Host Family Guidelines
All host families should read this thoroughly and sign at the end of this webpage.
Thank you for your interest in hosting a student with ISI’s High School Programme. In our opinion, students on this programme are different in many ways than the average short-term language student. They are younger (all are under 18), stay longer (average 40 weeks) and ultimately, their parents invest more money to send them here.
On that basis, we feel they should be treated a little differently too. They are seeking active, caring, and friendly families who are interested in them, and willing to accept them as part of their family. For the majority, the experience they have in their host family is what they remember most, so the role you play as a host is important. We have designed this guide to inform new and existing families of what is expected of them, and what they can expect from the student and ISI. If you ever have any questions or problems, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
ISI – company information and location
ISI is a highly respected, award winning, English language school teaching over 1,500 students per year. Our beautiful buildings are located in the heart of the city-centre, only 10 minutes’ walk from O’Connell Street. Since 2002 we have operated a successful High School Placement programme and have placed many students at secondary or “high” schools across the country. We pride ourselves on a very high standard of guardianship and support service.
- ISI High School Office, 39 Parnell Sq. West, Dublin 1
The basics of what we expect from you as a host family:
General ISI expectations:
- To take the student to the uniform shop after arrival in Ireland.
- To encourage the student to speak English as much as possible in your home.
- To encourage the student to feel at home and to treat him/her as a member of the household rather than a paying guest and include the student in family occasions where possible and appropriate.
- To give your student a house key.
- We would prefer you not to host other international students during the time our high school student is with you. The main reason is that our students like to feel a unique part of the family and not just another student who is staying and paying to live there. However, we know many of you host other students and we will not insist you stop. We would however ask you not to host another student of the same native language at the same time, and to make every effort to ensure our student feels welcome.
- To always consider the student’s welfare, safety, and security both in the home and outside the home.
- To include the student’s normal laundry in the family washing. Students are responsible for his/her dry-cleaning when needed.
- To keep in contact with our office to help resolve any problems the student may have during his / her stay.
- To respect the student’s cultural background and to be sensitive to your student`s privacy, cultural background, religion, sexual orientation & political beliefs.
- Where requested to provide arrival and departure transfers from the airport or agreed meeting point (see fees).
- Host families must not go away for weekends/or on holiday & leave the students un-supervised at home at any time. Please contact us here at the office if you need to make alternative arrangements.
And, to provide your student with the following:
- A clean and well-maintained home.
- Their own private bedroom, or shared bedroom with another high school student if previously agreed.
- An appropriate home environment for your student to study properly.
- A balanced and appropriate diet. (We will inform you if your student is unable to eat certain foods, but it is always a good idea to ask if there are any specific requirements when the students arrive.)
- Adequate storage space for clothes.
- Access to daily bath or shower.
It’s your home and your rules but here are some guidelines of what we expect. Remember, you need to make sure your student understands how things work in your home, so please discuss any house rules with him/her.
Eating & Mealtimes
It is a good idea to discuss what type of tings your student likes to eat. Every high school student is on a full board basis, and this means they require the following –
- A substantial breakfast. It doesn’t need to be a cooked breakfast but should be substantial, for example, cereal, toast, tea/ coffee, juice. It should be the same that you supply to the rest of your family.
- A packed lunch on school days – such as a sandwich, piece of fruit, packet of crisps, cereal bar, and a drink. A normal lunch should be served/ available at home at the weekends.
- A hot dinner should be available every evening at home.
It is always a good idea to inform your student about mealtimes in your home. They should fall in with your regular mealtimes. Students should eat with the family whenever possible. We would appreciate all our host families giving the students the freedom to make tea/ coffee or make a reasonable snack when they wish in between mealtimes. It is the student’s responsibility to inform you in advance if they will not be present for any meals – please remind them of this.
The minimum requirements for the bedroom are:
- A comfortable full-size bed.
- A desk and chair (this can be in a different room as long as it is a quiet space).
- A wardrobe and chest of drawers.
- A bedside lamp.
- Adequate heating.
- Bed linen & Towel (to be changed weekly).
A clean bathroom is essential and should provide:
- Sufficient hot water to provide the student with at least one bath or shower each day.
- Sufficient time should be available to the student to use the facilities.
