Become a Host Family for an International Student

Being a Host Family for an international Student can be incredibly rewarding experience as you welcome someone from a different culture into your home.  Students come from many different backgrounds, with different customs and family lives and as a host you have the priviledge to help them learn to adapt to life and school in the UK, as well as British Customs and ways of living.  Many of the students which come here to study are looking to get good grades and progress onto British Universities, or are looking to improve their English and understanding of the UK before returning home.  

Whatever the reason, hosting can provide a great opportunity as you get to know the young person in your care, sharing experiences and learning together, as they adapt to life in the UK.

“We have been hosting foreign students for about 5 years now. During that time we have welcomed about 20 students into our home. Every one of them has bravely left family and friends to come to a new country to improve their English. It’s been a privilege to get to know these young people, to support and enjoy them as they settle into school and make friends here.
We have shared meals, board games, films and outings. It has been a lot of fun and we have made some very special friends”. (JD Host Mother)

Why host?

Do you have a spare bedroom?
Do you live in Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex or Cambridgeshire?
Why not consider hosting an international student?  

Some of the benefits of being a host family are:

  • An opportunity to share your family life and learn about different cultures and traditions
  • Enabling a student to improve their knowledge of the English language, often gaining excellent results at school
  • A rewarding experience as you help a student achieve when in the UK
  • Regular weekly payments whilst the student is in your home

We are looking for hosts who can provide a safe and secure environment and we welcome applications from people of different ages, backgrounds and family situations


Student welfare is our priority and at Alpha Guardians we provide comprehensive support to all our host families, students and schools from our experienced team. We also provide an Emergency Service 24/7 for anything which occurs outside of normal hours.

No question or query is too small.

What Happens Next?

Once we receive your application we will:

  • Arrange a visit to you at home, where we will explain the requirements and reality of hosting a student, answer any questions you may have, and have a look at the student’s bedroom
  • Take up DBS checks on all members of the household over the age of 16, along with two references
  • Training will be provided, once all the checks have been completed
  • Placement of a Student – when a suitable student is found for you, we will provide you with their information and contact details so you can get to know them before they arrive in the UK
  • Arrival of the student – we will send you information regarding the students arrival and where to collect them
  • Ongoing Support – Alpha Guardians will be available 24/7 to support you and the student


Some of the most common frequently asked questions are addressed here.

Can we take our students out with us?

You are welcome to take your student out with you and we encourage this wherever possible. Whether for a meal, the cinema or meeting up with family friends, students often enjoy these things and many will come from families where they enjoy activities and socialising together.

If you are feeling more adventurous, students are always keen to go to London, as well as other UK cities with you.

Do I need to set Household Rules?

Host families are strongly advised to implement household rules with the student from the outset of their stay with you. We would recommend that they are discussed during the first few days after the student has arrived in your home and may include the timings of the meals, which fruit and snacks are ‘help yourself,’ how to use and leave the bathroom after use, what time they need to be home etc. Many of these can be done through chatting together as you introduce them to your home and family.

How are the students selected?

Each student is different and some just require holiday accommodation such as half terms with others wanting to stay for a term or longer.

We also understand that hosts circumstances can change and so do not ask hosts for long term commitments, other than for the next holiday period or term for which they are able to accept or decline.

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 can change during this time, and the commitment to host for a long period of time can seem daunting, and if this happens we can arrange for the student to be moved.

What age are the students?

The students on the programme are aged 11 – 19. Some will join us for year 7 (1st year at high school), while others will join in other years. The main entry points are year 10 (GCSE) and year 12 (A Levels), but students can come at any age.

What do students do at weekends?

At weekends students will often study, along with contacting family and friends at home. They may go out and meet up with their friends, go to the cinema or go shopping.

What if I encounter problems with the student’s behaviour?

We expect all of our students to behave to high standards however, we do recognise that teenagers are not without fault and some may display behaviour which is unacceptable. It may be a misunderstanding or a cultural difference but no problem should be too small to address. All students should adhere to household rules, as well as school rules and UK Law. If you become aware of an issue we recommend discussing it with your student, however if the behaviour does not improve, please contact the Alpha Guardians Team for advice and support.

What type of food will the student eat?

Students are expected to eat what you and your family are eating each day and we encourage you all to sit together for the evening meal, where you can ask after the students day, and they you. Students let us know in advance of their food preferences and any allergies.

What type of Host Family are you looking for?

There is no ‘normal’ family! Our host families come from many different backgrounds, ages and family situations. There are as many different types of students as there are many different types of host families, including single parents, couples with or without children at home and retired people. Whatever your situation, status or background, if you are able to offer a safe and secure home for an student please apply.

Will I be paid for hosting a student?

You will receive a weekly payment directly into your bank account when the student is living in your home.

Will my family be able to choose the student?

Matching the right student to the right family is important. We take account of your requests when placing students with you, however, we cannot guarantee that we can fulfil all of your requirements. You may refuse any student you do not feel is appropriate for your family.

Contact Us

For more information on our services, please complete the form below;