Hosting Students Under 18: A Guide for Host Families

Host families have the unique opportunity to offer international students a warm and welcoming home while they pursue their education abroad. However, when it comes to hosting students under 18, there are specific responsibilities that need to be taken into consideration. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to know about hosting students under 18, including your duty of care, tips, and advice to ensure a successful hosting experience.

Duty of Care

London Homestays does not offer accommodation to students aged younger than 16 years old. If you are accommodating a student aged 16 or over but under 18, you are not the legal guardian of that child. However, while they are staying in your home you are expected to provide care and act ‘in loco parentis’ that is to say, in the absence of the child’s parents you would take on some of the functions and responsibilities of their parent. The main functions you are expected to perform is that of a supervisor and to provide prompt feedback if there is an issue of concern. For example, you should be familiar with our child protection policy Click Here and be familiar with our curfew times. If your student comes home late or not at all, you would be expected to contact us and inform us of your concerns. This will enable us to act accordingly.

In summary, you are expected to provide a safe and secure living environment, promoting their physical and emotional health, and to promptly contact London Homestays should you have any concerns or feedback at all.

You will also be expected to undertake a safeguarding course such as this course Click Here published by the British Council.

Tips and Advice for a Successful Hosting Experience

  • Communication is essential. Open and clear communication between the student, the parents, and the host family is crucial to ensure everyone is on the same page with regards to expectations, rules, and boundaries.
  • Gain an understanding of the student’s culture and traditions. This will help create a welcoming and inclusive environment that fosters cultural exchange.
  • Set clear rules and boundaries, including a curfew that aligns with the guidelines and policies set by London Homestays.
  • Plan engaging and fun activities for the student, such as exploring your local area or participating in family activities.
  • Ensure the student has access to necessary support services, such as finding a doctor or transportation to extracurricular activities.
  • Encourage the student to participate in the household, for example by assisting with chores or preparing meals.
  • Be attentive to the student’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Offer support and encouragement if the student seems homesick or unhappy.


Hosting a student under 18 can be a remarkable and enriching experience for both the host family and the student. By following the tips and advice outlined in this guide, host families can provide a safe and supportive environment that promotes personal growth and cultural exchange. Through open communication, a willingness to learn, and a commitment to the student’s well-being, hosting can be a memorable and fulfilling experience for all involved.


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