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

Meet some of our host families


Our experienced team find a host family to best suit each international student - both in terms of interests and location.

Many of our hosts are parents and some are grandparents, some live in cities and others in rural areas - but all understand the needs of children and teenagers and will ensure their student enjoys quality relaxing breaks - not entirely spent in bed, studying, or on their phone!

We have hosts who have lived overseas, some have attended boarding school themselves when they were young, and the children of many have attended similar schools as either day or boarding pupils.

International students enjoy caring hospitality from our excellent hosts. Our hosts are all different - as are our students - but all want to support an international child to feel at home and enjoy their British education.

Getting ready to become a host family

Student brushing horse

We understand that taking an international student into your home is a big responsibility, and we work hard to make sure both the host family and the student have a fantastic experience.

Our host families are our valued and trusted partners and we provide:

  • 24/7 support.
  • transportation arrangements like airport pickups and transport to and from your home.
  • training events to share knowledge, stories and meet other hosts.

Living like a local in the UK

Academic Families' students are all full boarders, so they're based at their school most of the time during term.

Some schools close their boarding houses for an exeat weekend during the year, usually at the end of:

  • September,
  • November,
  • January,
  • March,
  • and possibly in May.

We might also ask you to host an international student during half term which is usually in October, February and May.

However, we also offer half term trips, so your student might only stay with you on an occasional day or overnight.

At other times you might be asked to host your student before or after their flight home or during longer holidays, however, the majority of students return home over Christmas, Easter and summer breaks.

Making lifelong connections in the UK

It's fairly common for students and host families to develop a close bond.

Most of our host families maintain their strong relationships with the international students they host when they leave school and go on to university.

Davina's story is a great example...

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, on their honeymoon, Mike returned with his wife to the UK and she personally wanted to thank Davina for making Mike the man he is today.

Davina 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.

host teaching student how to make drop scones

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.

Chat with us via the Live Chat feature or complete our enquiry form and one of our team will contact you as soon as possible.

“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

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

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.


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