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What to Expect from a Homestay

5 min read
3 December 2020
student in a host family in dublin

Thinking about choosing a homestay for your trip abroad with Kaplan? We're sure you'll love it. Not only is staying with a host family an excellent opportunity to practice your English outside the classroom, but you'll also pick up unique tips and tricks for your destination that tourists won't know about. Staying with a host family while you study is true cultural and language immersion. 

At Kaplan, we are committed to the highest standards of student care and support. We get to know our host families personally, so we can place you based on your interests and hobbies. Some of our host families have been accommodating Kaplan students for over 25 years – they really love what they do and will know just how to make you feel at home.


Before you arrive

You’ll receive your host family’s email addresses and mobile numbers, and we encourage you to contact them before your trip. Most of our students do, and it’s a great way for you all to get to know each other before you arrive at your destination. If you’re a little nervous about your travels, this will really help to put your mind at ease.


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During your stay

Staying with a host family is a wonderful way to experience your destination through the eyes of a local. Your hosts will be able to share their top tips with you about everything from the quickest route to school to the best museums to visit. They’ll give you first-hand insights into the local culture that you’d never get from a guidebook or Google search. 

All our host families are experienced in caring for international students. They’ll create a nurturing and safe environment that they themselves would like to be welcomed into, so you’ll feel right at home. While you’re staying with them, you’ll be treated just like one of the family. You'll spend time with them in the evenings when you're not taking part in Kaplan social activities. You might watch TV, play a board game, or just chat about your day and how you're getting on at school. You'll eat breakfast with them, and usually dinner too - unless you choose to prepare your own meal or eat at a restaurant with friends. The only meal you'll need to buy for yourself is lunch - and there will be plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from near your school. 

On your first day of class, your host will help you find your way to school and show you how to use public transport. Some of our homestays are within walking distance from the school, but others in busy city locations like London may be up to a 60-minute commute or more on public transport. 

Most importantly, you’ll be speaking English all the time at your homestay. You’ll have many opportunities to practice what you’ve learned in a relaxed environment, and you’ll pick up lots of colloquial vocabulary and useful English phrases. 

two students sitting on their beds
Our summer camp in Montreux-Riviera provides host family accommodation


What to bring to your homestay

Bed linen, towels, laundry facilities and a phone for emergency use will all be provided. Make sure you bring any prescription medication you need and any personal items to make your room feel more like home. Other things to remember are:

  • your passport and visa documents
  • your mobile phone and charger
  • enough cash for your stay
  • travel adapter
  • comfortable shoes for walking around your new city
  • your laptop and study equipment like notebooks and pens
  • a journal for writing about your Kaplan experience 

If you like, you could also bring a small gift for your host family - perhaps something that represents your own culture. It's completely optional, but it's a great way to introduce yourself and share something about your background. 


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