You can book accommodation with a host family before you come to Edinburgh. This gives you a great opportunity to practise your English with real native speakers, and to learn more about British and Scottish culture. All of our families are carefully selected and inspected regularly, and we give all students a questionnaire soon after arrival, to make sure that everything is OK. We look for families who:

  • Are friendly and welcoming to students
  • Have a clean and pleasant house
  • Live where there is easy transport to the school.

A host family can be a couple and two children, a couple whose children have left home, or a single retired person, or a young working person … or any kind of household. All of them are carefully selected to make students feel at home and enjoy their stay in Edinburgh.


Most of our families live in residential areas, so you’ll often have to take a bus to come to school from your family – an Edinburgh bus pass costs £18 per week or £54 per month. But Edinburgh is a small city, and the journey time is around 20-35 minutes.

You can choose between self-catering, when you buy and cook all your own food, and half board (dinner, bed and breakfast) when the family provide breakfast and dinner for you. Which is best? It depends what you want, and what kind of person you are.

With self-catering, you have more independence, because you don’t have to be there at fixed meal times. On the other hand, you have to share the kitchen with your hosts, and agree times when you can use it. Your host will probably ask you to wash up everything you use every time you cook, which is reasonable, but you may not feel like it if you’ve eaten late. When you move in, you’ll be given a space in a cupboard and the refrigerator to keep your food. Kitchen utensils are provided by your hosts.

If you choose half board, you will have to be home for agreed meal times, or contact our hosts if you are going to be late or not at dinner. You may find that the family eat much earlier than you normally would, or that some of the food is strange for you. However, you are sitting down for meals regularly with your hosts, and having the opportunity to speak English with them. Eating is an important social occasion, and can make it easier to get to know your hosts.

Students choosing either half board or self-catering with a family have a real chance to see how people live in the UK. Often, they end up cooking a meal for their hosts and exchanging recipes. Some are still in touch years later.