Anyone done a private foreign exchange?

(30 Posts)
Gymbob Fri 28-Jun-13 18:16:36

DD1's Spanish exchange fell through due to there not being enough interest at school. She was so disappointed I have been looking into the idea of her doing a private exchange with another family who have a child we could host too. There seems to be quite a few websites with kids looking for host families....all the families look so 'normal', in fact much more normal than ours!

Please tell me what you know.....

fourcorneredcircle Tue 15-Nov-16 18:48:44

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SiobhanRyan Tue 15-Nov-16 17:58:15

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NotCitrus Mon 14-Nov-16 10:24:15

My German teacher organised for my friend to stay with her sister's neighbour in Germany, as an exchange, and I then stayed with a friend of them, paying to do so as my parents refused to host.
Worked very well - the girl was a bit wet but her mother talked at me constantly for the fortnight, and we went to their school for a week too.
Two years later I stayed with the other family and had a mostly great time, and she stayed with me.

Needmoresleep Mon 14-Nov-16 09:21:34

We organised an exchange with a French family we met on holiday. The two girls had been hanging out together because they played the same sport. It helped because they were each able to train with each other's clubs, and indeed DD went on to do a couple of half term training camps with the French club and ended up competing for them. (Picking up a remarkable ch'ti accent in the process.)

Ditto DD met a few French girls (with virtually no English) on a commercially organised sports training camp held at an English boarding school. Perhaps a good alternative to a family exchange as the girls were in a controlled environment and forced to speak English, as this is what the peer group were been speaking. (This is important. The school organised German family exchanges were pretty useless because both host families spoke perfect English. Upper middle class French and Spanish families will be equally fluent.) Residential summer camps, which could be expected to accept an occasional English child, are quite common in France. I don't know about Spain.

AnaGonzalez Mon 14-Nov-16 08:52:31

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mathanxiety Sat 21-Nov-15 04:43:23

Sorry - double post, don't know what happened there

mathanxiety Sat 21-Nov-15 04:42:53

One of my sisters did one with a French student, back in the late 70s (whatever year 'Love is in the Air' was a hit). The girls were matched through an agency recommended by our school. DSis spent four weeks in France with the family and the French girl then came to Ireland for four weeks. We all got on so well that our two families got in touch and made the same arrangement the following year, bypassing the agency. The French family sent us pear schnapps and bergamot sweets and we sent Irish whiskey hidden in DSis's luggage, along with smoked salmon from Duty Free.

Otoh a girl in my year in school did a two week exchange with a French student and then spent two weeks in France. They weren't speaking to each other by the end of it.

Success depends on the personalities, I suspect.

mathanxiety Sat 21-Nov-15 04:42:21

One of my sisters did one with a French student, back in the late 70s (whatever year 'Love is in the Air' was a hit). The girls were matched through an agency recommended by our school. DSis spent four weeks in France with the family and the French girl then came to Ireland for four weeks. We all got on so well that our two families got in touch and made the same arrangement the following year, bypassing the agency. The French family sent us pear schnapps and bergamot sweets and we sent Irish whiskey hidden in DSis's luggage, along with smoked salmon from Duty Free.

Otoh a girl in my year in school did a two week exchange with a French student and then spent two weeks in France. They weren't speaking to each other by the end of it.

Success depends on the personalities, I suspect.

purpledasies Thu 19-Nov-15 17:16:50

I organised one through the Lingoo website for DS (then 14). There were masses of French teenagers looking for an English speaking exchange, and we live quite near a major airport so had our pick of them really. We chose one where the dad spoke reasonable English and who offered to take DS sailing in the Med for 10 days grin

Ds had a great time. We texted regularly and I called him a couple of times.

Before he travelled we skyped the other family a couple of times to get to meet them. The fact that the dad spoke good English was really helpful in feeling confident in them, though it wasn't great for DS's French as he didn't need to use it that much. I think the French boy who came to ours probably got to improve his language skills more.

14 is the minimum age for travelling unaccompanied on easyjet by the way, I'm not sure about other airlines.

alejandramartinez Thu 19-Nov-15 09:54:29

My daughter spent one full month of the last summer abroad. She was on Zurich. Before heading to her exchange he attended a language course here in French Language because sometimes the interaction with other people may be hard if you do not now anything about the language. I booked the French course here. It is highly recommended. www.languagecoursesuk.co.uk/book-now/

catherinemellor Thu 19-Nov-15 09:38:56

Hi there,

I've heard a really good language exchange company is Lingoo www.lingoo.com - they advertise loads of different exchange destinations on their site and you can also welcome others into your home by becoming a host family. They offer some great destinations such as Spain, France and the UK star - I highly recommend checking it out if you're still looking for a language exchange! smile

BackforGood Thu 04-Jul-13 23:44:14

I did - but in the 70s before anyone had heard of internet or websites grin
It was someone my Mum worked with, who had a pen pal she'd had for 30+ years (and had visited, etc), whose sister wanted her two dds to exchange with two sisters in England. That's where dsis and I stepped in grin
As someone said further up the thread, it was a fantastic experience and one I look back fondly on all these years later. Improved my French 10fold. They then came over to England a month or two later.
I'd love to find something similar for my dcs.

