We have plenty of on-campus accommodation, but this is naturally in high demand. However, we find that a lot of our international students welcome the idea of staying with a carefully selected family in Plymouth while they study. This has the added benefits of sharing in daily family life, and learning plenty about our country and culture. Plus you can enjoy all the creature comforts of a home from home.
If you are interested in being a homestay provider then please get in touch. It’s not always a traditional family with two parents and a couple of children: sometimes it’s a single, young professional, sometimes it’s a retired couple with extra space. These all make for excellent and varied cultural experiences for our overseas students.
You can purchase a weekly bus pass for £6 from the Welcome Desk at Marjon, so you can get from A to B with ease. Travel wise, you’ll always be placed within a reasonable distance of the University, with a bus journey of no more than 40 minutes.
Homestay experiences are unparalleled when it comes to finding out more about a country and its culture. We recommend that all of our international homestay students make a conscious effort to fit in with everyday life, attending evening meals and sharing common living spaces. We choose homestay families carefully to ensure they share this ethos. We want you to feel as welcome in a University homestay as you do in your own home.
All houses are different, but all homestay families will provide you with a clean, comfortable bed (at least single size), adequate clothes storage, and a table and desk for your studies. Bedrooms will receive sufficient natural light and be well presented, with adequate heating and lighting. If you’re coming to us from a warmer country, the inclement nature of the UK’s weather can be quite a shock! So don’t be afraid to ask your homestay family for extra blankets: gas and electricity are notoriously expensive here in England, so the heating is unlikely to be on overnight. You’ll be expected to keep on top of the basic cleaning of your room, and look after all the fixtures and fittings with due care. You’ll be provided with a key to the house, but not to your bedroom: individual bedrooms within homestay houses don’t tend to have locks. And on a safety point, be careful using your own electrical equipment with adaptors if necessary: the voltage almost everywhere in the UK is 240 volts. Additionally, you can expect your homestay family to pick you up and drop you off at the University when you first arrive and when you leave, plus you’ll be provided with reasonable WiFi access, and breakfast and dinner every day (plus lunch at weekends).
This is a great time to bond with your homestay family and find out more about daily life in the UK. If you have particular dietary requirements or preferences, don’t be afraid to let your homestay family know. You’ll have the chance to try out new dishes, and your diet will be varied and healthy. At breakfast, food and drinks are usually laid out so you can help yourself, while the evening meal will usually be enjoyed all together, around the table. You’ll be trying out plenty of new dishes, so why not offer to cook for your homestay family occasionally? You could treat them to traditional specialities from your own country or region.
Most families have one bathroom, though some may have a separate toilet and/or en-suite facilities. They will work out a morning schedule with you so that no one is kept waiting! The family will be happy to show you how everything works (toilet paper can be flushed down the loo in the UK) and where to locate the cleaning equipment so you can help with the daily upkeep of the bathroom. Your family will provide you with towels and bed linen (although you’ll need your own towel for going swimming) and will launder clothes for you so please don’t do this yourself (although you’ll need to do your own ironing: you’ll be able to borrow the iron and board from your homestay family). In general, your family will appreciate any small offers of help, such as unpacking the weekly food shopping, or clearing the table after dinner.
If you’d like to have visitors at the house, you can discuss this with your homestay family and work out a time that suits everyone, and an area in which you can entertain your guests. Noise (especially late at night) should be kept to a minimum out of respect to the family and their daily routine. If you’re planning to go away overnight or be late in coming home, you must let your homestay family know in advance, so that they don’t panic and alert the University or the police.
We inspect all accommodation on a two-year cycle to make sure it’s up to standards. We also help the homestay family to complete a fire risk assessment, prepare a profile to send to you prior to your arrival, deliver your profile to the homestay family and provide you with welfare support during your stay.
We need you to complete and return your full application at least four weeks before you plan to arrive, plus we’ll give you the necessary information to introduce yourself to the family. Naturally, we’ll expect you to follow the house rules which will be laid out on your arrival, take good care of keys, DIScount cards and other personal items, and not use the family’s address for correspondence (you can use the University’s address for this). Overall, we mainly ask that you treat your homestay family with the greatest respect, joining in with family time, asking permission before using the phone and generally fitting in with their daily routine. That way, everyone will get the most out of this enriching homestay experience.