• If you’re worried about any of your guests, talk to them if you think it’s appropriate, or talk to SOL. Sometimes there’s an issue and more often there isn’t, but it’s better to ask than not. The teachers are good at finding out if anything’s wrong and dealing with it.

  • Having a spare blanket for each bed is often appreciated if you’re hosting in the cooler months.

  • Everybody loves Nutella!

  • Everybody seems to like spaghetti Bolognese too.

  • Crumpets for breakfast go down surprisingly well and make a change from toast.

  • An English breakfast makes a good dinner, if you can face the hassle.

  • “Home MacDonalds” goes down well – skinny oven chips, seeded buns, ordinary burgers, sliced cheese, sliced dill pickle and American mustard (and fried onions if you want to bother) and you can’t tell the difference!

  • Watch out for curry – in some places it’s a mild flavoured sauce and bears no resemblance to what we eat – one teacher said she loved curry, took one bite of ours and couldn’t eat it because she said her ulcer would explode!

  • You may get some fussy eaters, not all of them children, but don’t take it personally.

  • Some guests will want to spend a lot of time talking with you and improving their English.  Others will be too tired and will just want to sit in bed on their phones.  That’s their loss though.

  • Sometimes students will be delighted to have a TV night with you - just sitting in their PJs with a bag of Haribo and watch a silly film with the subtitles on / a football match.

  • Some students enjoy baking especially if they can take the results to school next day to impress their friends.

  • If a student has a birthday, a card and a bit of fuss are always appreciated.

  • If my students are sensible ones and they want to go shopping on Sunday I’ll sit in Costa Coffee with a book and get them to report in to me at regular intervals. Atlantic Village is usually a disappointment.

  • If a student wants to buy a computer game / DVD that is too old for them I will get their parents’ explicit permission by phone or email before getting it for them (common sense). I don’t buy alcohol for students even if they say it’s to take home as a gift.

  • Students might want to take pictures on their phones of your books, recipes, maps, whatever interests them. And your house, pets etc! Take it as a compliment.

  • If you have students as facebook friends, be careful what you post! Next year’s group from the same school might check you out.