IALC Accommodation Standards - Host family, homestay, residential & hotels

Most language school students stay in host families or homestays, but apartments, residences and studios are becoming increasingly popular as well. These minimum requirements are for students aged 16+.

Host family

Minimum Requirements

  • The bedroom must be suitably furnished with a bed and adequate storage space, lighting, chair and desk. If there is no desk in the student’s room, a private and appropriate work/study area must be available in the home.
  • The room should be appealing, with natural light, and the furniture should be in good condition.
  • The room must be for the student’s, or sharing students’, private use (i.e. not a room also used by the family).
  • Ideally, students should be accommodated as the only native speaker. Member schools should advise their clients of their policies in this regard.
  • Member schools should advise their clients of their policies regarding the possible number of students accommodated in households.
  • If the student has booked half board, the main meal of the day should be taken with the family and should consist of a least two courses (e.g. main course and salad or main course and dessert).
  • Meals should vary throughout the week.
  • Rooms, common areas, kitchen and bathroom must be clean.
  • The bathroom should be in a good state of cleanliness and repair and students should be allowed a minimum of one bath or shower daily.
  • Linen and towels must be changed on a regular basis.
  • Families should talk to the students as much as possible.
  • During winter in colder climates, heating must be available.
  • Distance to school should not exceed more than 30 minutes on foot or by public transport (1 hour in cities).
  • Families and their homes must be known to the school staff or to their appointed accommodation agent.
  • Families must be inspected prior to the first placement. There must be a stringent evaluation and monitoring scheme involving re-inspection at regular intervals or on an "as needs" basis.
  • The standard of the families must be monitored by a questionnaire to students.
  • Students’ wishes and needs, such as non-smoking/smoking, allergies, vegetarian food, etc., must be taken into account as far as reasonably possible.

Family details

Before the student’s arrival, this information should be sent to the agency or student:

  • Address and telephone number of the family.
  • Updated information on family members (profession, age, etc.)
  • Travel information: How can the student get there by public transport?
  • Where practical, a map on which the nearest public transport, the house of the family and the school are marked.
  • Distance to school.
  • An emergency telephone number in case any kind of problem arises on arrival.

And before or on arrival 

  • Information on how to get from the family to the school.
  • Clear rules / do's and don'ts 

Residential and other types of accommodation

Minimum Requirements

  • Accommodation must be clean.
  • The rooms should be appealing and the furniture should be in good condition and not too old.
  • Toilets and bathrooms should be in good state of repair (no mould etc.)
  • There should be a person in charge of regular cleaning, except where the students are responsible for cleaning, e.g. flat-sharing in some locations.
  • Clear fire regulations and procedure for residential accommodation.
  • Adequate security.
  • Clear guidelines.


Minimum Requirements

  • Hotels must be clean and the service should be good.
  • The rooms should be appealing and the furniture in good condition.
  • Unless otherwise requested, hotels should have a minimum of two stars.
  • The rooms should be ensuite with the bathrooms in a good state of repair.
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