*It may be a good idea to explain ‘how things work’ in the bathroom. Do not take it for granted that all students are familiar with Irish bathrooms! For example, in Japan, people sometimes take a shower before they get into the bath! Most Irish families of course would consider this extravagant!
The first couple of weeks
Please remember this may be the student’s first weekend away from home alone and you may be the first contact the student has in an unfamiliar country, so it is very important to greet the student warmly. A smile and a friendly gesture can make a real difference after a long journey and arrival in unfamiliar surroundings. We recommend that once the first welcoming exchanges have been made, you make a point of settling your student into your home and area as soon as possible. On the first weekend, we ask that you:
- Talk to your student about the family routine and how things work in the home.
- Give your student a key to the house and make sure you show the student how to secure your property.
- Explain how they should get to their high school on the first day.
- Take them to the uniform shop and help them to purchase their uniform. We will provide you with a list.
- Plan to have one special event as a family to mark their arrival. This could be as simple as eating together or going for a walk, the emphasis is on making the student feel that they are welcome.
- Do not be afraid to be direct and clear about what is acceptable and unacceptable in your home. Our experience has shown that it is best to make these things clear from the beginning. Be firm but kind and consistent in your approach.
Feedback from students
We will arrange to meet with you and your student, individually within the first few weeks after their arrival, preferably in your home. During this time, we would hope to meet with you and the student to ensure that everything is running smoothly. We will also complete a student care plan with you and the student to ensure there is no uncertainty around the household routine and rules. We will also speak to the students separately to discuss how they are getting on in school, your home and if they are experiencing any problems. We will provide you with feedback on this if required or appropriate. After the first meeting, we will meet with the students monthly, and provide monthly reports to parents.
Complaints from students
We try very hard to send you students who will fit into your household. However, occasionally things don’t go as well as planned. If you are at all concerned about the behaviour of your student, please contact us immediately. It is our policy to consult with both parties on the issue and try to resolve the problem amicably before moving the student. Sometimes, a move will be unavoidable, whether it’s at the request of the student or you, the host family. In such events, we will always do our best to deal with the situation as sensitively as possible.
If your student needs any medical assistance during his/her stay, we kindly ask you to make an appointment with your local GP. If you need advice or assistance, please call ISI. EU students are covered by EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) and therefore shouldn’t need to pay for their appointment. Non-EU students are obliged to have private medical cover. They will need to pay for their appointment in advance but should keep their medical receipts to give to their parents.
High School Attendance
- Attendance (roll call) is monitored each day at school. Therefore, if for some reason the student cannot go to school any day (such as illness), please call ISI and the school to explain.
- If the student fails to attend school, the school will contact our office, and we will inform you and their parents. After class students are expected to go home. They should be home no later than dinner time. Students are asked to contact you if they are running late and confirm when they will be home.
- We have a warning system in ISI. If the student misbehaves or breaks any of the rules, which have been explained at orientation, they will receive a verbal warning. A written warning will follow, as well as a subsequent two further written warnings. If bad behaviour continues, they will have to leave the programme and return home.
Curfew: The times students are expected to be in your home
Sunday – Friday/ School nights By 9PM in the host family or immediate area– except when attending supervised school events for which permission has been previously granted.
Fridays & Saturdays By 10PM in the host family or immediate area– except when attending supervised school events.
Students must leave their local town or city centre no later than 7PM in order to be home on time.
Staying out after these times or overnight stays with a friend
If a student wishes to stay overnight in a friend’s house, the student must contact their ISI coordinator with full information in advance. We must be provided with the name, address & contact number of the adult in charge, i.e., friend’s parent. Students must ask their natural parents to give written consent to ISI no later than 3 days in advance. We kindly ask you to inform us if you know of any plans which we may not have heard about, or anything you are concerned about.
The Student’s Discipline & Behaviour Agreement
We provide each student with a copy of the following guidelines and ask that they and their parents sign and agree to obey them: All students are subject to Irish law for the duration of the programme. Students are also subject to the discipline policies and rules of their high school and their host family. In addition to this, ISI, as guardians, will insist on the following:
The following actions are in all circumstances prohibited:
- Consuming any alcoholic beverage under the age of 18.
