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Advice from Hosts International on Adapting to a British Homestay

  Publisher : Bernice   10 June 2024 06:40

Staying with a host family is an enriching experience for students, but small differences in customs and etiquette can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. In this guide we provide tips from Hosts International to help international students navigate cultural differences and adapt smoothly to life in a homestay in the UK.

Communicate openly with your hosts

Clear communication is key to building a positive relationship with your host family, so don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re unsure about household rules or routines. Use polite language like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and speak softly, especially after 10pm when British families typically wind down for the night.

Respect house rules 

Each host family will have their own set of reasonable rules regarding bathroom usage, doing laundry, inviting guests over, and more. It’s important to check these rules with your host and follow them diligently. For example, keep bathrooms clean after use, avoid loud noises late at night, and get permission before having visitors.

Be mindful of cultural differences

What may be normal in your home country could be considered rude or inconsiderate in British culture. For instance, British families value polite phrasing, such as ‘Could you please pass the salt?’ rather than direct requests. You’ll also need to make an effort to adjust to new cultural norms like living with household pets, sharing a bathroom, and respecting schedules for heating and mealtimes.

Practise religious sensitivity

While your religious beliefs will be respected, practise discretion in your homestay. If you’d like to pray or perform other religious rituals, please do this quietly in your own room, and discuss boundaries around religious practices with your hosts openly and respectfully.

Build mutual understanding

Small cultural differences can easily lead to unintended offenses. If you sense tension or misunderstanding, have an open and respectful discussion with your hosts. Make an effort to learn about British customs, and share highlights of your own culture too. A little patience and goodwill go a long way.

Living with a host family gives you an authentic window into British life. By communicating respectfully, following household rules, and bridging cultural gaps with patience and understanding, you can build a rewarding relationship with your hosts.

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