Settle in and feel at home

Starting school  - we will help you prepare for your new school, settle in quickly and make new friends. We want you to be confident and happy from your first day.

How we support international students

Host family and student building snow man

Settling into the UK

Being away from home can sometimes be a little strange in the beginning. Don’t worry if you feel homesick or you’re missing your parents, friends or even your usual food. That’s only natural.

Living and studying in the UK is all about meeting new people, trying new things and discovering new ways to enjoy yourself while you’re here! Your House Parent and school will make sure you’ve got lots of exciting things to do while you settle in. Keeping busy and making friends will soon help you feel welcome and included.

What if I get homesick?

Sometimes it can take a few weeks or even the first term to feel at home in a new school and get to know teachers and other students well.

Moving away from home can be challenging especially if your family and friends are in a different time zone and can sometimes seem far away. Your new life in the UK can feel a bit strange initially and even after you return from holidays at home. You may feel a little sad – tearful even – anxious, and not able to concentrate fully in lessons.

Don’t worry – your feelings are quite normal and experienced by lots of other boarders.

Boarding school helps you learn to be independent from your parents - you learn how to cope when things aren’t always great. This is a very useful skill that will support you well throughout life.

Here's a few tips to beat homesickness:

  • Make sure you get enough sleep.
  • Keep yourself very busy - try all the new things on offer at school. Don’t sit in your room messaging or calling home when all the students are playing football or chatting - join in.
  • If you really can’t face joining in, then give us a call or find a member of staff at school to have a quiet chat with and tell them how you feel – they will be looking out for you!

However you may be feeling, remember that everyone feels the same way at some point and many of the other students will be looking for new friends – you’re not alone! Find someone at school you can share your feelings with and remember that before you know it, your new life will feel very familiar and you’ll have settled in with lots of new friends!

When I first came to school, to prevent my homesickness I used to Skype my parents and my friends every single day.

I mostly felt homesick just before the holidays when I was looking forward to seeing my parents.

Now I am not homesick at all. I Skype my parents only once week. I’ve settled in.

Anatoly, 14-year old student from Russia

Extra support from people who understand


Academic Families offers continuous support from the idea of going to boarding school in the UK to the day you graduate.

We offer a wide variety of services to handle everything you need, and we have the experience to know how to manage any situation.

At Academic Families, we treat each student individually – no one gets lost in the shuffle!

What does a UK guardian do?

Full Support

Basic Coverage

Emergency Care

Although you might think that boarding school staff, host families or friends living nearby can act as a guardian, there's many situations that require a professional.

For example, Academic Families has local staff across the UK and we are on-hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year so we can quickly fix problems such as getting stuck in the airport or even simply running out of cash while in town or on a school trip. Since we started our business in 2012, we have never found a problem we couldn't resolve!

As the days go by, we're also here to make sure you settle in at boarding school - making new friends, trying new activities and enjoying your classes. We can even help you find a tutor if you need a bit of extra help academically, and we invite you on our holiday trips during school term breaks so you can get out and about in the UK and even visit other countries.

As your appointed guardian, Academic Families can take care of everything and anything you need!

Have a question?


You'll probably have many questions about the exciting times that lie ahead. We are always available to support you before, during and after your time in the UK.

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

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Help is at hand any time

Host family with student

UK boarding schools typically require international students under the age of 18 to have an appointed guardian. This person or company should be someone close to your school to help you at any time.

Your guardian will also find you a local British family to welcome you into their home so you have a safe, comfortable place to stay when you have a short break from school.

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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