From Japan to the UK: living with a British family

Deciding where to live for the duration of your studies can be difficult. Whilst halls of residence might seem like the obvious choice, university accommodation isn’t for everyone – so is there a different option?

INTO University of Gloucestershire offers homestay as an alternative accommodation choice. You’ll have your own private room in a host’s home, share mealtimes, have access to living spaces and experience British life and culture first-hand.

All University of Gloucestershire homestay hosts live in Cheltenham so you won’t be far away from the University campus or town centre, and the convenient public transport makes everything easily accessible.


Sayaka, who moved from Japan to study in the UK, shares her experience of living with a British family…

My decision to live with a host family

It was my first time living in Cheltenham and I felt a bit worried and nervous.

I chose homestay because I thought that living with a family would be nice and the experience would help me settle into UK life easier.

I knew they would also be able to support me if I had any problems.


My host family are lovely people! They are very kind, caring, supportive and are always there for me and treat me like a family member.

It’s a fun atmosphere – we tell each other jokes and have dinner together. We always sit at the table and talk about our day, which is a great opportunity to practice my English!

Tasting British roast dinners and cream teas

On Saturdays, I often go food shopping with my host family, and on Sundays we sit and have a traditional roast dinner. My host family are good cooks and I really enjoy their baking.

They also take me out to different places. We recently had a cream tea together which is a traditional English meal of tea, scones and jam.


A great room with a view

I have my own room with everything I need and access to my own bathroom.

From my bedroom window, I can see alpacas!


My host family lives near the Racecourse in Cheltenham so I take the bus to the University.

Being part of a family


The challenge for me in my homestay is that I am from a different culture, but my host family really try to understand me.

On a rainy day, my host’s will even drive me to University, so I don’t have to wait for the bus.

I can honestly say that I have no problems living in a shared accommodation with a family!

My advice to a student thinking about homestay is please do not be afraid of living with new people.

Host families will help and support you, they are very friendly and will welcome you into their family.

Don’t be nervous; participate in British family life and don’t worry about the culture difference – time will help you to adjust and settle into UK life.

Sayaka studies the Study Abroad with English course at INTO University of Gloucestershire. To follow in her footsteps, head over to our website.

You may also like to read Hsin-Tzu’s experience of living with a local family in Manchester or Taí’s experience moving to Cheltenham from Brazil.

To keep updated with other student adventures in Cheltenham and Gloucestershire, follow us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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