My name is Karen and I am the Accommodation/Welfare and Accounts Officer of Loxdale English Centre. I arrange the accommodation for all the students who study with us and help them with any issues they may have, be it health and well-being or accommodation.

I joined Loxdale in November 2001 and thoroughly enjoy my job. The atmosphere at school is more like a large family. I am also a Safeguarding and Prevent Officer. Students know they can talk to me at any time in the office during the day, my door is always open. They also have my mobile number if they need me out of office hours or in an emergency.

I became a host family for Loxdale in January 1987. I can still remember my first student, a lovely Swedish girl called Maria who wasn’t much younger than me!

I have always enjoyed working with people. My first job at 17 was a Hotel Receptionist. I studied Hotel Reception and Bookkeeping at Brighton Technical College and was lucky enough to get a job as soon as I finished my studies at the Madeira Hotel on Brighton seafront. In my first year I met the cast of Quadrophenia! The crew stayed at the hotel but the cast used to come join them after filming to socialise. I met Sting and was actually asked to be an extra in the film…… and said no! This was a lovely fun job to have at 17. I met some amazing people from all walks of life, young and old. I gained a lot of confidence being front of house having to deal with lots of different issues and I had a lovely view of the sea while I worked, what could be better!

When I was 19 I worked for British Telecom as a typist and then promoted at 21 to secretary to the General Manger who looked after the telecommunications for the whole of the South East. I did enjoy the work and made the lovely friends I still see regularly today.

At 34, after giving birth to Grace my third child, I worked part time as a finance secretary in a local housing association and a couple of years later I left to run an office letting company in the middle of Brighton.

During this period we had students from Loxdale, they bought with them lots of lovely memories. Frida was one of my favourites. Her family came to visit us and stayed in our home. We were lucky enough to be invited back to Sweden for a holiday with my children. It was amazing and something I will never forget.

My 3 children grew up with students staying with us from all over the world. They have always embraced new people and new cultures. I am sure it has helped form the caring young people they are today.

My eldest daughter, now 29, hosts student from Loxdale ……. Where has that time gone!

Outside of work I enjoy my family, friends and keeping fit!