Hosting International Students
Where do we begin? We began hosting in October 2013 after our friend Judith told us about LILA and explained how much she had enjoyed hosting students. Since that time we’ve welcomed 25 different students from 13 nations into our home in Garston and have really loved the whole experience.
We try to create a warm and friendly environment where they feel welcome and part of the family. Being clear about how our house runs has really helped us to avoid any cultural misunderstandings and makes it easier for students to settle in. Many of the students have kept in touch long after they have gone home and some have invited us to visit them for a holiday.
Every student is different: some like to go out a lot, others don’t but they all appreciate good food and a chat around the dinner table in the evening. We’ve encouraged them to show us how they cook their favourite national food and they in turn have learned how to cook some British dishes – scones can now be found in Barcelona and apple crumble in Seoul, Korea.
If we go out for trip we sometimes invite the students to join us. It creates really positive, lasting memories and helps them to discover the local area. There’s so much to see in the city and surrounding areas and it’s been so easy to include them in what we do.
We’ve not had any international romances as yet but many really good friendships have formed between students that have stayed with us at the same time. Russians meeting Spaniards, Brazilians going to football matches with Japanese, Saudis introducing the French to Middle Eastern food – the list is long.
In the 18 months we’ve been hosting for LILA* we’ve met some wonderful characters and our lives have most definitely been enriched by the experience – we only wish we’d discovered it sooner.
Andy & Sue Larkin - LILA* Hosts