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This article appeared on the website ‘Money Magpie’, here https://www.moneymagpie.com/make-money/hosting-foreign-students



moneymagpie_hosting-foreign-students_foreign-studentsThere are thousands of English language schools, social clubs, colleges and universities around the country with foreign students looking for places to stay while they learn.

Students at different institutions have varying accommodation needs.


For example, there foreign students learning English as a foreign language who are usually only here for about six weeks.

Lots of language schools run summer programmes for teenage foreign students, although during term time they have students of all ages for varying periods of time.

There are two types of hosting English Language students:

  • The first is the easiest – you’re expected to provide house and board for a student who’ll then go to a language school or organised activities during the day. In the evenings and their free time they can come and go as they please. This is very flexible. Different schools will expect different types of board, from just bed and continental breakfast to full board. You can choose whether to let the students cook or use your laundry facilities, phone and internet.
  • The second option is providing accommodation, food and tuition for a certain proportion of the day. To do this you’ll be expected to have some sort of qualification in teaching English as a foreign language, preferably a TEFL.


Then there are university students and lecturers who can be in the country for up to six months at a time.

Universities often run exchange programmes and will need accommodation for students for a term or a semester.



If you want to start hosting foreign students then your first port of call is a local language school.

They’ll have an accommodation officer who’ll be in charge of a database of host families.

To get on the database you’ll probably have to undergo a home inspection and be within a reasonable distance of the school.

If you’re close to a university, visit their website and try and find the accommodation office. If they don’t have a section about hosting foreign students then give them a call, see if they do it and if so how you can get involved. Find universities close to you on the UCAS website.


You can also look for adverts in your local paper and ask around. Even local football clubs do exchanges and need accommodation for foreign players. Put an ad up for free on Gumtree too so that anyone in your area can get in touch.


Different organisations will have different requirements for their students so find out what they need from hosts.

If you’re hosting teenagers who are doing an exchange, for example, you are likely to be asked to provide all their meals, pick them up from school and more.

Hosts are expected to provide a light breakfast as part of the cost, and can choose to provide other meals also at an additional cost to the student.


moneymagpie_making-extra-money-do-i-have-to-pay-extra-tax_moneyWhat you can charge depends on where you live, what your home’s like and what facilities you include as part of the rent. Hosting foreign students in London (bed and breakfast) you can make around £100 a week, (or about £150 with dinner).

You can charge extra for use of the internet or to do laundry, if you’re willing to. Alternatively, including this in the price is a goodwill gesture and will give you more favourable feedback, encouraging the organisation to use you again.

If you are able to host foreign students in a posh house with a bathroom en suite you can charge more – around £200 a week. Often mature students will prefer a double bed and en suite, so if you can offer this, then you’ll be better off.

Outside London, the going rate for hosting foreign students can vary from about £35 to £80 per week with central locations in bigger cities getting the top prices. The organisation you host for will probably give you an idea of acceptable prices. Charging too much will dissuade them from placing students with you, so be reasonable.

Because you have a tax-free allowance on revenue made from your home, your income from renting a room is likely to be completely tax free. You can make up to £7,500 a year before you start paying tax.


The only expenses you’ll incur when hosting foreign students are the extra costs of food and maybe a few bills


A good way to approach breakfast is to have a decent selection of bread, cereals and juice for students to choose from in the morning. This way they can grab whatever they want and go.

If you’re providing dinner you can reduce your costs by including the student in your family evening meal. Cooking a separate meal for them isn’t cost or time effective.

Be flexible – younger children may not want to eat certain things so it’s always good to cook popular dishes that you know they’ll like.


Although having another person in the house may increase energy costs, if you already have a family it shouldn’t be much more.

The to watch are phone bills – the best way is to make sure students always use a phonecard with a freephone access number so you don’t incur any costs. However, many of them will have their own mobile phone so that shouldn’t be so much of an issue.


