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 group shot with their students

A child's home away from home

When an international student comes to the UK for boarding school, they will stay at their school during the week, but what about holiday weekends and term breaks?

That's where host families come in!

A host family is different from a guardian; the latter acts more like a helper and a problem solver whereas hosts provide a warm and loving atmosphere to look after students when they aren't at school.

Are you a parent looking for a host family for your child?

Academic Families has many years of experience in finding and selecting the best home environment for international students who are studying in the UK. Hosting is only available for students under our Guardianship programme.

Learn more about how our host families help your child or contact us with any questions.

Who can be a host family?

Host Family out hill walking

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

We select host families based on their skills, interests, profile and proximity to UK boarding schools. Our host families:

  • are good citizens and role models.
  • 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 a spare bedroom to offer an international student.
  • have the highest credentials, safety checks and police clearance.
  • have an international perspective.
  • have a good understanding of British education.

UK-wide host families

UK map

Our network of host families extends all across the UK and includes families living in cities, towns and rural areas.

Some of our hosts are grandparents, many are parents and others are couples who don't have any children of their own.

What do they all have in common? Each one understands the needs of international students and will ensure they balance their time between studies and enjoying quality relaxing breaks getting out and about to explore the UK while they are here.


Want to be a host family?

Schools placement

We look after students from over 40 countries and we work with dozens of families all across the UK.

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

“I have worked closely with Academic Families and have always been extremely impressed by the quality of service which the company provides.

Host families really do provide a warm and caring service for children of all ages, and a real bond is formed between them.

The company is extremely well organised, and parent and child satisfaction is always extremely high.

This is a company which really does go the extra mile on behalf of the children with which it works.”

Housemaster, Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh

What's it like to be a host family?

Some of our host families have been welcoming international students into their homes for more than 10 years. Listen to a few of their stories below.


How do host families help international students?

Many of our host families have been caring for international students for more than 10 years, going the extra mile to ensure all our students feel at home throughout their school years in the UK.

Safety and security

Advice and guidance

Emotional support

Develop social skills

Practice languages skills with native English speakers

Navigate cultural differences

Who are our host families?

host teaching student how to make drop scones

Our host Davina welcomed in Mike while he went to a nearby boarding school. They formed a lasting bond.

Mike performed well at school, went on to university and finally returned home. Through the years, he often remembered Davina and the life skills she taught him - especially cooking and ironing!

Many Christmas cards and years later, Mike returned with his wife to the UK on their honeymoon to meet Davina, who was delighted to host Mike one more time and extend her international family further. They had lots to remember, catch up on and laugh about.

Hosting is more than a weekend - it's building relationships for life.

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
Half term trips

Discover Dubai or London or Best of UK Tour
October Half-Term

Ski in Europe
February Half-Term

Adventure in Greece
May Half-Term

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.


© 2024 Academic Families | Academic Families is a Safer Recruiter