I can still remember the first time that I decided to experience a different culture and way of life. I had made plans to spend a few weeks in another country, and decided to stay with a host family. By doing this I thought I would really learn more about the country and its traditions rather than if I booked myself into a hotel or hostel.
To say that I was nervous was an understatement, and for many weeks prior to the event I seriously considered not making the journey. In my mind, I imagined all sorts of things that could go wrong, and the more I concentrated on those negative thoughts, the more I “knew” that I shouldn't leave the safety of my home. After all, what did I know about the country or the people, and what would be expected of me?
During the time leading up to my journey I began to regularly wake up during the middle of the night. I was restless and obviously my mind was working overtime. None of my thoughts were positive, and it seemed to me that my time living with an unknown family was destined to be a disaster. I was absolutely certain that I would make a complete idiot of myself by not adhering to the customs and habits of my hosts.
So apart from having travelled a little, who am I and how am I qualified to give such advice? Consider the following:
It was just over 30 years ago when I knew I was in potential trouble. One evening I arrived home from work to be met by a smiling wife, who informed me that she had thought of a clever way to earn some additional money.
She showed me an advertisement in a local newspaper that had been placed by a School Of English. The governors of the school were looking for people who would be willing to look after students who would arrive from countries all around the world. In exchange for a reasonable rent, we had to provide a welcoming home, and treat people as if they were part of our family. To be honest, I immediately disliked the idea!
My first worry was that I didn't like the thought of strangers living with us. Secondly, I thought that it may put pressure on our private life…that the students would somehow interfere with our day to day routine. And not least, I worried that I may simply not like the people.
I explained my feelings to Marian, and she calmly but firmly told me that it was too late for those worries, because our first student would be arriving the next day! She had already been in contact with The School of English earlier in the day, and they had asked her if we would be willing to accept a young female student from Thailand. She had said that we would, and it was too late now to change our minds.
The next morning I set off for work as usual, but all day I had a nagging worry in my head. I tried to ignore it, but I knew that the problem was of my own making. I was really unsure whether we were doing the right thing by taking strangers into our house.
When it was time to finish work, I drove home slowly - I think I wanted the clock to stand still, or even better to be turned backwards! I walked up the garden path, put my key in the door lock, and took a deep breath. The big moment had arrived.
My wife called out to me, and walked out from the kitchen alongside a beautiful young lady whose Thai name translated to “Water Melon”. As if by magic, she glided across the hallway and after handshakes and bows were exchanged, she proceeded to remove my shoes for me! Apparently that is what she was brought up to do in her home. In all of ten seconds, I had changed from being the eternal pessimist into a man who thought that learning about new cultures was a brilliant idea!
It soon became clear that we actually enjoyed this way of life. It had nothing to do with money, because we soon realised that this would never be a massive business. In fact we now know that anyone who only does this for money shouldn't be doing it. This is a lifestyle choice - a commitment to strangers that you will do your utmost to look after them while they are guests in our home and country.
And after such a long time, we can look back on some of the fun, sadness, disasters and wonderful events that we have encountered. I think we are more than qualified to say that we have seen it all! Having recently retired from full time work now is the time that we can pass on our experiences, so that you can enjoy peace of mind both before travelling as well as when you arrive in Britain. Provided you learn and act upon our advice, you will arrive full of confidence, take every new day in your stride, and be the person that others look up to for guidance.
Some of you may be having second thoughts about living with a family. You may think you would be happier in a hotel, but you will miss out on so many things if you ignore the Host Family option. So how can we help you?
I'm also aware that most of you reading this are students, and that's a lot of money to part with. And so I thought very carefully and decided to ...
But after 30 years of hosting, I want to pass on my knowledge to as many people as possible at the lowest rate... I think that's only fair... And so...
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Not only that, but this offer comes with a cast iron guarantee. If within 30 days of purchasing this book, and for any reason you don't think this book can help you when you stay with a British Host Family, then I will ...