You also need to make sure that your home contents insurance is up to date and notify your insurance company that you have paying guests.


moneymagpie_hosting-foreign-students_room-for-rentWe think that hosting foreign students in your spare room is a brilliant way to make money and meet new people.

You get to learn about foreign cultures, forge new relationships and even visit students in their home countries in the future.

And if you don’t get on with one student you’re safe in the knowledge that they’re only there for a limited period of time so you don’t have to put up with them forever.

You might experience a culture clash now and again, but if you don’t mind coming home to unusual cooking smells in your kitchen, and you’re clear about the rules of your house, it should be fine.


Who are our students?

Living with a host family is a unique experience for our students.  Not only does it give them the opportunity to use English but it also gives students an amazing opportunity to experience the local way of life and meet local people.  Staying with a North Wales family is a unique experience for our students and we at English Plus always appreciate the amazing contribution our host families make.

Tell me more about the kind of students I might host.

We work mostly with European high school students.  The majority of these students come on trips arranged by their school and come from countries such as France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Czechia.

These school groups travel with their teachers and go out on excursions each day.  Groups usually stay for less than one week (Monday to Friday).

We also have some older students who are on work experience placements who stay 1-4 weeks.

We are also looking for families who can host accompanying school teachers.

What if I don’t speak another language?

No problem.  Students are staying with you so that they can be exposed to English.  All students speak at least the basics though many hosts do use a lot of sign language!  The golden rule for giving instructions and explaining is ‘show don’t tell’.  If you speak a little French, that’s fine – but you don’t need to.


Here to Support You

Each student and host family has a designated local coordinator plus at least one other emergency contact.  Your coordinator is available 24/7 to offer help and advice no matter what the issue.  We can offer help with food ideas, support and backup if you need it.

What if I am ill or have visitors?

Let us know.  We are there to support you and make arrangements if needed.  Don’t worry  – we are here to support you with your hosting.

What if a student gets sick when they are staying with me?

That’s what your coordinator is for!  Call your coordinator who will advise you on what to do.  You won’t be expected to stay home and nurse them or take them to hospital yourself.


We pay generous expenses for each student that you host.   Amounts vary depending on how many students and how many nights but range from £99 to £280 for 3-4 nights.

How do I get paid?

We pay everyone by bank transfer on the second day of the stay.  We wait until the second day in case a student is ill and doesn’t arrive, or there are any other last minute changes.  In the case of a last minute change, we offer compensation to cover any shopping that a host might have bought.

Will this affect my pension or other income?

We pay you expenses.  Payments are not earnings and hosts are volunteers and not employed by us.  We pay expenses to cover food, fuel and wear and tear – it is to cover the additional cost of having a student stay in your home.  It is not therefore an earning and does not affect your other income such as pensions or tax credits.

What are my responsibilities as a host?

The most important thing that host provide is a warm and welcoming stay.  Hosts eat with their students, speak with them and ask about their day.  You will also need to provide:

  • Breakfast, a packed lunch and an evening meal
  • A suitable bedroom and bathroom facilities
  • Transportation to and from a nearby meeting point in the morning (8am) and evening.

I have other commitments, will I have to take them to places during the day?

No.  They are out on trips and activities throughout the day.  You don’t need to take them out.   We understand that many hosts work, have family and other commitments.  The joy of hosting is that you can do this around your other activities.

How to Apply

  1.  Send us an email or give us a call on 01745 603148.  You can call us up to 8pm at night and at weekends.  We can answer any questions over the phone and get an idea of whether hosting is right for you.
  2. The next step is to visit you at home.  We will find out a bit more about you and your family and take a look at the room the student would be staying in.  We only need to see the student room and any communal rooms (kitchen, living room, bathroom).  At that time, we will answer any questions, explain how things work and complete any paperwork.
  3. Once we have checked any references / DBS, we can add you to our list of host families.  We contact you with possible hosting dates and you let us know your availability.
  4. That’s it!  The next step is to get ready to welcome your first students!