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Sending your children overseas to improve their second language

(8 Posts)
Luna9 Sat 11-Jun-16 16:59:36


I would like my children to be completely bilingual; my oldest speak her second language not perfect but pretty well but I would also like her to learn to read it and write it properly. I have been thinking of the following options and would like to hear opinions from other people who have done it.

1. Taking them a few months before the end of year 6 (oldest one) and before the end of the infant school - year 2 (youngest one); going to my home country and enroll them in a local school with local children for a few months.

2. Sending them to summer school overseas

3. Waiting for an exchange through the school perhaps in secondary school; but not sure all schools have this opportunity; specially not sure if state schools arrange this.

Could you please tell me if you have done any of the above and your children experience.

Also, what's the youngest you will send your children overseas for an exchange? got a friend sending her daughter when the turns 12 for 2 months to another country, she will be allocated a family and a school; this is organised by her current school. I think 12 is a bit young but it does sound as a good experience.

andadietcoke Sat 11-Jun-16 17:02:29

From being about 12 I would be packed off to France to stay with a family for 3 weeks or so at a time. I suppose it was an exchange of sorts but I only remember the daughter coming to stay with us once. I'd go as an unaccompanied minor on airlines and it was fine. I remember going to school but think it was the last week of their summer term (I went to a school that finished early for the summer). I don't think it was a problem, but the mum was a teacher at the same school so maybe that was why I was allowed.

Luna9 Sat 11-Jun-16 17:23:09

Thank you Anda; do you remember it being a positive experience? did you get to learn much french? how many times did you do it?

IoraRua Sat 11-Jun-16 17:28:57

Best way to learn it is immersion imo. Do you have any language summer camps where you send the child off to stay for three weeks or so (I suppose that depends on if many people speak it in the country)? Speaking it all day is excellent. I did those for my Irish as a kid and was massively helpful, for independence too. I started at around age 10 or 11. Weekly club or class speaking the language is great too if that is available.

I went on exchange at 15 to Germany. I do agree 12 is possibly a bit young but maybe it is child dependent.

PacificDogwod Sat 11-Jun-16 17:34:53

My DS1 went to my home country 3 years ago aged 10 and spent 3 months at my former primary school - he had a great time, lived with my parents and his language really came on. It was organised by us, his school here in the UK was happy to let him go, and the other school was v welcoming.

We've not repeated it with DS2 as he is a completely different personality and would not have the confidence which is a shame.

andadietcoke Sat 11-Jun-16 17:42:54

I think every year up to a-levels. My French was excellent - I was doing a-level level work when I was 14 to stretch me. The family could speak English but refused to speak it to me.

I was homesick at times but in retrospect it was a good thing for me. I think it would be less effective now if I had an iPhone etc - I was totally immersed in French the whole time I was there.

steppemum Sat 11-Jun-16 17:55:51

we thought about doing option 1 with our kids, but hot a problem that the schools in dh country would not have been very happy taking in kids for just a few months.

We are looking at sending dd1 (11) to stay with her cousins for a couple of weeks in the summer holidays next year. We would like to do more, but my BIL has a disabled daughter, so we can't expect too much.

There is a massive difference I think between sending them to stay with a relative/someone you know and sending them on an exchange to a stranger's family.

I don't think schools do exchanges in quite the same way anymore anyway.

Luna9 Sat 11-Jun-16 18:02:41

Thank you; it sounds as it can be a very positive experience; I think it would be a great opportunity; haven't thought of the option of getting permission from school which is a great idea; probably better than taking her out at the end of Primary as she will miss all the things that happen at the end of primary; she could live with my family plus she loves her grandma.

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