- Can we take our students out?
You are welcome to take your student out with you, whether for a meal, the cinema or meeting up with family friends. Please ask the student if they would like to come with you.
- How are the students selected?
Each student goes through a selection process, including an English interview, in the student’s home country in order to ensure that they are well suited for a student exchange. Each student also submits their current school reports, teachers recommendation and application form to ensure they can cope with their academic studies and life in the UK.
- How good does my English have to be?
All students need to have a prior knowledge of English as they will be placed into an English speaking school, with all classes being taught in English. Some schools recommend students use a testing system prior to application to grade their English level to ensure they can cope with the level of English required for their studies as well as being able to communicate effectively and adapt to life in the UK.
- How is my Host Family checked?
Each of our host families goes through a vigorous application and interview procedure, followed by the taking of references and DBS checks (Police checks) to ensure suitability. Our hosts have to attend a training course prior to having a student placed in their care which provides additional information to the host such as transition to life in the UK and student safety, ensuring the best possible preparation for the host to care for the student placed in their care. After this process is complete, we endeavour to profile both the students and host families, matching as many requests and interests, likes and dislikes as possible. Once this is complete, we can introduce you to your new host family, enabling you to build relationships and get to know each other throughout the summer, prior to your arrival. Throughout your time in the UK under our guardianship, we remain in regular contact with you and your host to ensure your stay is an enjoyable one.
- How long is my course?
Both GCSE’s and A Levels are studied over a two year period, with examinations being taken at the end of the second year.
- How long will the student stay for?
Each student is different, with some wishing to come for a term and ‘try’ the experience to those planning on coming until they finish university. Students may stay for as little as one term, an academic year and some will stay for several years until they have finished their secondary schooling in the UK. We also understand that hosts’ circumstances may change during this time, making it necessary for the student to move families.
- I have a special diet. Can you accept me?
Yes. We already have a number of students with specific dietary requirements from lactose intolerance to peanut allergies, coeliacs (gluten) to vegetarians, we endeavour to cater for all students and will find a host that is able to manage a specialised diet. If this is you, please state this on your application form, so we can make provision for you as early as possible. This may incur an additional cost.
- I would like to continue some of the hobbies I had before coming to the UK. Is this possible?
Yes and we strongly encourage this. Tuition and additional lessons can be arranged and some schools are able to offer music lessons as well as school orchestras or choirs. Schools offer extra-curricular activities such as sports, crafts and academic subjects whilst other hobbies can be pursued in the local community. So whatever your hobby, ask, and we shall see what we can arrange.
- I would like to request a particular type of family, is this possible?
Whether you would like a quiet, retired family or a family with children or no children at all, we will endeavour to meet any requests you may have.
- My English is not good enough
We can arrange private additional English tuition to help with this from the outset of your time in the UK to ensure swift progress in your language skills. We also suggest that you converse with your English speaking host family whenever possible, who will help you build your confidence and encourage you in your language development.
- What happens if I don’t like my host family?
We understand that sometimes a placement just does not work out and although, if possible, we will try and facilitate any issues or concerns between student, host, parents and agent, sometimes it is necessary to move a student. When this happens we will liaise with all concerned to try and find a timely alternative, hopefully minimising any disruption to the students schooling.
- What will my host family be like?
Host families come from a range of different backgrounds and ages. They could be single people or families with children, white British or from a different ethnic background, working or not … Yet one thing that they do have in common is that they are English-speaking, have an interest in meeting young people from different cultures and a desire to make your stay enjoyable, providing a safe place for you to live and meet your daily needs.
- Will you meet me at the airport and how often will I see the Guardianship Team after that?
We offer free transport dates when the majority of our students fly into the UK and we personally accompany all of these trips, ensuring students are met in the airport terminal, get safely through customs and can manage all their luggage before travelling to your homestay or school.
After this, the Guardianship Team will accompany you on your first day of school (wherever possible), meeting with the school staff, ensuring everything is in place for a smooth start at your school You will then receive regular visits both at your homestay and at school to ensure you are settling well along with interim communications. You are able to contact us via phone, email, text and social media.
Outside office hours, we can be contacted by the Emergency phone, to which all students and hosts have the number.
Some of the most common frequently asked questions are addressed here.
Alpha Guardians is accredited by AEGIS, the Association for the Education and the Guardianship of International students.