Foreign Exchange Visits

(57 Posts)
Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Nov-13 09:47:16

Are they important? Do you have to have one if your child is studying the language and it is offered?
If DS doesn't do it will he be the only one?

LoopaDaLoopa Thu 07-Nov-13 09:48:29

Massively useful for language learning. Very sadly not done much any more. Definitely, definitely should seize the opportunity if offered.

Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Nov-13 09:52:26

Mmmm. I am having a wibble about it.

DS1 (14) is not the most confident and chatty of people and the thought of having a French student here for a week fills me with dread.

I don't think he will cope well at all staying with a host family in France for a week.

We don't have a spare bedroom and our house is quite compact.

It's £290

LoopaDaLoopa Thu 07-Nov-13 09:55:11

Seriously, it's worth it.

Yes, agree. I did it as a teenager, it was the only residential trip I did as it was relatively cheap. I assume you mean the type of exchange where you go and live with a French family and their child comes back to stay with you?

I wouldn't say it is important as such - you wouldn't be a failure at French if you didn't do it - but it is a brilliant opportunity. It isn't just about the language but being able immerse yourself in real French life rather than being a tourist.

I wouldn't have thought all the children do it. It is a big commitment in terms of money and also having a stranger to come and stay in your home for a week or whatever it is.

I think your DS should do it but I don't think he has to do it. I suspect plenty won't. There is a probably a limit imposed by the school too because the children have to chaperoned over the Channel like any other trip.

Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Nov-13 09:57:22

Thanks Loopa. I think a family discussion needs to be had. it's not until next summer but the school want the deposit etc.

Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Nov-13 09:59:05

Yes, that's the sort Big. i think DS1 like the idea of it but the reality may not be great.

I have heard a few scary stories of sullen foreign teenagers that don't want to do anything, and the language barrier being quite stressful for the other family members.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 07-Nov-13 10:00:56

DD is going on a German exchange next month - she seems to be looking forward to it, I must admit I'm not really looking forward to having the partner back next Spring - but at least this way round hopefully DD will find out what the kid likes to eat etc.

I think it'll probably be very good for DD though.

Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Nov-13 10:06:28

Are you concerned that she might come back and say the German girl isn't very nice Errol?

ajandjjmum Thu 07-Nov-13 10:08:11

Both DC went on school exchanges to South Africa - by themselves - and had the most amazing 6 weeks. Of course, there weren't the language issues, but they had to adapt to different cultures and get to know new people.

I knew that DS would cope, even if he didn't enjoy it - although he did. DD I was a little more unsure of, and yet she got far more out of the experience, and it really grew her confidence. She also made some wonderful friends.

They were both 16.

Sorry cross posted with your second post there.

I wasn't at all confident and was very shy as a teenager but I coped OK. I suppose it was easier for me as I did the trip to France after they did the trip over here, the first time I did it. I knew the girl I was exchanging with.

You might get a surly teenager but on the other hand you might get one who is lovely. I am still sort of friends with my French penfriend (as they were back then) to this day, 35 years later. We correspond and play FB games on Facebook a bit. We went to each others weddings too 20+ yrs ago. On the whole, whilst I think I have the longest running relationship with my French friend, nobody I knew had a bad experience.

Don't forget they shouldn't be total strangers. You are supposed to strike up a relationship with the other child before you meet. That must be so much easier with FB, email etc than it was in our day when it took a week for an airmail letter to get from here to France.

Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Nov-13 10:10:37

I think if DS was 16 I would feel better aj he isn't 15 until the summer. I have read the letter and it is open to all in Years 9, 10 and 12. I wonder if he takes it at A Level we could do it then?

Bonsoir Thu 07-Nov-13 10:12:50

If your school is practised at exchanges, it may be brilliant. DSS2 did an exchange to Canada and one to Spain with his school and loved both of them - but they were both hyper well-organised, had been going on for years etc.

Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Nov-13 10:13:51

What about my lack of spare room and compact home?

GaryTheTankEngine Thu 07-Nov-13 10:15:40

I went on one of these at 14, 15 and 16 and I would really really recommend them!

It always surprised me how much you pick up in just a week or a few days, and ever since then I've had a passion for the country I went to.

It definitely gave me an idea of how Germans actually talked - until I went there I was very much only able to say things like "Hans steht unter dem Wasserfall."

GaryTheTankEngine Thu 07-Nov-13 10:17:28

About the room and small house - I really wouldn't worry. It's only for a week or so, isn't it?

I would recommend giving the exchange student the room and having your DC sleep on the sofa - It helps if they're a bit homesick.

Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Nov-13 10:18:35

I just imagine some of them going to huge houses with their own room and ensuite. grin

GaryTheTankEngine Thu 07-Nov-13 10:21:14

From my experience when I was a teenager, some people had huge rooms, some people made their visiting student sleep in the living room, but most people crammed them in their kids rooms and it worked totally fine.

My exchange family had a small house and my French counterpart slept on a camp bed and I had her room. Agree that they will need their own room but don't worry about en suites and all that. They are just average French people like you and any of us really. Some will be better off than others. In my day they seemed to try and match you both in personality and also background. Both my father and the French father were postmen so none of us were expecting anything grand.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 07-Nov-13 10:43:26

Very worth it. I did an exchange with a boy and popped my cherry and it gave me a life long love of France and French. I left the UK as soon as I could and still live in France now, with a French DH and DC. Which might put you off. I learned so much during those two weeks and other than language skills it stopped me being a fussy eater, made me much more independent and, I think in the long run a better person. It's so good for teens to leave their comfort zone and open up to other cultures. Don't worry about the small room.

Errol I think your DD is at the same school I was. Don't worry reading my post, mine was organised via a teacher but wasn't the official school French exchange. She will be much better supervised than I was grin

wordfactory Thu 07-Nov-13 11:24:07

Both my DC have done exchanges and they have been fab.

Very well organised. Excellent price.

Lovely laid back kids staying here, both my DC treated wonderfully by their French families.

Not only was it a good opportunity to speak the language, but moreover it opened everyone's eyes as to just how different life is just afew short hours away.

It is nice to know they are still going on. My old school, now DS1's school doesn't seem to do them any more which is a real shame. The chance to taste real French (or other nationality) life at a relatively low cost.

Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Nov-13 11:33:55

Seems like they are a good idea (ignores popping cherry bit grin ) I need to decide whether it's right for DS1.

He has past form for being v enthusiastic for things up until the point they actually happen IYKWIM.

I did one and really hated it. The girl I exchanged with went to bed at 8.30 every night and we didn't do anything in the evenings. I also just didn't like her.

Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Nov-13 12:02:46

I have hear tales like that breathe One Mum was telling me about pouring over google translate a lot while trying to get the guest to engage with them.

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