How to Apply

 Gloria Sebikari's Story

gloroa sebikari.jpgI am a Chevening Scholar at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland. As part of #mycheveningjourney I signed up with HOST for the opportunity to spend some time with a British family. I filled out the questionnaire with little thought and was excited when HOST got back to me with the details of my invitation to visit Mary and Dick.

Then the email exchanges with Mary began. As the date for the visit drew closer, my excitement grew. The emails had given me a small window into Mary and Dick’s lives and made me look forward to visiting with them.

The weekend spent in Carrbridge, in the Cairngorms National Park, is at the top of my Scottish and British cultural experience. Having my first experience with snow in Scotland and looking at the beautiful snow capped hills and trees, despite my freezing toes, was a marvel. 

Mary and Dick opened up their home to me and the other Chevening Scholar they had invited.. They shared with us titbits of British (and Scottish) history, culture and cuisine. For every question, they had a book; their passion for the written word reminds me of my dad.

While Mary could have been a writer, Dick could have been a chef.  His culinary skills reminded me of my mum’s home-cooked meals. I finally had the courage to taste Haggis – a traditional Scottish dish.  My cooking skills were sharpened: under Mary’s guidance we made lemon meringue pie and  baked bread (dinner rolls); and my fellow-guest made us all a delicious lasagne.

As I said farewell after an idyllic weekend, Mary (just like my mum) made me a ‘doggie bag’ (picnic) to take with me on my train journey.  As the train pulled out of the station, I couldn’t help but think Scotland finally feels like home.


What happens on a HOST visit?

Every HOST visit is different. But there are some things which always happen:

  • Your hosts will meet you at their local railway or bus station.
  • You will have your own bedroom (unless you have agreed to share with another student).
  • You will eat meals with your host, provided by your host.
  • Your hosts will spend time chatting with you and will answer your questions about life in the UK.
  • Your hosts will be hoping to learn about life in your country and will be interested in you.
  • Your hosts will return you to the station at the end of your visit.

And some (perhaps all) of these things will happen:

  • Your hosts may take you out to see the area where they live (most hosts do this).
  • You may meet your hosts’ family or some of their friends.
  • You may be able to take part in the life of their local community, by attending an event with them.
  • Your hosts may have a special interest which they will share with you.
  • You may play cards or board games, especially at Christmas.
  • You may be invited to attend a church service.
  • Your hosts may be happy for you to cook a national dish for them, if you wish.
  • You may have the opportunity to do something you have never done before!


Before applying, please check if you have to pay an application fee, and read the information and advice in the boxes on this page.

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How will I be treated by my hosts?

Your hosts will treat you as a friend of the family. Everything will be informal and relaxed, and they will want you to feel comfortable and ‘at home’ with them. They will be pleased if you offer to help, because you are staying in a home, not a hotel. They want you to benefit from your stay, and they also want to enjoy your visit themselves.

Many hosts are disappointed when students spend too much time on their smartphones or ipads. They tell us, ‘We thought the student had come to spend time with us, but he spent most of the weekend on his phone.’ So, please note, this is not only impolite, it is a waste of your unique opportunity.

Where will the visit be?

HOST is about meeting people and learning about their way of life. It is not about being a tourist.

You tell us your travel budget and then we choose the region where your visit will be. We have hosts all over the country, but we do not have large numbers of hosts all in the same place.

You can tell us if you want to stay near your place of study (that means no more than about 2 hours on public transport).

Or you can tell us that you will go anywhere within your travel budget.

With HOST, you will meet lovely people, and you will discover interesting parts of the UK which you have never heard of before.

How is the visit arranged?

After we receive your application we will ask your university to confirm that you are a registered student.

Then we will send your application to one of our regional organisers (RO). Our ROs are unpaid volunteers who give their free time to find the best invitation for you. Please respond promptly to any message you receive from your RO – this person is there to help you.

Our ROs know all their hosts, and they know the home you are going to.

The RO will look for an invitation with a host in their region and will inform you as soon as an invitation is found.


HOST's policy on refunds.

Please remember that a lot of work goes into looking for an invitation for you. If we are unable to find a suitable invitation for you on any of the dates you have given us, we will ask you for more dates. If you are unable to give us more dates, your application fee will be refunded.

But please note that in the following circumstances, no refund will be possible: 

if you do not respond to our messages;

if you reduce your availability to fewer than 3 dates and we are unable to find an invitation for your remaining dates;

if you decline an invitation which is for a date you have given us, and which fits your criteria with regard to travel budget, pets, dietary and religious needs, and other needs deemed essential (e.g. wheelchair access);

if you cancel a visit after accepting an invitation;

in circumstances beyond our control - such as extreme weather interrupting transport services - although in this case we will always try to re-arrange your visit.

When will the visit happen?

We need at least 3 weeks to process your application and find your invitation.

We ask you to give us at least 3 dates when you will be available for your visit. This is essential, so please do NOT give one valid date and 2 dates when you are not really free. And please inform us if your availability changes after you have applied.

Weekend visits normally start on Friday evening and finish on Sunday evening (2 nights).

Day visits can be on Saturday or Sunday.They start in the morning and continue until the early evening of the same day (no overnight stay).

Christmas visits are from 24-27 December (3 nights).

What happens after the visit?

After your visit, PLEASE call your host or send a message, to tell them that you appreciated their hospitality. It only takes a few minutes of your time but it makes a HUGE difference. Hosts whose students do not thank them after a visit sometimes stop giving us invitations, because they think their guests have not enjoyed the visit.

We will send you a feedback form to fill in. This is for us, not for your host. Please answer honestly, so we can improve our service if necessary.

The nice things you say and the photos you send us might be used in our publicity, with your permission.

Some students stay in contact with their hosts – you are very welcome to do that.

After your visit, you can apply for another one!

Please recommend HOST to your friends.

Contact us

HOST UK, Sylvia Adams House, 24 The Common, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 0NB


Tel: 0207739 6292


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