Are you an international student curious to learn more of the British way of life? Do you want a break from your university, chance to see unknown parts of the country and meet the people who live here?
HOST arranges for international students studying in the UK to spend a day or a weekend in a British home to promote international friendship and cultural exchange. Thanks to the support of the University of the West of England, students can spend a weekend or a day in a British home for completely FREE.
“A HOST visit isn’t about tourism,” Comments HOST’s Student Programme Manager, Kimberley Brough, “It’s a way for international students to get really involved in the home-life of British people, and for British people to welcome a guest. A HOST visit is a unique and enjoyable way for both hosts and students to meet new people, learn about different cultures, and ultimately find out that we’re not so different after all.”
Amanda, a University of the West of England student, visited hosts in Cornwall in December 2012 and had the time of her life. “My HOST visit has been an endearingly educational trip for me.” Wrote Amanda “The host was inexplicably the most generous, warm and hospitable host to my friend and I, and was very informative about her experiences in the area and history of the town. Apart from an enriching experience, such a HOST visit plays an important role in allowing us to become ambassadors of our own country with the exchange of cultural values and experience. It is also a wonderful thing to build a relationship with the host as they can be a possible ally in a strange new place for international students.”
With millions of international students studying in the UK every year, it’s incredible how many still feel unwelcome and lonely whilst in the country. Between language barriers, Visa difficulties and study pressures, studying in the UK can be a stressful experience. HOST aims to give all international students the chance to get away from all this and, importantly, meet someone based in the UK who can help and support them. With the hospitality of over 1000 volunteer hosts across Britain and Northern Ireland, HOST has spent 26 years building bridges across cultures and turning an unknown country into a home for thousands of international students.
If you feel a bit wary of entering a stranger’s home alone, you shouldn’t worry. “All hosts on our books are known personally by the organisation” confirms Kimberley, “they are all visited at home and spoken to regularly. We also take feedback from students after each visit, to ensure everything went smoothly.” If you’re still not sure, you can go on a visit with one friend, as long as he or she is an international student, or your partner or children under 16.
There are many organisations offering time in a British home, but many of these are accommodation, with hosts being paid to invite a student. HOST is different because students are welcomed into the homes of volunteers who invite people because they love the experience and what to meet new people, learn about new cultures, and welcome people to the country.
You can apply for a HOST visit all year around whilst you are an international student in the UK. For more information and to apply, please visit www.hostuk.org.