Document 14937008

Staying with a host family
General information
The University of Cumbria arranges home-stay accommodation for you so that you
can experience the British way of life. The idea is that you become a member of a
family and the more you join in with this, the more you will get from the experience.
It’s not a hotel or a guest house (don’t expect room service!); in fact, it’s better than
that because you will be staying with people who want to talk to you and get to
know you.
Your home-stay hosts may be a couple with children, a single parent family or a
single person who welcomes overseas students. Some of the customs and habits of
your hosts may seem strange to you but you should soon get used to them.
However, if you do have worries or complaints, try to discuss them with your host, if
you can. It really is best if you and your family discuss rules, routines and
expectations at the beginning of your stay. If a problem continues, or if you feel
unable to discuss it with your host, please do not hesitate to talk to one of your
tutors. You should always feel welcome, comfortable and secure.
Your home-stay hosts will provide you with half-board accommodation during the
week and all meals at the weekend, as below:
Monday to Friday: breakfast and evening meal
Saturday and Sunday - breakfast, lunch (or a packed lunch) and evening meal
Please always tell your host if you expect to be late for a meal or if you will not
be at home for a meal. Please also make sure that you let your host know if you
have any special requirements regarding types of food etc., especially if there are
things you are allergic to.
Please respect your host family’s meal times and their eating habits. It is normal for
British families to eat cereal and/or toast for breakfast, a sandwich and/or soup for
lunch and hot food (e.g. meat, potatoes and vegetables) for dinner. Although this
may not be what you eat in Taiwan, you must remember that you’re not in Taiwan.
You will be expected to eat the same food as your host family. If you feel you need a
snack between meals, it will be your own responsibility to provide this. Families will
usually be happy for you to buy things to keep in the fridge or the cupboard. If you
want to cook something yourself, check what equipment you can use in the kitchen
and learn how to use this equipment safely.
Most families shop for several days at a time. This means that the food in the fridge
is not necessarily all for immediate consumption! Therefore, if you have been invited
to make something for yourself, please check which items you are allowed to use.
For weekday lunches, we will put money on your ‘Cumbria Card’ which you can use
to eat at one of our eating establishments on campus. Our main dining room, The
View, is on the top of our newest building and has lovely views across the river to
the Lake District mountains; there is also a snack bar on the ground floor; in
addition, we have a café, where you can have light meals and delicious cakes, and a
Social Bar, which serves things like soup and hamburgers. For days when you are
out on trips, the chef will make you a packed lunch.
If you want to use the telephone in your home-stay you must ask for permission
first and the best idea is to use a phone card. Most host families will allow students
to receive telephone calls. If you are bringing your mobile phone, then you can buy
a sim card when you arrive so that you can use your phone in the UK. Ask your
family or tutor for more information about this and see also the advice from last
year’s group.
Internet Access
Most of our families have Internet access but not all. If you are in a family which
cannot offer Internet access, you may wish to explore paying for a short period of
mobile phone internet access. The various mobile phone company shops in
Lancaster can advise you on this.
Your family will allow you to use their washing machine and ironing facilities. Please
discuss arrangements for this with your family. They may have particular days for
doing washing, for example. Dry cleaning is your own responsibility.
Showers and Baths
You will need to discuss the morning bathroom routine with your hosts. In some
families with children, it might be quite busy and you’ll need to get in and out of the
bathroom as quickly as you can. Everyone in your family might find it more
convenient if you dry your hair or do your make-up in another room, thus freeing up
the bathroom for somebody else. In fact, if you prefer to bathe in the evening, then
this might be a good time for you to do so, as British families tend to shower in the
You are expected to provide your own toiletries, i.e. shampoo, toothpaste, shower
gel and so on, and a face-cloth or sponge for washing with.
Electricity and gas are expensive in the UK and most families try to be economical
with their use of these. For example, most people do not stay in the shower for long
periods. Again, check with your family. Obviously, it’s very nice if you can fit in with
their habits; however, if you find their expectations unreasonable, talk to your tutors.
Visits by friends
It is important to ask your hosts first before you invite any friends to visit you.
Please remember also that your visitors should be reasonably quiet, especially in the
evenings. Most hosts will probably go to bed between 10 – 11 pm. If you want to
stay up later than that to do your homework or watch TV, please make sure you do
not disturb the rest of the family.
Most British families have pets – usually cats or dogs. Please be open-minded about
living with a pet. Past students have grown to love their families’ pets and you
probably will too.
