An overview of what English Homestay students can expect

MeOur tutor Rod Murdison gives an overview of what students can expect when they arrive at his home in Beckenham, Kent, for an English language homestay experience.

Students usually arrive and leave on a weekend. I imagine all students have initial concerns about the friendliness of the hosts, the comfort of the accommodation, the safety of the area, the ease of transport and the food (not necessarily in that order).

Similarly, tutors wonder what every new student will be like; are they shy? Out going? Open-minded? Conservative? Fun? Serious?

Luckily, almost every student has enjoyed staying with me (and my wife Merle). They have enjoyed the lessons and especially the food.

After lessons on Monday, I usually take the student for a quick tour of the local area.   I show them how close the stations are and how easy it is to get in to central London to see the sights (Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, etc.)

I usually recommend students look at Time Out and Londonist websites before they arrive to see what’s on in London to make the most of their stay.

Once I judge a student’s level of English, I ask whether they want to learn ‘book’ English (sometimes called Globeish) or ‘real’ every day English.

‘Globeish’ is for students who solely want to learn English for trading and business purposes, where they will be using English to arrange deals and contracts with other business people who do not have English as their first language.

Most of my students prefer ‘real’ English, and they love learning words and phrases that are rarely taught in school/university. They love learning about British humour, puns and popular culture.

My lessons are fine-tuned to each student’s needs. After lessons, if, for example, I am meeting friends for a drink in the pub, they can join us.

A popular trip is along the Southbank of the river Thames, but we try to visit whatever the student is interested in. Sometimes students want advice about the best way to see certain things, and want to make the trip by themselves.

Usually, there is a lot of humour during the student’s stay as I enjoy teasing them (gently) and this creates a good relationship. Me and my wife are still in touch with many of our students and some have become real friends.

Sharing our life with students has really added to our knowledge of other cultures and our enjoyment of getting to know other people’s lives.

Read about Rod on his profile page.

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