Bright World host families

what is a host family?

girls being welcomed at front door

A host family can be an individual, a couple, either retired or with children at home, who opens their home to an international student studying in the UK. Host families for international students are usually genuinely interested in offering a home from home for a young person and welcome them as part of the family. Students stay with a host family either for a long period of time if they are studying at a day school in the UK or just for short holidays if they are, like Bright World Guardianships students, all full boarding students.

Why do I need a host family?

The majority of UK boarding schools close during holiday times. All students need to leave and UK-based students go home to their parents. Many international students do not have a family member or family friend to go to during the short breaks and do not want to make the long journey back home overseas. During these times, an important part of our role is to find them a safe and welcoming host family who will take good care of them. Finding safe and reliable host families for international students is one of our most challenging but rewarding jobs as a guardianship organisation.

There may also be the need for international students to stay with a host family unexpectedly. Cancelled flights, early and late arrivals due to flight timings can mean that students need a host family all of a sudden. It is at these unexpected times that the Bright World network of host families across the UK and, crucially, near to airports always prove very useful.

when will my child need to stay with a host family?


exeat weekends

some schools close for two nights over some weekends and these are called Exeats. If your chosen school has these compulsory exeat weekends, we will automatically arrange a host family for you.


half terms

all schools close at half term and most students need to leave and stay with a host family. Half terms vary from between 9 and 16 nights and Bright World will be aware of your school's term dates when you enrol. Bright World will select a trusted host family for your child for these times.


unexpected events

at Bright World we are always ready for the unexpected. We provide safe host family accommodation due to cancelled flights, early arrivals and late departures as well as times when students need to leave school for short unplanned periods. We are here to help.

what are host families like?

girls watching tv on sofa

Host families who pass our house inspection maintain high standards within their home. The house will be kept clean and warm and usually centrally heated. Students sometimes have to share a bathroom with other members of the family but occasionally will be lucky enough to choose a host family with their own ensuite bathroom. Most of the houses will have a garden and plenty of space for the student to relax.

The host family will provide full board as part of the arrangement with Bright World. This will include three meals a day and snacks when needed. Breakfast could be a hot meal at the weekends but on weekdays is usually toast with jam and cereals. Lunch is usually cold in the UK and students should expect a sandwich with some fruit and cake. Evening meals are the main meal of the day and are always hot.

Staying with a host family provides international students with a true cultural experience. Eating meals together as a family encourages chat and both the family and the student can learn about each other's culture. Families will aim to make students feel part of the family and invite them to family events and outings such as barbecues, country walks, cinema trips and to see sports matches.

The majority of host families in the UK will have a pet. This is usually a dog or a cat. Having a pet around can really make students feel at ease and at home. If students are allergic to pets then they need to tell us and we will choose them a host family who does not have pets.

our host family network

bright world area map

Bright World has a very well established and reliable host family network for international students that spans the whole of the UK (except Ireland). It is very important for parents to know that there will be a caring and safe host family in place when students need it and sufficient families in our network to step in an emergency or unexpected situation. We are very well known for our wonderful and trusted host families and our ability to provide for long term continuity for students as well as emergency accommodation at the last minute.

how do we recruit host families?

host family meeting

All Bright World host families are subject to stringent checks and screening that comply with the AEGIS framework and Bright World's own set of high standards. AEGIS (The Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students) also sets high standards and inspects our work.

Bright World staff are trained in Safer Recruitment which guides companies working with children on recruitment of staff and volunteers. Bright World follows Safer Recruitment Guidelines carefully when enrolling host families. Host families complete an extensive application form, interview and house inspection. We then take out references and conduct DBS or enhanced criminal record checks. House inspections are rigorous and include checking of fire alarms and paperwork for boiler and appliance servicing. We expect a high standard of accommodation for our students.

Our Accommodation Team works closely with our Guardianship Care Managers to choose the right host family for our students according to their preferences.

how do you choose a host family for a student?

family in kitchen

With over 22 years' experience of working with students and host families, we are particularly proud of our ability to match students with host families successfully. We listen to parents when they enrol and throughout their guardianship stay with them and we also listen to students. By gaining information on their likes and dislikes, allergies or food preferences, and looking at their age and the profile of the host family, we consistently get it right.

On the rare occasions when a student does not like our choice, we have a no questions asked policy of moving the student for their next stay. Our priority is to keep students safe and happy. If they are not happy we do not try and make it work, we move on.

Parents and students can also help us to choose their host family by using a unique link we will give them to our Host Family Selection Tool.

the Bright World Host Family Selection Tool

Bright World host family selection tool

We believe that our clients should be able to help us to choose their host family if they wish to and also see what choice there is available to them prior to enrolling.

With this in mind, people who are interested in joining the Bright World Guardianship programme are able to access our Host Family Selection Tool which gains them unique access to a database of our host families. They can select preferred distance from their school and browse and overview of all the families we have in that area.

They can then request availability for the specific dates we need from our team.

host families during the Covid-19 pandemic

girl studying on bed

Staying with a host family remains the most popular choice for students remaining in the UK for half terms. This has been very popular this academic year, as many students who would normally be going home will decide to stay in the UK. Not all schools are staying open for students, so Bright World host families are available to host our guardianship students.

For the reassurance of parents and agents overseas, all of our host families will have signed up for our Host Family Covid-19 Safe Plan should students fall ill with Covid-19 symptoms while they are staying with them. The will also be carrying out enhanced deep cleaning.

frequently asked questions

Jenny and Esther

Bright World Guardianships

  • Enquire now about joining the Bright World Guardianships service

pound sign

How much does it cost?

  • Find out about costs for UK guardianship

host family

Read our blog about host families

  • Where to international students go in the holidays?