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How to make money hosting foreign students

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If you've got a spare room you'd like to rent out, but aren't keen on a long-term lodger, consider instead hosting a foreign student. Language schools are always looking for host families (including singles) to house foreign exchange students, with stays ranging from a few days to entire terms. It's a great way to meet people from different cultures while earning a bit of spare cash.
Foreign students choose homestays over student residences because they are interested in immersing themselves in English culture and improving their English language skills. Your foreign students will become part of your daily life, sharing conversations, facilities and usually meals with you.
The student will need their own room, complete with bed, study area and storage space. A bigger room can be shared by two or more students.
Look in your local telephone directory for foreign language schools in your area. Some schools also advertise in local newspapers for homestay families. Contact them for further information, including what is required of host families. Keep in mind that "host family" includes single people, so don't be put off if you are living on your own.
The school may carry out a home inspection before listing your home in their database. If you are hosting under-18s, you may have to undergo a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check.
Remember that your privacy will be somewhat restricted, as students will have access to common areas such as the kitchen, bathroom and lounge.
Establish ground rules for the students, for example whether smoking will be allowed indoors; permitted hours for TV use; whether their friends will be allowed to visit; and so on.
Inform your mortgage lender and insurance company that you will be hosting students.
Start with short-term guests to ensure that you are comfortable with homestays.
The amount you'll earn from homestays will vary according to where you live (central locations in big cities pay the most) and the facilities you are able to offer. Remember to factor in the cost of extra food and utilities. Under the government's Rent a Room scheme, you can make up to £4,250 a year before you start paying tax.
Finally, if you like the idea of offering homestays, but are wary of potentially boisterous students, note that visiting lecturers sometimes look for homestays as well.
Hosting foreign students can be an interesting and rewarding experience, with the added bonus of earning you some extra cash.


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