HOMESTAY GUIDELINES FOR STUDENTS
We hope that you will find this information sheet useful. As customs in different countries vary, you may occasionally be surprised by the way things are done here in the UK.For example, it is not usual for a family in London to employ a maid, so your host is likely to take care of the home themselves. Britannia staff are always available to answer your questions. The following information is designed to help you understand:
What you can
expect of your hosts
A homestay does not provide guests with a service similar to a hotel. We guarantee you a high standard of accommodation with friendly hosts, all of whom we know personally. Your host is there to help you but not to serve you. Politeness and friendliness are a normal part of English family life and it is customary to say Good morning, Good evening and thank you to your hosts when they have been helpful. They should do the same.
If you wish to play music, or if your room has a TV, please keep the volume low and respect your hosts need for quiet, both at bed-time and possibly at other times during the day. If you wish to plug in your own appliances such as computer or radio, please check with your host first. The UK uses appliances with 220 volts, which is different from some other countries such as the USA and some Latin American countries.
Your host will change your bed sheets and pillowcases once a week.
Some hosts may have a private study room, which is not for the use of other family members and guests.Bedrooms are always private.
Your host is responsible for cleaning the communal areas of the house, but you should help keep the home tidy by not leaving your belongings around.
In winter, homes are centrally
heated. Heating is normally regulated by a timer
and set to go off at certain times of the day when the
family is not at home. If you are not warm enough,
please discuss this with your host. It is advisable
to keep a woollen cardigan or jacket handy for extra
warmth in or out of the home. English homes are not
usually air-conditioned in summer but the climate is
rarely unbearably hot and rooms can be cooled by opening
The number of bathrooms per home will vary and, unless you have booked a room with private bathroom, you will usually have to share a bathroom with other people. It is important to be considerate and not to spend a long time bathing or showering if others are waiting to use the bathroom.
As there will be some busy times during the day (such as early in the morning) for bathroom use, it is best to agree bathroom usage times in advance with your hosts. This way you can be sure to be on time for classes and other family members can get to work or school.
Your host is responsible for cleaning the bathrooms and ensuring that they are always clean, but please leave the bathroom as you would wish to find it as there may be someone waiting to use it straight after you. Please take care not to leave a wet floor and your personal toothbrush and other items should be left tidy out of respect for others.
Your host will provide you with a
bath towel will be changed at least once a week, toilet
paper and hand washing soap, but you should purchase your
own toiletries such as toothpaste, body soap/shower
gel, shampoo etc. Please do not help yourself to
other peoples toiletries. Toilet paper should
not be removed from the bathroom for cosmetic use.
Chemist shops such as Boots offer a wide choice of good,
inexpensive bath products and cosmetics. Used
toilet paper should be disposed of in the toilet (not in
the rubbish bin) while feminine sanitary/hygienic
products and cotton wool should be disposed of in the
bathroom rubbish bin (not in the toilet).
You should offer to buy washing powder for your laundry if you are doing it yourself. If you need to use the washing machine or have your washing done more than once a week, you should ask your host if this would be possible. Some hosts may make a small charge for additional loads of laundry.
If doing your own laundry, you
should ask your host where you can hang your clothes to
dry. Clothes should not be dried in bedrooms or
Breakfast times are normally
arranged according to the time that your host has to get
to work. If breakfast time is too early or late for
you, you may have to prepare your own breakfast.
This should be discussed with your host who will explain
where to find the breakfast ingredients. It is important
to note that few English families still provide a
traditional English cooked breakfast. Your
accommodation includes Continental Breakfast.
English food may be different from what you are used to. It may be necessary for you to adapt to the new flavours or way in which food is cooked. It is unlikely that you will be provided with bottled (mineral) water as most British families drink the tap water, which is safe and palatable.
Dinners will usually consist of meat or fish with vegetables (unless you have requested to stay with a vegetarian family) followed by dessert, fruit or cheese and coffee. If there is anything you particularly dislike or cannot eat, please discuss this with your host or Britannia. If you should require help with homework, please do not bring books to the dinner table. It is better to ask for help either before or after meal times.
Continental Breakfast normally consists of fruit juice, cereal, toast or bread with butter and marmalade or jam and tea or coffee. Cheese, yoghurt, fruit and cold meat are not normally part of a Continental breakfast in England, and hosts are not expected to provide it. If you should wish to purchase extra breakfast items for yourself, please check with your host first and arrange to keep them in the refrigerator.
Lunch is not provided either on weekdays or at weekends unless special arrangements have been made in advance.
Please note, that you will not be entitled to use the kitchen except to make tea or coffee, unless you have booked self-catering accommodation
If you have booked bed and breakfast accommodation, you are expected to eat your lunch and dinner outside.However, some hosts will permit light kitchen use by prior arrangement only. This is normally restricted to microwave use, boiling pasta or reheating of ready meals and not major cooking such as frying or roasting. If your host permits light kitchen use, you should first discuss what time you may use the kitchen, which will depend upon the hosts schedule. If you need to keep food in the refrigerator, please ask your hosts permission and restrict it to small quantities. You are strongly advised NOT to bring food which requires refrigeration from your home country, as there is no guarantee that your host will have the space to store it. Please note: it is illegal to import meat products into the UK.
Please do not take any food from your hosts kitchen without asking first. Your host will provide you with the meals booked but this does not include snacks throughout the day.
If your host allows light kitchen use, this facility should be used to prepare your own meal only. Please do not invite friends to eat with you. You will be expected to wash all dishes, pots and pans and clean the kitchen thoroughly after use.
Please do not store or eat
food in your bedroom without first checking with your
It is advisable to check with your host on the earliest and latest times each day, which are convenient for you to receive calls and then advise your family and friends accordingly. In order not to inconvenience your host, you are advised to limit the number of calls you receive and restrict them to a reasonable length, so as not to tie up the telephone lines for long periods.
You are not entitled to use your hosts telephone to make outgoing calls or to connect to the Internet without permission.There are many public telephones and inexpensive Internet cafés all over London.
Some hosts will permit you to
make outgoing calls using a phone card to call out (which
can be purchased easily at many outlets in London).
Please ask permission to do this. It is, however,
advisable to make your calls from public telephones
outside the home. Unlike in some countries,
local calls are not free in the U.K.
When returning home late, please
be as quiet as possible so as not to disturb your host.
It is usually inadvisable to use the kitchen or to shower
or bathe late at night as this may also cause disturbance.
KEYS & SECURITY
CONVERSATION WITH THE HOST
You are asked not to discuss
rates of pay with your host, as this is not considered to
be polite. Your host has a contract with Britannia
and is paid by us on behalf of our clients such as
language schools and international agents. If you
have any queries about payment, or wish to extend or cut
short your stay, please contact your school, agent or
Britannia who will make the necessary arrangements,
subject to their own terms and conditions, of which you
will have been made aware at the time of booking.
HELP & ASSISTANCE
OUR 24 HOUR EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NUMBER: 020 7631 7995