Who should apply?

  • Students who want to spend a term/semester or a year in Ireland, the UK, the USA or Canada, experience school life and a social life in that country and who want to perfect their English
  • Students who want to gain entry to a university either in their chosen country, or another which accepts that country’s high school qualifications as an entry qualification
  • Students who wish to follow the full high school programme of their chosen country from age 12 or 13

What do I need to apply?

  • You must be aged between 8 and 18 years
  • You must have a reasonable level of English
  • You must have achieved average or better than average grades in your last two school years
  • You must be in good health
  • You must be positive about participating in the programme and be prepared to make the effort to adapt when you arrive

When should I apply?

We continue to accept applications as long as there are suitable vacancies – usually until the end of August.

However you should remember that there are limited vacancies in all schools – and there are more standard schools than elite schools, and more elite schools than boarding schools.

We strongly recommend that you are guided by these dates:

Private Schools: September Start: Apply by early April

Public (State) Schools: September Start: Apply by early May / January Start: Apply by early October

The earlier you apply the more choice you may have.

Can I graduate from my high school programme?

Yes – if you pass the exams in the final year.

You will normally need to spend two years in a school before taking any official examinations. If your grades in your final exams are good enough you can then apply for entry to the university of your choice.

If you study with us in Ireland and achieve your Leaving Certificate, you can also apply to any British university.

If you study with us in the UK and achieve your A Levels or IB diploma you can also apply to any Irish university.

Can I choose my school?

Of course while you may choose a school, the school will also ultimately choose you!

Most schools have their own entry criteria and most schools have a limited capacity – so even if you are a brilliant student with fluent English, there may not be a suitable vacancy for you in your chosen school or school year.

HSI can assist you by recommending suitable schools with availability for you.

Can I choose my subjects?

When you have completed your application and provided us with all the information we need, we will match you to the best school that meets your needs – and this includes subject requirements.

If you have specific subjects requirements, it is essential that we are aware of them when you make your application. Remember that not all schools offer the same subjects and this is where our local knowledge and expertise is really helpful.

Does my son or daughter need guardianship?

  • If your son or daughter is going to be studying in the UK or Ireland then most likely the answer is “yes”.
  • In both the United Kingdom and Ireland, guardianship is a legal requirement for any student under the age of 16 who is travelling without their parents.
  • Even if your son or daughter is 16 or older, it is advisable for them to have a local guardian for the duration of their study programme.
  • Professional guardians, such as HSI, provide a range of services which act as a safety net for young learners who are away from home. This can be simple things such as organising airport transfers, to more complex things like helping to solve issues that students might be having at school or in their life outside of school. Reliable guardians will be the first point of call and quick to respond to all the students under their care.

What do I need to look for when choosing a reliable guardian?

  • In both the United Kingdom and Ireland there are governing bodies for professional guardianship organisations.
  • In the United Kingdom that association is called AEGIS, and in Ireland it is called AGPI.
  • These organisations set out the standards that guardianship providers must meet to be awarded with an accreditation.
  • It is important to choose an accredited guardianship provider so that you can be confident that they will be working to high standards to child welfare and professionalism.
  • HSI are accredited by both AEGIS and AGPI.
  • To learn more about the requirements of accreditation, follow the links: AEGIS; AGPI.

Should I choose standard or basic guardianship for my child?

  • We understand that every child and family will have slightly different needs. Therefore we have two levels of guardianship available: Standard and basic.
  • Broadly speaking, our standard guardianship programme is the most suitable for, and chosen by, the majority of our students. It provides a high level of supervision and support for students, and peace-of-mind with regular progress reporting for their parents.
  • We offer basic guardianship in the United Kingdom only. This programme is most suitable for families who require legal guardianship for their child, but perhaps have close friends or family living in the United Kingdom, close to the student’s school, who could also provide some support for the student if needed.

When should I apply for guardianship?

  • The best time to apply for guardianship is as soon as your son or daughter has received an offer letter from their chosen school.
  • Often, for students who require a visa, guardianship will be a condition of that visa, and so you should have your guardian in place prior to submitting a visa application.
  • If you are ready to make an application for guardianship, then you can do this by using our online form.
  • If you would like to ask any questions about our guardianship services in the UK or Ireland then we are here and ready to help.

