Become a host family


Many of the programmes run by EIL UK still include homestay as we believe it is the best way for young people to get the most from their experience. We are constantly looking for enthusiastic families to become hosts for an international visitor.

Why homestays?

Donald B. Watt had a clear vision for creating a more peaceful world through homestays which guides the Experiment movement until this day:

“In the long search for ways to One World, we have began to find an open door. It is the door to your home and to every home on earth. The most important educational institution in existence is still the home… our national life without the education of the home is unthinkable. Our international life without an opening door is untenable, as two world wars have proved.

Now for the first time we have a world government, but because it is new and because the countries involved do not sufficiently trust one another, we see that freedom from fear cannot be created from legislation alone. Neither can our chiefs of state, diplomats nor delegates release us from the expanding circles of suspicion.

The kind of broad maturity that will make us citizens fit for One World can be achieved only by changing the foreigners we suspect into friends whom we trust. It can be done.”

1947 Experiment journal

What types of visitors might we host?

Your visitor will always be an individual from a different country and culture – they may be a university student, high school student or older. They will be coming to stay because they want to learn about and experience British culture and family life, and often want to improve their English language skills. They will probably want to share information about their home life and culture with you too.

How long do visitors stay with host families?

Visitors may come for a couple of days or a couple of weeks. Some come for longer periods, for example a month, an academic term or an academic year. When you apply to EIL UK to become a host family you will decide which length of visit suits you and your family.

What will the visitor do while they are staying with us?

The visitor may be attending a local school so will be out during weekdays in term time. Sometimes they will be out on trips, activities or having language lessons. You will be asked to spend some time with them, and take them on trips or other recreational activities.

However, when the visitor is in your home we ask that you spend time talking to them, sharing your life and experiences, and taking an interest in theirs to make them feel welcome.

What will EIL ask of me – the host?

We expect you to have space for the visitor –generally a room of their own. You will provide all meals for them during their stay, including packed lunches (if necessary) and a cooked meal at least once a day. Laundry facilities for your visitor to use at least once a week will also be necessary. You will also need to have a sensitivity to the cultural differences between you and your visitor, be able to understand their needs and explain your own.

Is there payment for being a host family?

EIL UK Host Families are volunteers and do not receive payment for hosting.  By eliminating monetary incentives, EIL UK ensure that families are hosting for the right reason – because they are genuinely interested in the visitor. However we do pay expenses towards the cost of accommodation for the visitor.

What support will we receive as a host family?

You will join a ‘Host Family Community’ of several host families within an area coordinated by an EIL Local Representative. The Local Representative will select, monitor and support the host families in their community, and act as the first point of contact in the event of difficulties or problems. Local Representatives receive ongoing support via EIL UK staff to ensure that best practice is shared.

What is the process for applying to be a host family?

Please call us for an informal chat on 01684 562577. You will then be asked to complete an application form, giving information about you, your family, your home, your interests and your preferences for hosting. You will also be asked for references.

Once your application form has been received at EIL UK you will be contacted by either a Local Representative or staff member to arrange a home visit. During this an EIL UK representative will meet you and your family, talk you through next steps, check through accommodation details and ensure that your DBS enhanced disclosure is completed.