Gymbob Wed 03-Jul-13 19:57:27

wow thanks so much for the positive replies. the friend of a friend sounds good and I have emailed the Spanish teacher as you suggest.

off to check lingoo out now thanks. nothing better in my book than a recommendation. what well travelled kids you all have smile smile

AliceInSandwichLand Wed 03-Jul-13 18:11:23

I have two daughters aged 18 and 15. The 18 year old did her first privately arranged exchange, using the website Lingoo, at the age of 15, with a French girl, and the following summer with a Spanish girl. She has now exchanged with each girl three times, so that overall she has spent a couple of months with each girl over the course of the three years. We have met the French girl's parents, who have become family friends. My eighteen year old is off to uni this autumn to study modern foreign languages, largely inspired by her exchange experiences. Her French partner is studying English at uni, and her Spanish partner, who is studying to be a teacher, is also still studying English. My younger daughter is off on her first exchange this summer with a girl she already gets on with well via Facebook and whose mother we have already met. All these exchanges were via Lingoo, and I can't speak too highly of the experiences we have all had as a result. As an English family, you will find yourself with dozens (for Spanish) or hundreds (for French) of familie to choose from. You can find a match with a child with similar interests, pick your region, chat via email or FB before you commit - we didn't have any contacts before Lingoo and have only had positive experiences. PM me if you would like more info, as I don't come on Mumsnet very often these days - lucky I saw your post!

Moominmammacat Mon 01-Jul-13 08:20:15

My DSs have done nine exchanges, several of them private but always friend of a friend route. They've been great. Even when the other child hasn't been an ideal match, it has taught them how to cope in less than ideal circumstances. I'd do it all again ... lots of free holidays as several of them have kept in touch.

Areyoumadorisitme Mon 01-Jul-13 08:02:17

I did it years ago when I was in the equivalent of year 9. I was desperate to go and school didn't arrange them until year 10. We did it through a private company with no personal connections, it was 25 years ago now when people were a little less paranoid. The basic premise was that if their child was going to come to us then they would treat me well. And they did.

It was brilliant, the first year we did two weeks each way and the following year we did 3 weeks each way so spent all summer together.

In fact it was more successful that the ones arranged through school! In all I did exchanges with 4 families over 4 years, very positive experiences that I would be keen for my kids to also do.

Umlauf Mon 01-Jul-13 07:09:48

I did it as a child for years, in Germany, Spain and France! I would also highly recommend it, it was one of the best things I ever did!

I did have links to all of my exchange partners though, through friends of teachers or friends of friends of friends. I would second the idea of asking the Spanish teacher, she may well have friends with children similar ages to your dd. otherwise, I'm a teacher in Spain and know a lot of children, if you're stuck pm me!

Eastpoint Mon 01-Jul-13 06:59:37

I did it as a child, as did lots of my friends. I agree with Talkinpeace, someone will know a family. Why don't you ask her Spanish teacher if they can help?

Talkinpeace Sun 30-Jun-13 22:16:42

bet you do .... ask around at work / at school / at the hairdresser
people who live / have holiday homes in France / spain ....

Gymbob Sun 30-Jun-13 21:41:43

Oh, well that's blown that then - I don't know any that are friends of friends or even friends of friends of friends grin

Talkinpeace Sun 30-Jun-13 19:37:19

sorry, not meaning website, meaning real friends of friends .....

Gymbob Sun 30-Jun-13 19:31:25

Thanks guys, knew I'd get some good feedback.

Talkinpeace have looked at the FOAF website but can't see where they do any foreign exchanges, am I looking at the right one - Friend of a Friend?

Guntie Sat 29-Jun-13 21:46:08

I did it as a teenager. Please PM if you have questions. It was the best thing I ever did. (Bar marriage/kids grin ) I cannot stress how highly I recommend it!!!

Matsikula Sat 29-Jun-13 21:42:07

I did one and it was fine. Didn't get on like a house on fire with the girl, but all in all I think we both enjoyed it well enough it. Stayed with a host family another time and am still in touch with the girl my age - would count her as a friend.

Can't remember the name of the company we used, but they placed a group in the same school - that way if it's awful you have someone to confide in.

It will be great for her self-confidence.

Talkinpeace Sat 29-Jun-13 21:27:26

Yup.
Friend of a friend.
She came to us for a week. And what a miserable cow she was.
I went to her family for a week : got on great with her mad french nobility family, avoided her.
An excellent experience,
but I would try the FOAF route rather than a website

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