Homestay Accommodation

Staying with a host family is a great way to learn more about the UK and British culture. Homestays welcome you as a guest and are there to help you. All our homestays are English-speaking so it’s also a good opportunity to practice what you’ve learnt in lessons!

Host family A homestay bedroom
  • High-quality homestays
  • Friendly host families
  • Safe neighbourhood locations
  • 10-25 minutes bus ride
  • Well-connected by frequent bus services

Our host families are carefully selected and many of them have been working with us for many years. The majority are located in the north of Oxford, a 10-25 minute bus journey from the school and the city centre. Before you arrive, you will receive information about the family and how to travel to school.

Host families provide breakfast and an evening meal. During the week lunches are provided by a café and can be collected from the school each day.

Lunches at weekends are provided by the host family. If you have an excursion, make sure you ask your family for a packed lunch.

If you don’t like pets or cannot eat certain types of food, don’t worry – we will try to place you in suitable accommodation. However, you must let us know about this at the time of booking. If you require a certain diet, there may be an extra charge to cover the additional cost to homestays. Host families expect their new students to arrive and depart on a Sunday at a sociable time.

Finally, we have an excellent Accommodation management team who work hard to ensure students are placed in host families where they will be happy and well-looked after. They are available each day in the School Office and have a 24-hour emergency contact number. Many students stay in touch with their host families and some request to stay with the same family year after year!

If you have any questions about our homestay accommodation, please look at the information below. If you have any specific questions or requests, please contact us and we’ll do our best to help you.

Frequently asked questions

What will my host family be like?

We believe that your stay with an English family is one of the most important parts of your time in Oxford. To help you learn as much as possible in school and out, we want you to feel happy and relaxed in your host family. We choose our families not only for the quality of accommodation but also for the personal interest they have in your progress and welfare.

When should I arrive at my host family?

It is important that you inform the school of your expected arrival time well in advance so the host family know when to be at home to welcome you. You should plan to arrive at your host family after 07:00 in the morning and before 23:00 in the evening. If you plan to arrive outside these times, please contact us to discuss the best arrival arrangements for you.

What should I do if my journey is delayed?

Don’t worry if your journey is delayed. We understand that this is sometimes unavoidable! If you have arranged a transfer through us or are travelling as part of a group, we will track your flight and airport transfer so that we can inform your host family that you are delayed. We will also make sure there is still someone waiting at the airport to greet you. If you are travelling independently, just give your family a call to let them know that you are going to be late. Remember to carry the emergency contact numbers with you.

How do I get to school on my first day?

Your family will show you where to catch the bus to your first meeting point. You will receive a map before you arrive and also from your host family on arrival. Most buses stop when they reach the centre of Oxford and then it’s a short walk to the meeting point. At each meeting point on your social programme, Activity Leaders will be waiting for you. Look out for their blue shirts showing our school logo.

What will my accommodation be like?

You will be staying with a carefully selected family, whose main language will be English. They will provide you with a room containing a bed and storage space for your clothes. You will have access to a table or desk and chair for private study with a table lamp, either in your room or in a quiet area. You will have access to the bathroom and can take a bath or shower each day. Please ask your family about convenient times to use the bathroom. Laundry (one or two loads per week) is included. Your family may wash your clothes for you or they may show you how to use the washing machine. Bed linen and towels are provided and are changed each week. The family will clean your room once a week but you are responsible for ensuring it remains tidy. You should make your own bed and put your clothes away. Most families accommodate more than one student. Unless you request to share with a friend, other students in your host family will always be of a different nationality.

What meals will I get in my host family?

Breakfast, evening meals and a light lunch at weekends are included. You may be asked to make your own breakfast if the family has to leave early to go to work. Breakfast is usually toast and/or cereal. You will normally eat your evening meal with your family. They will let you know at what time they eat their evening meal. It is important and polite to tell the family 24 hours in advance if you plan to miss a meal. It is not normal to be allowed to use the kitchen to store your food or cook for yourself. If you require a special diet you must tell the school when you book your accommodation so we can select a family who can offer this. Please note that there may be a supplementary charge for special dietary needs, and that our families are unable to cater for Kosher or Halal diets. People requesting these will normally be given vegetarian meals.

Am I allowed to use the telephone?

You are not permitted to use the family’s telephone without their permission and all calls must be paid for. A number of mobile phone companies offer cheap pay-as-you-go phones and sim cards, and most newsagents sell international phonecards giving you cheap international calls. Click here for further information or come to our School Office where we can give you advice and supply you with a free SIM card.

Will there be internet facilities at my homestay?

Families do not provide internet access. You may use the facilities at school or at one of the many internet cafes in Oxford. In addition, a number of mobile phone companies offer cheap pay-as-you-go internet access. Click here for further information.

What will I need to provide in my homestay?

You should bring all items for personal use, such as toiletries, hairdryers and plug adaptors (in the UK, we use three-pinned plugs). All of these items can be purchased easily in Oxford.

Will I have keys for my homestay accommodation?

Your host family will give you a key to their home if they will not always be at home when you return each day. Please use it responsibly and return it to them before leaving.

Can I bring friends into my host family?

Please discuss this with the family first as they will want to know who is visiting their home.

Can I stay at my homestay during the day?

In the daytime you will be busy with your lessons and a full and varied social programme. You should leave the house in the morning and return for dinner each day. If you are unwell please contact your Group Leader or the Centre Manager.

Can I stay with my family after the end of my course?

This is sometimes possible but please check with the School Administration staff first as the room may be reserved for another student.

What should I do if I want to change my family?

You should speak to the School Administration staff about the availability of another family and the reasons for the request. At least one week’s notice should be given to the family. If you feel you have identified a genuine problem with your host family please tell the school immediately. We cannot know of a problem if you don’t tell us.

Will I need insurance?

We strongly advise all students to take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance for the duration of your stay in England. Please do not keep large amounts of cash in your bedroom and only carry a small amount around with you. If you have arrived with a large amount of cash please ask the school for advice. The school and family cannot take responsibility for loss of money or expensive belongings.

What should I know about family privacy?

Staying with a family is not the same as staying in a hotel. You will be able to join them at appropriate times. However, it is important to remember there may be times when the family wish to entertain at home or relax in private areas of the home. If you are not sure what you can and can’t do in the family home, please ask. It is the family’s responsibility to make you feel welcome but it is your responsibility to treat them and their home with respect, and to follow their house rules.