Saturday 04 February 2023
Select a region
News

“We would urge anyone with the time and room to have a go"

“We would urge anyone with the time and room to have a go

Saturday 19 November 2022

“We would urge anyone with the time and room to have a go"

Saturday 19 November 2022


A local couple whose home has been a "revolving front door" for students coming to the island to learn English have urged others "with the time and room" to have a go.

Carol and Mick De La Cour, who first started hosting St. Brelade's College students in 2019, just before lockdown began, have been awarded the title of 'Hosts of the Year'.

Their efforts have been particularly appreciated by the college this year, which has been struggling to recruit islanders to act as hosts.

Before the pandemic, St. Brelade’s College hosted upwards of 2,000 international students to visit and study in the island.

However, they lost more than 90% of their visitors in 2020 and 2021, welcoming fewer than 100 students to the island across these two years combined.

At the beginning of May this year, the English language school began to bounce back as they welcomed back their first large school group to Jersey since 2019.

french_students_banana_boats.jpg

Pictured: The visiting students attend English lessons in the mornings, visit Jersey’s sights or take part in activities in the afternoon, and spend time with their host families in the evening to fully immerse themselves in Island life.

Host of the Year winners, Carol and Mick De La Cour explained that they had personally noticed a huge difference from pre-pandemic times with a “revolving front door” of guests.

Carol said: “When we first started home stay, we didn’t know what to expect. We took our first tentative steps with a lovely young girl from Paris, but not long after that we went into lockdown. 

“This year has been totally different. We’ve had a revolving front door as it has literally been one group out and another in!”

Although St. Brelade's College has recovered from the impact of covid, they have still faced challenges in the form of Brexit, staff shortages, and a lack of host families.

Brexit has meant that European visitors now need a passport as opposed to an ID card. Although this fortunately doesn't apply to school groups, adult visitors still have to face this additional hurdle.

st_brel_students_host_family.jpg

Pictured: Pre-pandemic host families were excited to welcome students into their homes.

St. Brelade’s College has also lost many members of staff over the past two years, in addition to noticing a sharp decline in local families offering to host students. 

Julia Brown, Marketing Manager at St. Brelade’s College, explained that, while the demand for international students to come to Jersey to study is there, they are having to turn students away due to a lack of host families.

She said: “It’s been really surprising how much harder it has been to recruit host families since the pandemic.  

“I thought people would jump at the chance to earn a bit of extra income, particularly with the rising cost of living, but it just seems like people have forgotten that hosting is an option.

“Despite these setbacks though, we are delighted to be functioning again. There's a buzz at the school which we are all very grateful for!"

st_brel_students_english_lesson.jpg

Pictured: As well as having fun, the visiting students also use their time in Jersey to improve their English.

Award-winners Carol and Nick hosted a mixture of students over a period of 22 weeks, ranging from 13 to 65 years old, over a period of 22 weeks.

They have also been able to help the college out with a few emergency placements. 

Carol enjoys cooking delicious dinners and the couple enjoy sitting and chatting with the students.

One of their favourite memories is of a teenage student who cooked dinner for the couple one evening as a thank you, which they were very appreciative of. 

carol-host-of-year.jpg

Pictured: Student Services Director of St. Brelade's College, Natalie Roberts presenting Carol De La Cour with her Host of the Year certificate.

With the adult students, they have formed some strong friendships and are hoping to travel to Germany next year to visit two of their new friends. 

Carol added: “We now host two or three students at a time and find it really enjoyable getting to know them. It’s great to watch them interact and make friends that hopefully they will keep for a long time. 

“We would urge anyone with the time and room to have a go.”

Sign up to newsletter

 

Comments

Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

To place a comment please login

You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?