Young football player in red and black kit running to a ball in the air

Rodrigue and his homestay host, Rob.

Rob has been hosting for IHM for at least 5 years now and is proving to be rather popular with the IHM international students who are lucky enough to be allocated to him. Rob is a garden designer and also teaches at a local college. He is also a trained chef and used to work in some top restaurant kitchens. His house enjoys a large garden and this is where Rob’s students get to meet his chickens.

Rob’s 3 daughters all live close by, so they are always popping in to visit and have dinner together. It’s a busy family home and Rob’s guests are integrated into his very full weekly routines. 22 year old Rodrigue is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is enrolled onto the IHM Football Academy programme. He has felt right at home since day one. I’ll let Rodrigue tell you more:

“My host family (Rob) is good. For me I take him as a parent. He’s always there for me after training, asking how was training? He cooks for me, he washes my clothes. He’s good.

Sure, I miss my family, but he’s my family now because he’s always there for me whenever I need anything.”

Rob is equally enthusiastic about hosting. He always asserts that the more you put into hosting, the more you get from it. But, Rob’s actions speak louder than words. For Rob it’s all about bringing his students into his family and his life. Be that family dinners, bbqs in the garden or volunteering with the “Friends of the Park” in nearby Walkden Gardens, Rob’s students are always there in thick of it. As Vice Chairmen of the Friends Rob has been regularly involved in the events the group put on in the park like open air cinema, live music and other events on the theatre lawn. His students regularly get stuck in and volunteer with him, helping to steward the events, interacting with the local people, making friends and generally feeling useful and fully involved.

two youths and a man pose by a trig point at the top of a high hill in the UK on a sunny day

Last weekend kind of sums it up, really and Rob knows sure does how to motivate his young guests!

“Woke them up early by frying bacon! Then they came with me and did voluntary work for two hours in the local park then as their reward we took s picnic and climbed Shutlingslow! They didn’t want to come back down!”

young man proudly offers up a plate of food from within a church

But it’s not just a one way street. As Rob says himself; “I get so much from hosting international students.” He finds that his students often want to prepare food from their country for him and his family. The volunteering that Rodrigue did in the park involved some hard work, they moved a lot of gravel to surface the paths. But, it is the fellowship and friendship that Rob appreciates more than anything. It’s only fitting that we let Rob have the last word:

“We enjoy taking our students all over the place. I’m keen that they see the same things that I see. Hosting certainly enriches your life!”