HOST FAMILY GUIDELINES
Out of hours emergency contact number: Joe Kelly 0877 99 1893
Swan Training School
Each year Swan Training Institute welcomes an increasing number of students from all over the world.
It is of utmost importance to the organisation that each student has individual care and attention so that they go home after their stay with us happy, satisfied and showing a marked improvement in their use of the English language.
We are very appreciative of the hospitality and friendliness our host families have shown students during the past years. We are particularly pleased when families recommend us to their friends and neighbours. During July in particular, we are in great need of good families. As many of our students return to us year after year, it is specially rewarding when they ask to return to the same family.
We cannot stress often enough that it is family accommodation that we offer our overseas students – where they will be welcomed as a member of that family and not as a mere lodger.
Our students come to us on the understanding that they are to be part of a Irish family and they too must do their best to conform to that family’s way of life. Students should not treat your house as a hostel – they also receive detailed notes on ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ while living with an Irish family. A good general guideline for families would be to imagine how they would like their child to be treated if he/she went to live with a family abroad. The host families who show genuine friendliness and concern for their student’s well-being are less likely to have problems and usually get considerable enjoyment from the experience of having an overseas student to stay.
We hope you will enjoy having your Swan Training guest to stay this year and that the experience will be a rewarding one.
The Swan Team
Before the Student Arrives
Register with Swan Training.
Families wishing to accommodate a Swan Training student may register with us by phoning our Head Office.
Our Accommodation Officer will then send you an application form, giving details of our requirements and asking for information about the accommodation you have to offer. Details of dates and payment procedure will be in the accompanying letter. Please note it is now a national requirement that all families (all over 18 years old members in each family) are Garda vetted: we will contact you in due course with further information on how to proceed.
It is strict policy that all our families should be visited by our Accommodation Officer. A visit is obviously sensible, both for us as an organisation caring for foreign students and for you, so that your can discuss the commitment entailed by taking in paying guests. After the first visit, most host families will thereafter be visited every other year, unless they are in regular contact with the Accommodation Officer during year. We promise our students clean, comfortable homes in a family atmosphere, where they will be provided with a good standard of hospitality. This is what the Accommodation Officer will want assurance of when she comes to see you.
Change of Address
It is important that host families inform us of any change of address or telephone number.
When we, at Head Office receive details of students attending our courses, the information is processed on our Enrolments Computer. The Coordinator then has the task of trying to place the right student with the right family.
In compliance with Swan Training Institute Policy your profile information will be sent to the client on confirmation of their booking to allow us to match the student’s profile carefully to the right host family and also to encourage pre arrival contact between yourself and the students.
We work with many overseas travel agents and educational institutions throughout the world some of whom are able to give us the names of students earlier than others. Some, unfortunately, seem only to supply us with the student’s names and addresses a week or two before the course starts. Then there are always last-minute applications to cope with! We know how important it is for you to receive your student’s name as soon as possible and appreciate how inconvenient it is for you when there are delays. However, we can assure you we do all we can in order to get this information from the agents. Please bear with us if there is a delay.
You are welcome to pass the Swan Training Institute phone number on to any friend or neighbour who would also be interested in having one of our students to stay.
Writing to your Student
We try and ensure all families receive the name and address (and hopefully a photo) of their
Swan Training student as early as possible. If there is sufficient time before the student arrival why not send an e-mail or even a postcard to the student. This initial contact is important – a few welcoming lines is sufficient.
We require good sized twin-bedded and single rooms with adequate space for clothes, table for private study and chair(s).. A lockable bedroom or lockable wardrobe/drawer must beprovided for student’s/guest’s valuables. Adequate heating and lighting is expected and extra blankets for winter to be offered .No more than two students can share a room. We only make an exception to this rule in the case of a special request from students (friends, brothers, sisters) to be placed in the same house. It is family Accommodation, not lodging accommodation which is required. When the course is for a closed project group the students will be of the same nationality.
Our application form asks for as much information as possible about the student before he or she arrives. This includes such items as special dietary problems, disposition of student (whether prone to home-sickness or nervousness) and we pass on to the family all information we get. Some students request not to be placed in families with pets if they have an allergy – others often ask to be placed near friends or brothers or sisters.
When the Student Arrives
First impressions are all-important! Please remember your student will be very eager to meet you, and anxious to feel that they will be happy with you during their stay.
Picking Up Your Student (Group arrivals/departures)
All families are asked to meet their visitor at the pick-up point (make sure you know where this is). You are also asked to deliver the student to the departure point at the end of their stay. This service is included in the family fee. It is also helpful when families can ensure their student arrives on time at the station or coach park when leaving for an excursion. Those with no transport may be able to make arrangements with another nearby Swan Training host family or with a taxi to be paid at your own expense – Swan Training Institute cannot be responsible for taxi fares.
If the plane/train/boat/bus is delayed, we do our best to inform you as soon as we have this information. We understand how tiresome it is waiting around without news. We do all in our power to avoid this situation, but as most of you will know, delays are a seasonal hazard!
