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This article appeared on the website ‘Money Magpie’, here https://www.moneymagpie.com/make-money/hosting-foreign-students
HOW DO I GET INTO HOSTING FOREIGN STUDENTS?
Students at different institutions have varying accommodation needs.
ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
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.
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND LECTURERS
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.
STEP 1: CONTACT SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES
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.
STEP 2: LOOK AT ADS
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.
STEP 3: CHECK THE RULES AND REQUIREMENTS
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.
HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE WITH FOREIGN STUDENTS?
What 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.
ARE THERE ANY HIDDEN COSTS?
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.
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.