Taking in foreign exchange students... official MoneySavingExpert.com discussion
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Former_MSE_Lawrence ResearcherFormer MSE
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We ended up with one of the teachers staying with us who had tagged along for the trip but didn't speak english so it made for a rather interesting time. but i'm sure we got the teacher and not a student due to my age. i may be wrong....
6 trips. French kids, aged 13-18. One French "organiser", one French driver, 3-4 teachers.
Each coach came from a single school, so the kids knew each other and had chosen which of their mates they were going to be with in the host homes.
Kids had to be placed in 2s or 3s. It was not possible to ever take a single child.
As for the adults, the teachers could not stay at the same address as the children. The organiser and driver should be separate from the teachers. If the organiser and driver were the same sex they could share a room.
So if you aren't keen on putting up kids, then when you see adverts for host families, check out if you can take in the adults. However, there are a few extra things to think about if you're taking in the adults.
e.g. As the organiser, I liked it best when the driver/organiser/teachers could walk to the bus from where they were staying. This meant they weren't reliant on getting a lift from the host family. It also meant they were all first on the bus and last off - I thought "good for kid control" .... but I hadn't banked on French kids being like they are.... they were perfectly behaved. And polite. They'd greet each other with a handshake. Not like Brit kids, all scruffy, kicking each other, shouting and running around. None of that!
The "pay" was about £13/night for kids. About £15.50/night for adults.
Trips were usually 4 nights long. So "earnings" would be:
kids: £13x4x3 - four nights, three kids = £156
adults: £15x4x3 - four nights, three adults = £180
For that you had to provide:
Breakfast, with a hot drink
Packed lunch of: 2 filled rolls, piece of fruit, chocolate bar/cake, soft drink
Evening meal: 2 courses
Lift to/from the coach pick up point each morning/evening (walking up to 1 mile was acceptable). Coaches left by 8.20 and got back about 7pm
So ... it's worthwhile looking into this if you can. Find out what the rules/deal is in your local area. I even had people driving up to 15 miles to pick up the kids and drop them off each day - for them it wasn't about the money - it was about their own kids mixing with French kids.
If you've only got one single bedroom ... then still phone if you think you could offer a bed to one of the adults. You never know what needs the host organiser has - and it's different each trip. I had one where I had one male teacher and 3 female teachers. Always tricky placing one male teacher as he couldn't share (by the rules I was using) with the driver/organiser.
Every school is different. There are long and short trips. Every trip organiser company work to completely different rules, with different nationalities, requirements and expectations. So give the adverts a call and see what their deal is!
We started doing this in April and since then have had three student. All of which have been lovely, so polite and cleaned up after themselves and weren't noisy.
A woman from the school came and checked out our home and ensured it met safety standards such as having a gas safety certificate and then our first student moved in that weekend.
What i find great about it is you get to meet new people, helps pay the bills and you earn more money than you would if you were renting out the room. Also the person isn't with you for that long, so you know you'll have the place to yourself sooner or later. Well worth it and great to meet people from different cultures.
From memory the money was very good. We had to provide a bedsit type room for the student and had to offer them a cooked meal each night.
They were basically to be treated as a family member but we put a telly in their room in case they didn't want to watch what we were watching.
From memory the pros were:-
The income was such that my Mum was able to work part time and be around for me and my sister.
We all got exposed to different cultures and customs at a young age.
The students got to practice their English on people that were keen to help them with it.
The cons were:-
restrictions on privacy - if you like to sit in your pants eating your breakfast you will have to change your habits.
some funny habits. one of the last ones we had was a Greek fellow who used to make coffee by putting the instant coffee into the cup and putting in the tiniest splash of water to make coffee paste, he'd then stir it vigourously for about 5 minutes while adding a tiny splash of water at a time. Just typing this reminds me of the racket!
Some of the students were away from home for the first time. some of them needed a bit of reminding to keep on top of basic personal hygiene isssues!
Have a look in your local Yellow Pages or Thompson Directory for the phone numbers of any language schools then give them a ring. Once you have made contact with foreign language schools they will send you further details and a form to fill in, along with a list of what is required of a host family. Im not sure if all the people living in the house need to be CRB checked, especially if you are taking in students under 16, but the schools will advise. Also not sure about gas safety checks. Look at the clasified ads in the local paper as my local paper advertises for host families in my local press. Obviously availability depends on whereabouts in the country you live - foreign language schools tend to be situated in majoe cities and they like host families to provide accommodation nearby.
Interest saved as of 25/05/11: £2,849.84 Projected term reduction as of 25/05/11: 9 years 11 months
They usually advertise in your local newspaper, sometimes in the classified.
I did this for a number of years a long time ago, I was also an organiser for a short time. It is a good means of income, especially if you can take more than one student at a time. Sometimes you can get students for just four or five days a week, these usually come all year round, it also means you get your weekends free. Others come for five or six weeks at a time, usually during school holidays. It's got its good and bad points but when you're in need of extra dosh I would recommend it.