Being a host family in Brighton? What’s not to love!! It all starts the minute you arrive at the meeting point and that coach comes around the corner. Lots of little anxious faces with big wide eyes glancing at you nervously to see if you are their allocated host family. As the luggage unloads the whispering starts and the nervous giggles commence. If you are lucky enough to understand even a little bit of the lingo then you know the questions that they are asking? Is that your family? What do you think we will get for our first meal? May the unloading begin, Pavel, Filip, to name a few, here is your host family. The nervous smiles and the slow walking towards me begins.
“Hello, and welcome my name is Sacha.”
A short journey back to my house to settle them in their twin room with Wifi and Xbox on tap, so far they seem happy which is good. Introduction to the dog’s is always an interesting task, especially if they are not used to overpowering Stafford Bull Terriers that want to be your best friend from day one. Upstairs our journey continues on another level as I try to explain how the shower and the shower screen work! We always have to explain this very clearly as they never really like to ask questions later. A brief introduction to my children allows to relax a little, I am a mother too, not just a host family. Having children of my own makes them realise than I’m down with the kids and a little bit cool maybe as I like all sorts of banging music. When I’m cooking the meals I always have music on in the background and they seem to look at me with a certain question in their eyes “should you be listening to this at your age” It keeps me young I simply say.
Sacha Stone, Short Stay Manager
In Our Homestay UK Meals
Mealtimes!! A good old traditional Bangers and Mash goes down a treat with a side of Baked Beans. The beans get a very mixed viewing but most like them. Puddings of Pancakes and Nutella is a winner, especially as I get them involved by tossing them themselves (some have never done this before) a few have fallen on a patiently waiting dog that thinks they are going to get lucky or others have attached themselves to my ceiling but what a giggle we have doing this.
Mealtime said and done and no one has been poisoned in the process, out they bring the Host Family Gifts. Every Nationality brings very different gifts, the Czech must think we like a tipple or two as they always bring a very strong alcoholic drink formerly known as Becherovka, I say formerly as you pretty much forget everything once you’ve had a couple of these. Ah the French, well they get it right with the homemade Honey and Pate, not forgetting the Champagne. Germans, well I never really know what I’m going to get with them, maybe a Calendar or a box of Chocolates but any gift is very lovely to receive as it makes you feel appreciated.
The day after the night before. Breakfast has arrived and sleepy faces are looking expectantly at me. A selection of Cereals, Fruit, Breads, Spreads and juices are all on offer. Marmite just stands there alone with no one daring to touch it. What will they eat? How about a loaf of bread almost with layers upon layers of Nutella, pretty sure I had wiped Sainsburys out of all their stock.
Back at the meeting point we say goodbye as they plan to go on a day trip to Beachy Head or Portsmouth to learn about the great places that we have on offer to visit here in the UK, there will be questions later I’m sure.
There is never a dull moment when you offer Homestay Accommodation for International Students and I would totally recommend it to anyone. Whether you have a single room or a twin room, right up to four in a room, you will enjoy every moment. Meeting students from every type of background makes you realise that life is just about enjoying all the happy moments and creating the best memories to treasure for a lifetime.
Brighton is the happiest city in England for students with 93% saying they’re ‘very happy’ in Living and Learning here.
I’ve travelled to the Czech Republic twice now, a Country that I really knew nothing about and showed no interest in. The people there are just so kind and welcoming. I was invited over by several of the teenage boys that stayed with me over the years and I went to meet their families and learn about the life back home for them. How very different we all live but in good ways.
Saying goodbye is never easy, the odd tear is shed I have to say, you get to know these kids very well over the short time that they are with you. It’s never really a goodbye though, more like until next time my friend. This is the reason why I love being a host family in Brighton.