Every year a great number of students choose to stay at one of our Homestay accommodations. It’s high time to meet one of our hosts: Maura Farina.
Originally from Ireland, Maura has welcomed Homestay students for many years now. It was in 1986 she made a decision to become a host for students: ‘I approached the top London School International House and have never looked back!’
Maura remembers her first student very clearly: ‘A lovely young French man by the name of Martin. His father and brother came to visit our family for lunch to get acquainted and this was the start of my journey as a host mother!’
Over the past 21 years Maura has welcomed hundreds of students of all ages into her family home. The aim was to make them feel part of the family, essentially creating a home from home.
Maura: ‘Many of them now refer to us as their ‘London Family’ and are so thankful that their experience was made so much more enjoyable as a result of their time with us. Our family still keep in contact with so many of our previous homestays. We have had so many invitations to their own homes, from Brazil to Korea! Plenty of them also come back to visit us in London. Sometimes this happens 5, 10 or 15 years later and this in itself speaks volumes about the relationships we build together.’
Hosts can truly see a transformation of their homestay students during their stay. ‘Seeing young students come to London for the first time, sometimes reserved and lacking in confidence and then in turn seeing them leave with greatly improved English, social skills and a big smile on their face. It is truly heart-warming!’
Maura will certainly not stop being a host. ‘From the catch-ups over dinner or a cup of tea to hearing their stories from the day’s events, I would not change any of it for the world. By offering guidance, support and a warm environment, I believe their experience is the most rewarding and fulfilling it can be. And for that reason I love what I do!’
If you would like more information on Homestay or want to become a host yourself, visit http://www.ihlondon.com/studying-with-ih-london/accommodation/homestay/