Homestay with a British family

Our friendly families will help you adapt to our British way of life when you have a break from school.  Join their family for the weekend and enjoy a great British welcome.  Homestay - your home away from home.

How we support international students

Host family group shot with their students

Hosts, homestays and your UK family

Being at school is a vital part of your education in the UK, but it’s also important to have a change of scene, unwind, meet new people and try out different cultural experiences whenever you get the chance.

If you would like a homestay experience, then we’ll arrange for you to stay with one of our fantastic host families during short breaks and holidays away from school.

Specially selected by Academic Families, your friendly host will provide care and support when you aren’t at school. They’ll enjoy getting to know you and will go the extra mile to help you feel at home while you relax, have fun and enjoy UK family life.

Your home away from home

Host family building snowman with Chinese student

If you stay in the UK during weekend breaks (sometimes called leave outs or exeats), half-terms or holidays, then you’ll stay with one of our friendly host families.

We work with lots of different types of host families but they all provide a high level of care, attention and support whenever you stay with them. They are interested in supporting an international student just like you and want you to feel at home and join in with their family life.

Host families in the UK

We try very hard to match your host family’s interests with yours so you can feel relaxed, enjoy the experience and develop long lasting relationships.

You might stay with one host family during your entire time in the UK, or you might stay with different families over the years. It all depends on what you prefer and on the availability of our hosts. Sometimes switching can be a real advantage since you'll meet even more new people and learn how different families live in the UK.

Some of our hosts are probably around the same age as your parents; others might be younger or older. Some have their own children who will quickly feel like your own siblings.

One thing is for sure - whichever family you stay with, we will all do our best to make sure you are safe, happy and successful!

What about pets?

Student with host's dog

At boarding school, your House Parent may have a cat or dog that you’ll see around the campus, but it won’t be allowed into your boarding house where you sleep.

If you've always wanted a pet or you are worried that you might miss a pet you have grown up with, we can try to place you with a host family who has a pet. If you don't like pets or have an allergy, that's okay too! Be sure to let us know of your preferences in our initial conversations.

Many British families, including our host families, have pets which can often feel like your own adopted pet. For example, watch our video below with Jen Pin, an international student from Taiwan who stayed with one of our host families and quickly fell in love with their dog Shumi.

Academic Families student playing with dog

Adjusting to your homestay in the UK

Everyone has their own ideas about what makes a great homestay. We expect our hosts and our students to accept and respect each other’s cultural and religious differences.

Before you arrive, we’ll pass on lots of helpful information to your host, like your religious beliefs, what you like and don’t like to eat and the kind of activities you enjoy.

You’ll find our hosts are always kind, easy going and understanding. They’re patient and diplomatic too, especially with things like language barriers and cultural differences.

Making lifelong friends in the UK

Host family with student

Lucan has stayed with Margaret and Alan since he first came to school in the UK. Every exeat and half-term he goes and stays with them and after two years, he is definitely one of the family!

Lucan loves being out in the fresh air on long hikes with the family, and if it's raining, there is always something interesting to do. For example, Alan works at a premium car retailer and has even taught Lucan how to fix cars!

Lucan also has local friends who live nearby, so he is able to spend time with British kids his own age.

Activities with your host family

Our hosts really love what they do, especially getting to know you and sharing tips about being a teenager in the UK. Your host will encourage you to embrace family life, including doing light chores like making your bed every morning and tidying up after meals. But your host also understands that at times you might need some downtime to relax on your own or catch up on revision, study or sleep, or meet up with school friends.

If you have a lot of prep or homework to do during your visit, tell your host as soon as possible so they don’t plan too many activities for you and can make sure you have plenty of time for quiet study.

Some of our students use homestays to develop their English language skills or learn about UK culture and history. You might make the most of your visit by:

  • exploring nearby towns and villages,
  • shopping,
  • going to the cinema or theatre,
  • visiting museums, galleries and tourist sites.

Others enjoy home-based activities such as:

  • cooking and eating together,
  • playing an instrument,
  • walking the dog,
  • relaxing in the garden,
  • playing cards or board games,
  • being with the family and developing their social skills.

Your host will chat to you about your interests and find out what you’d like to try during a homestay.

Multiple levels of support

Academic Families offers continuous support from the idea of going to boarding school in the UK to the day your child graduates.

Full Support

Basic Coverage

Emergency Care

We’ve been host to quite a number of students from all over the world. We decided to become hosts because we like young people and see hosting as an extension of our traveling. Also, we like to learn about other cultures, maybe cultures of countries that we haven’t come across or travelled to. It has really been an eye opener on many occasions and it keeps us going!

Our own daughters went to boarding school and it's been really nice for us to think that we can help international students to settle into their life here. We're always interested what they want to do or if they want to learn anything from us. We play games, do a bit of cooking and we chat to make them feel relaxed.

Morag & Jim, Host Family, UK

Have a question?

question mark

You'll probably have many questions about the exciting times that lie ahead. We are here to reassure you about the help that's available to support your education adventures in the UK.

Message us via the Live Chat feature or complete our enquiry form and one of our team members will contact you whenever you prefer.

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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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