- Taking any type of illegal drug or un-prescribed medicine; associating or having contact with any person involved in or associated with un-prescribed or illegal drugs. (You must inform ISI if you are taking any prescription medication).
- Driving a car or motorbike.
- Staying away from the host family/residential school overnight without permission from
- ISI and
- The host family/school and
- Your parents/guardian.
- Being absent from school without permission. All absences must be justified (for example certified sickness). Also note that if you are absent for 20 days or more the Irish Department of Education and Science will investigate, and you could be expelled from both your school and the HSP programme.
- Leaving the school premises without permission.
- Travelling outside your residential area without the permission of ISI and your parents/guardian.
- Borrowing money from classmates or lending money to classmates.
- Inviting friends to host family/residential accommodation without prior permission from the host family and ISI.
- Bullying of any kind.
- Using mobile phones during class time.
- Working – students are not permitted to engage in any paid part-time employment.
- Getting tattoos or body-piercing while in Ireland
- Cooking in your host family’s home without permission to do so.
- Engaging in any sexual act or sexual relationship.
- Any acts which might cause injury to someone or damage to someone’s property.
- Breaking curfew.
- Disturbing class or behaving inappropriately or unacceptably during class.
Other ISI rules and guidelines include:
- Respect must be always shown to your teachers, your host family, and all staff members of ISI.
- You are expected to do all homework set by your teachers. In addition to homework, you are expected to devote some time each evening to private study. The minimum should be one hour per day.
- You must obey your curfew.
Students must follow these guidelines except where special events have been organised and prior permission has been granted:
- You must be home by dinner time each day (please confirm this time with your host family).
- You are allowed to socialise in the local area only until 9pm from Sunday – Thursday.
- You are allowed to socialise in the local area only until 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
- In all cases, the host family must be informed of:
- Where you are going.
- The time you expect to return.
- Who you will be with.
Breaches of the rules of ISI, the host family, and/or the school, can result in:
- Stage 1: Formal Verbal Warning (witnessed)
- Stage 2: First Written Warning (signed and witnessed)
- Stage 3: Final Written Warning
- Stage 4: Expulsion
In serious cases of disciplinary action, the verbal or first or final written warning may be foregone. In the final case, the student will be expelled from the programme and sent home immediately. Alternatively, a punishment more appropriate to the breach of discipline may be imposed (e.g., writing a letter of apology, Friday detention, chores at ISI language school or an earlier curfew).
Breaking the law in Ireland (such as shoplifting, damage to property, and use of illegal drugs) will result in immediate expulsion from the programme.
Important Dates, Arrival & Orientation
We generally ask that students arrive in Ireland on the Thursday before school starts. We then hold a group orientation on the Friday morning in our city centre location. This includes a programme presentation and lunch. Exact dates and arrangements will be provided to you shortly before term starts.
Purchasing the uniform and books
We kindly ask that each host family supervises the purchase of the student’s school uniform during the first weekend, and any schoolbooks within the first 2 weeks of arrival. We will supply you with the school’s uniform and book list.
Payment of Books & Uniform
For students on our state school programme, ISI will transfer €200 to your bank account from which the school uniform should be purchased. Please purchase the items and send us all the receipts as proof of payment as soon as possible. Anything over the amount of €200 should be paid by the student.
Purchasing the uniform
As an international student who is here on a temporary basis, they are usually only required to purchase the minimum/basic items that any student would need to participate in school. It’s difficult to be exact on what this means but if in doubt, the uniform shop should know. Depending on the school, this would normally mean a school jumper, trousers/skirt, shirt/blouse and/or a school tie.
Purchasing the books
Students are not advised to purchase their schoolbooks until they are satisfied that they are in the right subject and level. As schools are often unsure of the student’s ability in any subject they choose, they can often be placed in ordinary level in their first week. However, once their ability becomes clear they may be moved to the higher-level class in that subject. Most schoolbooks are written at a higher and lower level and therefore it is important to wait until it is clear what level the student is at prior to purchasing their books. Once this level is clear and the student is ready to purchase the books, we ask that you help them to do this. In our opinion, these are the simplest methods to do this:
- Buy them online: We find the website www.schoolbooks.ie to be reliable. Once books have been ordered and paid for by credit card, they should be delivered to you within 5 working days. Please get them delivered to your home address.