Individual students travelling alone are often unable to inform their host family of their arrival time. We do however stress the importance of keeping their host family informed of all travel details whenever possible. Fortunately with the advent of mobile phones the situation is easier to handle than it was years ago.
Food on Arrival
Most students arrive tired, perhaps seasick and usually lost for words! Please offer them suitable food and drink according to the time of arrival.
First Day Practicalities
Host families should write their name, address and telephone number for their student (although most students should arrive with this information to hand).
Getting to the Centre
It is very important for the host families either to explain carefully or to show the students how to get to their Tuition Centre or School and how to return to their home. The student has a lot to cope with during the first few days and this sort of care is very helpful.
The Programme (Groups Only)
All host families should receive a copy of the students’ daily programme, showing exactly what they will be doing each day, including morning classes, afternoon sports and excursions, discos and parties. Please ask for a programme if you are not given one when you pick up your student on arrival. Most events are compulsory – a wide choice of activities is usually offered once the course starts.
The Telephone & Reverse Charge Calls
You will appreciate that students’ parents will be very anxious to know if their child has arrived safely on the first day. Usually the student’s family will telephone you to enquire about their child’s arrival. However, if they have not called during the first day or so, and if your student asks you to do so, we would be grateful if you could supervise a reverse charge call to the student’s family.
Students are asked never to use the host family’s phone without first asking permission and are told that all calls must be paid for. We would appreciate it if you could stress this to your student. Please note that Swan Training Institute cannot be held responsible for student’s phone calls. Again with the advent of mobile phones the issue is a lot simpler than it used to be. Please make sure that the student has your mobile phone number for emergency use.
It is difficult to fit the right student to the right family in every case. Sometimes, through little or no fault of the host family or student, the visitor does not settle happily. In most cases, problems can be solved by discussions with our Accommodation Officer. Should a problem persist and, after investigation, the student remains unhappy, we reserve the right to remove a student immediately and accommodation will be paid for on a nightly basis.
You will appreciate that overseas students are usually going to find Irish food very different from their own. Although this has been explained to the student as part of their preparation before arriving, it can still cause a problem. Most host families will ask their student on the first day to make a list of any specific dislikes, dietary needs and by mutual co-operation any undue worry can be avoided. Any special dietary requests will normally have been advised to you at the time of booking. Meals are to be taken with the host and family. Students should not be expected to eat alone, except when arriving late after the normal mealtime in which case their food can be kept warm or re-heated. If it is not possible to eat breakfast together due to work commitments or if you have to be out one evening, please explain to the student where to find the ingredients for their breakfast or be sure to leave a pre-prepared meal for them if you have to be out at dinner time.
The Irish English cooked breakfast has for long been famous throughout the world. Students consequently often look forward to experiencing this delight and may be disappointed if they do not sample it once during their stay. Please ask your students what they are expecting to have for breakfast and explain your own family routine if necessary i.e. range of cereals, toast, coffee etc. during the week, bacon and eggs as a Sunday treat. Please be wary of asking the student to help themselves’ as generally they do not understand and end up going without.
The evening meal should consist of a substantial cooked meal, consisting of a main course of meat or fish, with potatoes ,pasta or rice and green vegetable or salad. This should be followed by fruit or dessert and/or cheese. Many overseas students appreciate bread with their meal. ALL STUDENTS MUST BE AT HOME PUNCTUALLY TO TAKE THE EVENING MEAL WITH THE FAMILY. This is important and the student should not be allowed to miss the evening meal unless there is an evening activity, the student should return home at the time stated on the programme if not sooner. Host families must let us know if their student is not returning home in time. Please ensure that the student knows the time of evening meals.
The most important point is that lunch should be adequate, provided in a sturdy sandwich or lunch box, and should include:
a) At least two rounds of sandwiches with adequate filling. Variety can be given using bread rolls or either white or brown bread. Ask your student what sort of filling they prefer and perhaps offer a set choice such as ham/cheese/egg/pate or other cold meats. Ask whether they like salad to be included or wish the bread to be spread with butter or margarine, since this is sometimes unusual in some countries!!
b) Cake/biscuit or bar of chocolate c) Apple/orange d) Soft drink
Laundry should be included in the household wash and students should be given clear instruction from the host family regarding washing, drying and ironing facilities. Items such as shirts, T-shirts, underwear, pyjamas, jeans and towels are normally added to the family wash.
Heavy jerseys, jackets or trousers should be taken to the dry-cleaners or a launderette by the students at their own expense. Discuss your arrangements with the student during the first few days so there are no misunderstandings.
We cannot enforce a ban on smoking, but it is not permitted in the school classrooms. We try as best as possible to match smoking students with smoking families and non smokers with non smoking families. However it is not always a 100% match. If students smoke and wish to do so in your house, they must ask your permission first. You must tell them on the first day if you do not allow smoking in your house. All students are advised that smoking in the bedroom is strictly forbidden.
