Becoming a Host Family

Many of the families who host students of Shannon Academy have been taking students every year since the school was established. All of our host families tell us that they gain as much from the stay as the students do! There are many benefits to becoming a host family. The extra income for the household can help with unforeseen expenses, boost savings for a holiday, or help families to plan ahead for their children’s third-level education.

Cultural Exchange for both students and the Host Family

The cultural and language exchange enriches the experience of both students and family members alike and is particularly beneficial for the social skills of children and teenagers in the home. Young people enjoy exchanging stories about school, hobbies and their favourite music and TV, all while learning to communicate across the language barrier. Many lifelong friendships have been formed through these stays, with host families keeping in touch with students and even visiting their families abroad!

Students attend classes during the day, with transport provided to and from all activities. Preparing meals is simply a matter of adding an extra place to your usual meals and providing a packed lunch. Students fit in with normal family activities during evenings and weekends.

Hear what some of our Host families have to say

Register your interest in becoming a Host Family

How it Works

Those who are interested in becoming a host family are invited to register on the Shannon Academy of English website and to enter some basic details about their home – for example the number of rooms available, number of people in your household, distance from schools, available dates, as well as pets, interests, etc.

After this initial enquiry, a member of the Shannon Academy team will get in contact to arrange a visit to your home in order to check the accommodation and ensure a homely environment. Garda vetting is required for every adult (over 16?) resident in your home. Once accepted as a host family, you will be allocated student(s) who you will meet and greet when they arrive in Athlone and receive their timetable and itinerary. The Shannon Academy team are available to answer any queries, and a member of staff is on call 24/7 to offer support and assistance to both students and host families.

Staying with a Host Family

Naturally, students can be nervous when they arrive in Ireland, particularly if it is their first time abroad by themselves. However, the nerves soon disappear as they experience the famous Irish céad mile failte (hundred thousand welcomes) and settle into their ‘home away from home’! Students can be housed by themselves or with a friend. Often, they share with a student of another nationality which eases the transition of staying away from home in a foreign country. Host families are well known to the school staff and are carefully chosen for their friendliness and hospitality. Shannon Academy personnel regularly visit and inspect the homes to ensure that they match the highest standards. Students staying with host families are provided with three meals a day (including a packed lunch). Full participation in the life of the host family is encouraged, and students benefit greatly from their interactions with their new environment. For students participating in the Academic Programme and not within walking distance of the school, a bus is arranged. The bus journey to the school is no more than 20 minutes.

Apartment accommodation

Depending on group size, some groups may stay in apartment accommodation close to the school. Apartment accommodation is fully supervised on a 24-hour basis. For students over 18, or groups who are under 18 and have group leaders, Shannon Academy can offer luxury, self-catering apartment accommodation, with or without full board.