International Student Homestay Charter
Guidelines for Students
At the Irish College of English we believe that the host family experience should be one of the highlights of your stay with us and to this end, we encourage all students, adults and juniors alike, to make the most of this fantastic opportunity. You may be experiencing the Irish culture for the first time and should be prepared to experience and embrace routines, meals and customs different to what you are accustomed to.
Office Phone No. 00353 1 845 3744
(for general enquires)
Emergency Phone 00353 85 7065937
(This phone is manned 24 hours but should only be used only in an emergency situation)
It is important to remember that home stay accommodation is not the same as staying in a guest house or hotel, it is a stay with a friendly, welcoming family where students are treated as members of the family and will have the opportunity to speak English and interact with an Irish family. The aim is for students to join in family life as much as possible and improve their English by using it in real life situations. Students should in turn behave with respect and courtesy to the host family and abide by house rules. Most host families have their own house rules which they will tell students at the beginning of their stay, these rules will include information on the use of the kitchen, bathroom, laundry etc. Students are expected to fit into the normal household routine. We have a range of different homestays and different family dynamics including families young and old, with and without children and also single women of all ages.
Quality Host Families:
Students are placed in carefully selected families from our locality who have all been visited and vetted by a member of ICE prior to hosting students. We also operate a continuous assessment through written feedback forms which all students complete prior to departing. All our host families are also invited to take part in the official Garda Vetting process which is organized through our school.
Arrival and Departure:
If you are part of a group, you will be met at the airport by a member of our staff and brought to a pickup point where you will be collected by your host family. Individuals who have requested a transfer will be met by a staff member and dropped to your families.
Going to and from School:
- Your family will help you get to school on your first morning, after that, students should make their own way to and from school.
- Meals are provided by the host family in accordance with normal family life and household routine. Should you have any dietary issues or allergies, it is imperative that we are informed prior to your arrival. Please refer to our waiver below. You should also be aware that meal times and food in Ireland may differ from your home country so you should take the opportunity to embrace the cultural differences. Do tell your family if there is any food that you dislike in particular.
- Continental breakfast (cereal, toast, juice, tea/coffee).
- A packed lunch (sandwiches, a drink, fruit and a snack) – if on a full board option.
- Dinner will be the normal family evening meal (meat/fish/chicken with vegetables and potatoes or pasta with salad etc) This is a good time of day to chat with the family and practice your English! Please advise the family in advance if you are not going to be home for dinner.
Laundry, Linen and Towels
- Families will provide students with a towel on arrival and their bed will be freshly made.
- Families will do students’ laundry on a weekly basis and most families show students where to place their clothes to be washed each week and explain how their family laundry works.
- Host families do not provide toiletries so you should bring these with you.
Use of the House:
- Students should have access to one shower a day in the host family, but should be respectful of the time they spend in the bathroom and the amount of hot water they use as homes are often busy, and students should be aware of others needs. It is also normal to clean the bath/shower/wash basin after each use.
- Students shouldn’t take food from kitchen without permission.
- Students do not have permission to prepare food in the kitchen.
- Students should respect the use of communal areas including the living room, TV room and must not take over any space that is normally shared by other members of the family.
- Students are not allowed to bring friends over without specific permission.
- It is at the discretion of the host family whether to give a house key to students.
- Should a student damage or break any household items, the damage should be paid for by the student (if adults) or students’ parents (if juniors). The Irish College of English takes no responsibility for any such damage.
Tidiness & Manners
- Please remember that you will be living with the host family as part of the household and therefore should keep your bedroom clean and tidy and offer to help the family clear up after dinner etc.
- In Ireland, it is customary to always say please and thank you, good morning/evening etc. and families may be offended if you don’t use these polite terms.
- Noise levels should be kept to a minimum, especially at night.
Smoking / Alcohol
- Students are not permitted to smoke inside the house of any host family.
- Students under 18 years of age or those attending school/summer programmes are not allowed to consume alcohol, whether it is inside the home or outside the home and should not enter pubs. This is regardless of what is permitted in their own homes or home countries. Such use of alcohol or drugs will result in immediate expulsion from the programme.
- While most of our programmes at ICE have a busy schedule, students always have a degree of free time. Junior students have free time going to and from their host family home, break and free time during school and activities, evenings and Sundays.