Students are told that, if they are under 18, they cannot go into Public Houses and that is essential for them to obey this law. If you feel your student is disobeying this law, please inform us immediately.
It is very important for host families to make sure someone is at home to welcome the student after afternoon activities. Students must always know that they will be able to return home from 5.00pm and suitable arrangements must be made for them after evening events. It is the Host Family’s choice whether to give the students a house key or not.
All students attending Junior /Mini Stay Programme, age under 18, must be home no later than 9:30/10pm each night (depending on Group Leader‘s arrangements). It is the host family’s responsibility to ensure that students are home and safe by 9:30/10pm, if a student is not home, the host family must inform the school by using the emergency phone number. Students who disobey this curfew rule will be expelled.
Students over 18 are at liberty to stay out late or even spend the night away from home without host family interference. They should, however, always advise you if they are going to be late for meals or home very late.
Discos and Parties
These may be organised as part of the Swan Training programme. Sometimes, due to students’ requests, extra social gatherings may be arranged. However, we do not feel it is wise that students should be out every night and at least three or four evenings should be spent at home with the family. For each programme we do our best to inform you as host family of the evening activities programmed and any travel arrangements for these. We always inform students that they should only go out in pairs (preferably groups of 3), inform the host family of their whereabouts and communicate any unforeseen circumstance by phone, and not walk home alone. They are also informed that their stay is part of a study programme and that they are guests in the host family and should behave accordingly. If you feel your student is returning home too late too often, you must tell them this immediately, and should the circumstance repeat itself please inform and discuss it with our Accommodation Officer.
Most Swan Training students have two excursions for one week; one half-day excursion and one full-day excursion when you will provide them with packed lunch. Students usually leave on Saturday or Sunday either by train or bus and it is important for you to know the departure and return times of the excursions at least the day before. This information should be on the printed programme – but occasionally changes are inevitable. The students will have been instructed to inform their host family of any change and we do our best to ensure that a written communication is passed on to you – it is advisable to ask the student each evening if there are any programme variations or communications to pass on as at times they forget! Please talk to your student about the excursion, both before and after it.
We do stress to all students that should they get lost they must contact a policeman – we would therefore be most grateful if you would ensure – before going on any excursion – that your student has your address and phone number.
Co-operation in the Home
Students are not expected to do housework, but are asked to make their own beds and keep their rooms tidy. We should emphasise however, that it is the responsibility of the host mother to check the state of the room and to clean it for the student at least once a week, not just when the student leaves. Students are asked to show respect and good manners while living with their families and to try participating in the family life. If families feel their students are not obeying simple rules of the house, we suggest you talk to the student or in some cases would advise writing a note where communication is difficult.
Help your Student Learn English
It is always helpful when host families take an interest in the student’s progress in English and correct mistakes when possible, helping them with vocabulary and everyday phrases. Most of our students make great improvement in their English during their stay with us, but the more encouragement they get the better! Do praise their attempts and help them to feel they are improving. Ask them plenty of questions about their activities. The majority of students come with a Group Leader from their own country who keeps in regular touch with them and is useful if any difficulty arises, such as a language or personal problem.
Swan Training Institute cannot be held liable or responsible for any damage or breakage (including telephone, electricity, internet bills) which a student causes to the host family’s property or for any accident which occurs on your premises. Students are instructed to take out their own insurance, but it is essential that you inform your own insurance company that you accommodate paying guests in your house so that you haveadequate protection should you need to make a claim for any damage or accident whichmay occur. If any problem does arise, do contact our Accommodation Officer as soon as possible for advice and anyway before the student has left. It is difficult to pursue any claim once a student has left the country. We also advise families who feel they have suffered any damage to write down, as soon as possible, full details of how it happened (possibly also pictures are usually welcomed), describing and dating the account for the insurance company.
Under EU/EEA regulations students from other member states who are attending course of study are entitles to medical services in Ireland. In order to be eligible for any of these services, they will be required to provide the Irish Health authorities with documentation from their home country that validates their entitlement.
All students from non-EU/EEA countries are recommended to take out medical insurance for the period of their stay.
Any student in need of urgent medical attention should be taken to the casualty department of a hospital. Please inform Swan Training Institute immediately if your student is ill or has any sort of accident. Joe Kelly 0877991893
Swan Training institute will always take the responsibility of making sure parents are informed about any problems concerning their children.
Personal information will be held and used in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998-2003. Swan Training Institute will not disclose such information to any unauthorized person or body but where appropriate will use such information in carrying out its various functions and services. Swan Training Institute School may also use this data in connection with the prevention or detection of fraud or other crime.
Finally – please remember how important it is for all of us that students go home happy. If you feel at all worried, or if your student presents any sort of problem whatsoever, please contact us.
I confirm I have read and agree to Swan Training Institute Host Family Guidelines terms and conditions.
Host family name