Contact UK Office

Contact Ireland Office

What types of schools do you use, and where are they?

  • The schools we work with on our High School Immersions are all public (state) schools. These schools are government funded and serve the local communities.
  • We work with schools in various locations across the United Kingdom and Ireland, but they all:
    • are in small or medium sized towns and cities.
    • are easily accessible from a major airport.
    • are within day-trip distance from major tourist cities.
    • are in places we consider to be safe and suitable for young groups of overseas students.

Will my group of students study alongside British/Irish students?

Yes – this is a key part of our High School Immersion programmes. Your students will be integrated into the British/Irish school and study academic subjects alongside local students. They will be expected to participate in classes and complete any projects and homework as per the subject teacher’s instructions.

Can I choose the host school?

  • Unfortunately, not every school is always available to host every group, therefore it’s not always possible for you to choose the host school. Determining factors include:
    • the size of the group.
    • the ages of the students in the group.
    • the duration of the programme requested.
    • the start and end dates of the programme.
  • Once you have sent us the details of your group using our group enquiry form, we will determine which school(s) are available to host your group, and we will send you information about the school(s).

Where will my students live?

  • Our High School Immersion programmes are homestay programmes, so your students will live with a local host family.
  • Placements will normally be either single or twin.
  • HSI will be responsible for allocating the most suitable host family to each student.
  • All our host families are visited and vetted by us prior to placing a student. We ask our host families to provide:
    • police background checks.
    • gas safety certificates.
    • two personal references.
  • Host families provide 3 meals per day: breakfast, packed lunch and dinner.

Can you organise evening activities or weekend excursions?

Yes – we can organise both. If your group wishes to add evening activities and/or weekend excursions to our standard programme then let us know how many of each, and the budget that they have, and we will send you a sample programme to present to your group.

We give an indication of the cost of evening activities and weekend excursions on our price sheet.  If you would like us to send you a copy then click here to send us an email.


How long will each student stay with me?

Our students need host families for both short and long durations. Some students will stay for 1-4 weeks, and other for 1, 2 or 3 terms, and some for multiple years. If you have a preference, just let us know.

Who can be a host?

You are eligible to be a HSI host family if you:

  • Are aged over 25+
  • Are happy to undergo a full DBS background check
  • Have a spare single or twin bedroom
  • Can provide breakfast, packed lunch and dinner for our students
  • Are interested in meeting interesting new people and learning about other cultures
  • Can provide a warm and welcoming environment for students of any nationality

How can I become a host?

The process of registering as a HSI host family is:

  1. Contact High Schools International and complete our host family interest form.
  2. Our local Student Advisor will visit your property to do an inspection and discuss all your queries and questions about hosting.
  3. If you are still interested in hosting a student, then a registration pack is then sent out to you.
  4. O, we will ask you to return some forms to us to confirm your interest.
  5. We will carry out the necessary checks and inform you when we have a suitable student.

What safeguarding procedures do you have?

Student safety and welfare is of huge importance to us at High Schools International. Therefore, all potential host families must undergo a safeguarding check.

How many students can I host?

HSI host families can accommodate 1-2 long-term students. When we place 2 long-term students in the same household, they are normally different nationalities and should have their own private bedrooms.

Families hosting our short-term students can host between 1 and 3 students.

Where do the students go during holidays?

During the holiday periods, long-term students tend to go back to their home countries. However, if the student has asked and the host family is happy to host during these periods then they can stay.

What nationalities will the students be?

The nationalities of the students are extremely varied as we have students from all over the world choose to study through HSI.

What ages will the students be?

The age of our students will vary between 11 and 18.

Will I be the student’s guardian?

No. HSI act as Guardians for students on our programmes.

I’ve never hosted before – what support will I receive?

If you have never hosted before, this is not an issue as you will receive all the necessary support from our local Student Advisors or staff at HSI. This includes support with any questions or queries you may have when hosting. We are always on hand to deal with any questions or emergencies you may have about your student(s). Students Advisors are available to contact for general queries and a member of HSI staff is accessible 24/7 for emergencies via our emergency phone number.

What do host families do?

The responsibility of a host family is simply to provide a safe, stable and friendly environment with a bed and balanced, varied meals. Host families should offer the students the same comfort and care they would other members of the family.

We hope that all our host families enjoy hosting and get the most from the experience.


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