We were extremely nervous about hosting students in our home.  We’ve got small daughters of four and five, who are loud and messy and like to be naked a lot of the time.

One of my kids is very choosy food-wise, although we try not to let that affect the meals the rest of us eat, inevitably, it can mean some odd side dishes are served.

We also didn’t have a ‘spare room’, although we did have a front room for TV and relaxing along with a chaotic play room, so re-thought that arrangement.

We ditched a lot of toys and tried to get more organised with the rest, moving lots up into the girl’s bedrooms.  We moved everything into the old playroom, which looks out at the garden and is a decent sized room too.  It felt fantastic to actually and finally reclaim this room after four years of it being toy-filled.

We put twin beds (gumtree) into the old front room.  A wardrobe from Emmaus, a desk, a couple of chairs and a small chest of drawers.  I bought new but cheap bedding in polycotton, so its easy to wash and dry, and isn’t a disaster if it gets marked or stained.

I signed up with a couple of different language schools.  I have an extended DBS check from my work with children last year. The house is all safe, as we had lots of building work done and it had to pass all the planning and building safety stuff.

Because we didn’t want to have a lot of responsibilities for young ones (on top of my one), we specifically asked for older guests, and our first two booked in are 18 & 19 year-old boys from Austria.

Unfortunately, one of them was unwell, and unable to travel, though we’re hoping he’ll follow on this week.  Our one boy is really lovely.  Sweet, friendly and keen to fit in.  He seems to love the food I’m cooking (I did email him to find out what he likes for breakfast and dinner – burgers, spaghetti and pastries in the morning).

Whilst they are students, studying business at home, they are not studying here, but are on work experience and trying to improve their English.  This means that our boy is out of the house from 9-5 at the very least.  He loved his first day at work yesterday.  And came and ate his reheated dinner with us in front of Game of Thrones in the evening (he came home late after watching the footie).

I think I worried unnecessarily.  He’s happy to be in a home, with food cooked for him.  He’s not going to come home boozy and out-of-order.  He is a lovely bloke.  Just at that point between a teenager and an adult.  Unsure of himself, but brave enough to live in a house with a family he doesn’t know, away from home for three weeks.  That’s braver than I am.

And he bought chocolate and toys for the girls.  They think he’s wonderful.


Our twin room

Our guest room (another bed in the opposite corner)