This is a message intended for all students who are becoming apart of the SOGA family. It is a legal requirement for students whose families live overseas to have a Guardian resident in the UK, and your parents have chosen SOGA to provide this service for you.
We are all very happy when a new student joins us at SOGA. Whether you are already studying in the UK or just beginning, it rewards us at SOGA to know that you will be able to get the most out of your time here whilst in our care.
Studying abroad during these years of your life is a fantastic, life-changing oppurtunity.
Our team is here to help you meet the challenges ahead, and we look forward to meeting you!
SOGA is a small team, so over your time in Scotland you will get to know all of us as well as your guardian family. I am SOGA's Director, Pam and I am aided by my husband Peter and our admin assistant, Caroline.
If you have questions or worries, no matter how small you may think they seem, talk to us. If you need help to organise your school uniform, your travel arrangements or have any questions or worries we are here waiting to help you.
Everybody who is a part of SOGA has two aims when it comes to our interactions with you:
to work with you and your school to achieve your academic goals;
to help you make the most of your time with your Host Family so that you achieve your social goals.
Host families provide a home from home accommodation for you during half-terms and exeats. They have a responsibility to protect and care for you in a safe and secure environment.
Upon your arrival, host families will welcome you and explain their house rules.
One of the biggest benefits of staying with a host family is that it gives you an insight and understanding of life in Scotland. You will also have the opportunity to learn many new and interesting things while staying with your host.
It is important to remember that you are staying with them as part of the family, and not as a guest in a hotel. Host families do not get paid to look after you, the money they get is to cover the cost of your food and the extra expenses accrued by having an additional person in the house.
Your Host Family will explain to you their house rules, but all students should read the following points about how SOGA expects all students to approach their time with their Host Family.
When staying with a host family, you are expected to come into the family home and live as part of the family. This means spending time socialising with your hosts. You will be expected to follow house rules and be respectful to your hosts, their family, their home and any pets they may have. It is also important that you consider others when doing activities. For example: If you use the computer during the night, remember to be quiet as someone else in the house may need to get up early to go to work in the morning.
This can be a sensitive subject, as what is considered the level for good hygiene can vary between different families or cultures. In Scotland, good hygiene means showering once a day. These showers are typically five to ten minutes long using soap, or body wash, and shampoo. Most host families will have toiletries available for your use but feel free to bring your own. Scottish people tend to shower in the morning, however, some may shower in the evening before bed. If you prefer an evening shower, please check with your host the latest time at night that you can use the shower facilities.
For longer stays with your host, you may have dirty clothes you wish to have washed. You may feel you wish to wash these yourself - in this case, please ask your host to show you where this may be done. The host may offer to wash your clothing for you, in which case ask your host where you can leave and collect your laundry. Please give your host plenty of time to have them washed and dried.
Upon your arrival, the family will talk to you about your likes and dislikes. While you will never be made to eat anything you don’t like, you will be expected to eat British food. Family life is based around mealtimes. Some hosts will be happy for you to help with the cooking of the main meals, so if you have any meals you would like them to prepare, talk to them and see if this would be possible.
Remember, you are not staying in a hotel or B&B. You will need to keep your room tidy. You will also be expected to tidy up after yourself in communal areas, such as the living room or bathroom. Depending on the host you stay with, you may also be expected to help with chores around the house, such as clearing the table after meals, or washing the dishes.
You will also be expected to let the family know when you are going out, where you are going and what time you will be back. If for whatever reason, you are not able to get back on time, you must let the host know why you are not going to be back in time and when they can expect you to be back.
During your stay, you will be expected to speak English at all times. Even if sharing with another student from your home country. You are in this country to learn and improve your English language skills and communication, so you will be expected to socialise with the host family during mealtimes and in the evenings.