- 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 training prior to having a student placed in their care, which provides additional information to the host regarding the student, 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 home. 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.
- 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. Please indicate your preferences on the application form.
- My English is not good enough
We can arrange private additional English tuition to help your English improve from the outset of your time in the UK to ensure swift progress in your language skills. We also suggest that you converse in English with your host family whenever possible, as this will help you build your confidence, vocabulary 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 studies.
- What will my host family be like?
Host families come from a range of different backgrounds and ages. They could be a single or married, families with or without 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.
The family you have been placed with has been especially selected for you, reflecting your requirements, interests and special requests.
- 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, have got safely through customs and can retrieved all their luggage, before traveling to the homestay or school.
After this, the Guardianship Team will accompany you on your first day of school whenever possible, meeting the school staff and ensuring everything is in place for a smooth start at your school. You will then receive regular visits both at your homestay or school to ensure you are settling well along with interim communications. You are also able to contact us via phone, email, text, whatsapp and social media.
Outside office hours, we can be contacted by the Emergency phone, to which all students, schools 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.