All host families are carefully selected by LOI before any placement is considered. Most of our families are recommended by the schools we send the children to. Here is Maria’s experience.In Maria’s case Fiona her Irish sister attended the same school and the two girls walked to the school together each day. The ideal for LOI is to place the students with Irish young people their own age. However as you can see in the application form every attempt is made to place the student in a family situation they and their parents will feel most comfortable with.
Accommodation for AYP students is always in a single room. We ask the families to ensure that the bedrooms are warm and comfortable with a study area Desk, chair and good lighting . Our families receive a full Orientation before the students arrive. The AYP co-ordinator visits the home and talks to the family about their obligations to the student and the students obligations to them. The co-ordinator will provide ongoing support for the student and his/her family during the stay.
Students have full board breakfast, lunch (a packed lunch Monday to Friday) and dinner. The family will do the laundry for the student and take care of them as they would their own children. The most important point for the student to bear in mind is that the family welcomes them to their home as a family member. There is usually correspondence between the Irish family and their student well before they arrive.
Residential Accommodation in Secondary Schools is usually in Dormitories. These can range in size from rooms containing 6 beds to very large dormitories with as many as 25+ beds. The rooms are usually open plan and each student is allocated a cubicle which is either separated from the next cubicle by a curtain or a thin partition. Students share communal bathroom facilities. While the facilities in the school may not be ultra-modern or luxurious they will always be clean (not necessarily tidy!) All boarding schools are open to inspection by the Department of Education and must meet a hygienic standard. The standard of accommodation can vary slightly from school to school and indeed within a school. In Wilsons hospital school, Co Westmeath the girls accommodation is very comfortable while the boys dormitories are more basic! Many schools offer Senior Cycle students single or twin room accommodation (e.g. 6th year students in Castleknock and Blackrock College an choose their preferred accommodation. This is because they are preparing for their final school examinations) You will see notes on individual schools below.
Residential or Host Family
The most important point to bear in mind is that there are relatively few boarding places available in Irish schools. However LOI is allocated a number of places each year by the Boarding Schools listed above. Early booking is essential to avoid disappointment. Boarding may not be suitable for every student. The students who thrive on the Residential Programme tend to be both extroverted and independent. Usually the residential option appeals to the students who are sporty as well. It has to be pointed out that as the accommodation can be quite basic it will not be suitable for students who are very attached to lifes luxuries!!