- We advise parents of junior students pre departure to set their own limitations regarding this free time and safety as this time is not supervised by our staff. We advise parents not to allow them to leave the local area during this time. Junior students are not permitted to go into Dublin city unsupervised, or attend discos/other such events not arranged by ICE.
- Sunday is the day you will spend more time with your host family. We ask students to cooperate and put aside time to be with their family on a Sunday. Most students will spend part of the day with the family and part of the day with friends.
- We have a strict curfew of 21:30 for all students attending a youth programme, even if they are 18 years of age.
- It is the host family’s responsibility to ensure that students are home and safe by 21:30, if a student is not home, the host family will inform the school by using the emergency phone number. Students who disobey this curfew rule will be expelled.
- Students attending an adult programme should inform host family of any late night home arrivals.
- Host families will deal with any emergencies in the same way they would with a member of their own family. This may require phoning the police/ambulance or doctor.
- Where students have allergies or other medical conditions that we are informed of, we will do our best to inform families pre-arrival, however students should also inform families of any allergies or medical problems that they deem appropriate. ICE or host families cannot be held responsible for ensuring students medical demands are met as they are moving into a normal family household – please see our policy below.
- There is an out of hours emergency Northside service called – D DOC, it opens Mon – Fri 6pm to 8am and 24 hours on weekends and bank holidays. With this service, you can talk to a nurse or doctor or if deemed necessary arrange to be seen by a GP. The number is 1850 22 4477.
- The Irish College of English should be informed of any such emergencies.
- European Students should have a European Medical Insurance card with them, this will cover both hospital and private practice visits and some prescriptions.
- Students from outside the EU should arrange private medical insurance for the duration of their stay.
- All medical costs and associated costs should be covered by the student where insurance does not cover costs. Students should have sufficient funds to cover necessary visits to doctors/dentists etc.
Students with Allergies & Chronic Medical Conditions attending the Irish College of English
At the Irish College of English it is our policy to act like any reasonably prudent parent when dealing with an emergency situation. However due to the short term nature of stays (normally 2 – 4 weeks) we are not in a position to train staff or host families in dealing with specific students’ medical conditions.
We would advise parents or guardians of students with serious medical conditions to consider whether their child is mature enough regarding the management of their medical condition to attend a course abroad. Parents should familiarise themselves with all information available on our website at www.iceireland.com. Should you decide that the programme is not suitable for your child we will be happy to cancel their booking and refund the course pre arrival.
Should parents or guardians decide to send children to one of our camps, they in doing so acknowledge that their child is capable of attending such a course. In addition parents or guardians are aware that the school, its staff or host families cannot be responsible for any medication or prevention of allergies or other conditions.
Parents should be aware that the majority of our staff and host families would have no medical training. We have first aid boxes at each centre with a member of staff responsible for this. This does not extend to after school activities. There is no legal or contractual duty for any member of staff or any host family to administer medication or supervise a student taking medication. In an emergency situation we expect all our families and staff to act as a reasonably prudent parent would.
Where details are provided to ICE of students medical conditions, this information may be communicated where possible to relevant staff, host families, medical personnel etc but it is the responsibility of the child to be able to communicate all necessary medical information on their condition.
While it is unlikely that you will have any problems during a home stay, here are some recommendations in the event of any issues which may arise.
First of all, discuss any problem and try to find a solution between student and host family. It is important to look at any problem from both perspectives to find a solution.
If the problem persists or you feel you cannot deal with the situation, please tell us so we can resolve the issue during your stay.
In the event that either the host family or the student is unhappy with the arrangement, the Irish College of English will, where possible & appropriate, place the student in alternative accommodation.
We also ask parents to remind their children to take a common sense approach to their own safety, while Malahide & Portmarnock are safe areas children should take the usual precautions they would at home.
At the Irish College of English we organise a home stay booking service to facilitate students wishing to study at our school. We have policies in place to ensure that host families are of a proper standard and we receive feedback from students on each host family stay, this feedback along with an inspection by our host family coordinator allows us recommend families to students. The Irish College of English accepts no responsibility for any instances occurring during the home stay or for any damage or loss incurred etc.