Everyone knows that accidents happen. If you break something accidentally, it may
be covered by your family’s insurance policy. However, in some cases, they may
expect you to pay for a replacement, especially if the breakage occurs because you
have misused something. Please try to be careful!
You will be given a key for your accommodation. You must keep this safe and not in
the same place as your accommodation address.
Most of our home-stay hosts do not permit smoking in the house. It is important to
ask your hosts if you or a visitor want to smoke. They may allow you to smoke but
outside only.
If you are unwell or unable to come to the University, call this number or ask your
hosts to do it for you: (01524) 384547. This is the telephone in the English tutors’
office and it has an answering machine.
Unless you require urgent medical treatment please do not ask your hosts to call a
doctor for you. In most cases it is more normal for you to visit the doctor. For
daytime appointments during the week, you will be able to use the host family’s
doctor. Please ask your family to arrange this. You may be asked to pay a fee of
around £50, so you need to get a receipt in order to claim this back from your
insurance company. If you need to see a doctor out of hours or at the week-end,
please ask your family to phone their doctor’s number. There will be advice on this
line explaining what to do when the surgery is not open (usually it involves attending
a clinic at the local hospital). If you require dental care, ask your host family or a
member of staff for advice but this will be expensive.
In an emergency, you can present yourself at the Casualty department of the
hospital in Lancaster. If you need an ambulance, the number to call is 999.
If you catch a cold, it is not normal to go to a doctor. If your symptoms are sore
throat and runny nose, the advice is to stay warm and take something to make you
feel better, e.g. paracetamol and hot drinks.
Please make sure you tell us if you have any long-standing condition and especially
any condition that will affect your studies. We want to help you to stay well while
you’re here, so keep us informed!
Staying away from home
Please tell your hosts if you will not be home at the arranged meal times or if you
intend to be away for any period of time. If you are staying overnight with a friend,
for example, do please let them know. They will feel responsible for you and will
worry if they don’t know where you are.
If you do go away for a few days, your host family is not responsible for your meals
during that time. If you have chosen to make a trip, you will need to pay all your
costs yourself.
What’s important to host families?
We always ask for feedback from our host families and we can see from this what is
important to them. Here are some things that they hope you will manage to do and
to be:
keep your own room tidy;
be diligent and responsible, giving the family no cause to worry about your
try to adapt to the home environment and become part of the family;
remember to say thank you;
be considerate of the needs of other family members (e.g. re bathroom use);
be able to look after yourself away from home (e.g. washing, washing-up,
changing bed-clothes, tidying up, making snacks, etc;)
bring appropriate and sufficient clothes;
show an interest in UK culture;
check what you’re allowed to use at home (e.g. in the kitchen);
not over-indulge in alcohol.
At the end of your stay, we will also ask you for feedback and we use this to help our
host families to improve their service.
Changing your accommodation
Your home-stay accommodation is booked for the period of your stay. A change of
accommodation is therefore only possible for very special reasons and you would be
expected to discuss any proposed change with University staff. We will listen
sympathetically and move you if there is good reason. However, in all cases we
have to give a minimum of one week's notification or a week’s rent to the home-stay
host and we are sure you will understand that we hope to match you up well enough
with your host family to avoid this.
Financial advice
The University of Cumbria will be responsible for the payment of your
accommodation fee only for the duration of the booking that has been made for you
with the home-stay host. The University cannot be responsible for any private
arrangements you may make. It is not normally possible to remain in your
accommodation after your course has ended.
Please do not keep large amounts of cash in your family accommodation. Make sure
you keep valuable items, such as mobile phones, video cameras and laptops, in a
safe and secure location. Again, ask your host families where to keep these things.
Host families are not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
Travel to and from the University
Many of you will live within walking distance of the University but some people will
need to take a bus. You will all be provided with a bus pass for the duration of your
stay. This will allow you to travel all around the city free. If you need to call a taxi,
the numbers are: 01524 32090 or 01524 848848.
Contacting the University
Keep a note of the phone number in case you need to contact someone:
University Reception (24 hours) - (01524) 384384
We very much hope you enjoy your stay with your host family. It will probably be
the most important aspect of your time in the UK! You will learn a huge amount –
language and culture – and you will develop as a person. If it’s the first time you’ve
been away from home, you will probably feel a bit homesick. This is totally natural.
However, it will pass and you will start to feel at home in your new surroundings. In
fact, you will then be amazed at how quickly the time will go – so make the most of