about going on a school exchange abroad.
  • Developing your children's social and hosting skills.
  • Great company and the opportunity to learn about other cultures.
  • Keeping up to date with the changing world around us!
  • It is a safe environment to develop children’s/grandchildren’s hosting and social skills as all the family are involved and supportive.
  • Encourage children/grandchildren to make international friends and empathise with their ‘bravery’ away from their own family.
  • Single children, or those whose elder siblings have left home, enjoy their company.
  • An opportunity for lifelong friendships around the world!
  • Extra cash and all expenses covered

Benefits for international students

Academic Families' hosts provide safe, welcoming support for international students when they're far from their own family. Being at school is a vital part of our students' education in the UK, but it's also important to have a change of scene, unwind, meet new people and try out different experiences.

As a host you'll be offering your student a valuable life experience by:

  • Providing a friendly, comfortable home away from home where they can relax out of school.
  • Offering a positive introduction to a new culture by explaining how we live in the UK and guiding your student socially.

Your student will have time away from school to:

  • Increase their feeling of belonging and reduce any feeling of social isolation.
  • Reflect on their own culture, lifestyle and family.
  • Understand how people live in the UK and what they like to do.
  • Be introduced to new skills and activities.
  • Develop their socialising skills.


Safety and security

Advice and guidance

Emotional support

Make new friends and
develop social skills

Practice languages skills with native English speakers

Navigate cultural

Who are our host families?

Academic Families offers a support system built on empathy, peace of mind, emotional support, guidance, and help with navigating cultural differences.

Our host families:

  • are selected for their skills, hobbies and interests.
  • are people who we would want to stay with ourselves and trust with our own children.
  • want to help international students settle into their British educational experience.
  • have the highest credentials and police clearance.
  • have an international perspective.
  • have a good understanding of British education.
Contact Academic Families

Want to be a host family?

Student winning prize

Academic Families looks after students from over 40 countries and we work with host families all across the UK.

We are always on the lookout for families who can provide a safe, welcoming homestay environment for an international student.

We are a Safer Recruiter to ensure the highest standards in child protection.

Academic Families are an amazing company. They are very professional, helpful and a pleasure to work with.

My family and I enjoy hosting children from around the world and Academic Families assist in every way to make it a pleasant and enjoyable experience for us and they also support the children 100%. They want to make sure you as the host are as happy as the children you are hosting.

A 10/10 service. Recommend highly!

Jan, host family in Edinburgh

From our blog

How do you match students and host families?

It’s a question we get asked a lot – by parents, students and hosts! We understand the importance of getting a match that works well

How to be a great host family for an international student

Preparing to welcome an international Boarding School student into your home is an exciting time. You’ll be playing an important role in helping an international
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Quality you can trust

Academic Families has personal and professional experience with boarding schools. Many of our staff attended boarding schools themselves when they were young or have worked in them. We have all lived overseas and most of us are mothers, so we understand how important it is to find the very best education for every child no matter where that might be in the world.

From our headquarters in Edinburgh to our local staff across the UK, our team regularly visits hundreds of British schools. Our excellent knowledge of the UK education system, accreditation by the Boarding School Association (BSA) and certification from the British Council means we understand UK boarding education from the inside and out, and know how to ensure the best education for each child.

In addition, our guardianship service has been Gold accredited by AEGIS (the Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students) since 2016 and also by the BSA, so you know, with Academic Families, you're guaranteed to have the best local support anywhere in the UK.

Moreover, our team are trained MHFA Mental Health First Aiders so we are qualified to support our students with any wellbeing and mental health concerns.


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