- Buy them in a local bookshop or Eason.
Rates and Payments
We view the fees we pay host families as a package, broken down into monthly payments. The weekly rate is €200 per week for a single room, and €180 for a shared twin room. These fees cover:
All meals, bed, and normal household bills during their time in your home & any costs associated with providing the services outlined in this guide.
- An arrival transfer is where you greet the student at an agreed time on arrival in Dublin airport and accompany them to your home. All students under 18 are required by law to be met on arrival in Dublin airport. Please bring suitable identification with you.
- A departure transfer for all students under 18 requires that you assist the student with check-in and see them through to departure security.
- Students staying outside of Dublin will be met at Dublin airport and transferred to suitable public transport. The local host family is requested to collect the student from their local train station/ bus stop.
Please Note: We do not charge students for an arrival or departure transfer and therefore include one transfer on arrival and one on departure in the above host family fees. Therefore, you will not be paid for first arrival transfer and final departure transfer. It is expected where possible that the host family will do all airport transfers. All other transfers, including midterm breaks and/or casual trips home are paid to you at a rate of €45/ €55 per transfer (depending on your location). If you are unable to do the transfer, please contact ISI so we can make alternative arrangements.
If you are arranging a family activity that will include the student, please either cover the cost of that activity or agree with the student that they will cover the cost themselves (within reason).
If you plan to take a weekend break or family holiday that does not include the student, you will not be paid for the days the student is absent from your care. You must contact the office so that we can make alternative arrangements (although we would ask that trips like such are kept to a minimum whilst hosting). If you do include the student, and they have agreed to join you, we will pay you for any dates within the agreed booking dates. Students cannot be expected to pay extra for any travel or extra costs unless agreed with their parents beforehand. We will pay you for nights when the student is absent from your home and care during midterm breaks or Easter holidays. Students must return to their home country for the Christmas holidays, and this time will therefore not be paid. Students will be asked to leave their room clean and tidy during this time in the event you may need the use of it during the holiday period.
Payments are processed on the 20th of each month. Payment is made directly into your bank account. If you are new to hosting or have changed banks, please contact the office by phone or email with your bank details. Payment is made at a daily rate, for all dates you have hosted within that month, from the 15th to the 15th. This is calculated by taking the weekly rate, dividing it by 7 days and multiplying that by the number of days the student stayed with you. We pay €200 per week for every whole week stay (single room), or €28.57 per night. If you have received an incorrect payment, please contact the office immediately.
GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – Contract for Processor
- ISI Dublin is a Data Processor and shall process personal data only on the written instructions of the Client who shall be the ‘Data Controller’ unless required to do so by law. In such cases ISI Dublin shall inform client, of that legal requirement before processing, unless that law prohibits such information on important grounds of public interest.
- ISI Dublin shall implement appropriate technical and organisational measures in such a manner that processing will meet the requirements of this Regulation and ensure the protection of the rights of the data subject.
- ISI Dublin shall have a procedure in place to ensure that client is notified prior to ISI Dublin’s engagement with another supplier which is acting as a sub processing of client’s personal data.
- In the case of general written authorisation, ISI Dublin shall inform client of any intended changes concerning the addition or replacement of other processors, thereby giving client the opportunity to object to such changes.
- ISI Dublin commits to confidentiality or are under an appropriate obligation of confidentiality (Non-Disclosure / Confidentiality Agreement)
- ISI Dublin shall:
- Take all measures required pursuant security of processing.
- Taking into account the nature of the processing, assist client by appropriate technical and organisational measures, insofar as this is possible, for the fulfilment of client’s obligation to respond to requests for exercising the data subject’s rights.
- Assist client in ensuring compliance with the obligations pursuant to security of Personal Data, notification of Personal Data breaches, Data Protection Impact Assessment, and prior consultation, taking into account the nature of processing and the information available to it.
- At the choice of client, delete or return all Personal Data to client after the end of the provision of services relating to processing, and delete existing copies unless the law requires storage of the Personal Data.
- Make available to client all information necessary to demonstrate compliance with the obligations laid down in this section and allow for and contribute to audits, including inspections, conducted by client or another auditor mandated by client.