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French exchange trip. Would you allow it for a year 7

(17 Posts)
sausagetown Sun 17-Feb-13 21:57:33

yes yes yes! I was on French exchanges for a week or two every year in secondary school. We went as a group but stayed individually with families. We never knew who we were staying with until we arrived, then it was a list of names read out in the school hall. You really don't need to speak a lot of the language to stay in someone else's house for a few days and all the families were very welcoming - after all, it's an exchange and their child will be staying with you too. We all had the phone numbers for our French teachers so we could get in touch if there was anything we really needed help with. I never did.

It was all very organised and the English group were all together most days while the French children were at school, so she will get to see her friends and talk about the host families.

There will be times when it's a bit boring if she's unable to have a lengthy conversation with her hosts, or she may have to eat food she doesn't like and/or doesn't recognise, but that's the worst I remember happening to anyone.

Her French won't improve very much over a few days, but she might pick up a few words. It's good to see the language 'in action' though and when she finds she can order a couple of croissants in a bakery or talk about the weather with her host's mum it's a great confidence boost.

mamadordogne Tue 12-Feb-13 23:10:29

As an English mum living in France I would say her French will come on in leaps and bounds. We forget children relate differently from us. I remember being on holiday as a child and making friends with children from all over Europe I couldn't speak a word but we hung out and played all day. The French dote on their children and will dote on yours. Get an Email address and Google translate your way to a relationship first.

NulliusInBlurba Sun 10-Feb-13 10:00:47

Of course I would let my dc go, but would prefer it if we could set up contact with the other family first.
Dd1 has arranged a French exchange later this year as part of a recognized programme, and it's for 3 months each way. That's the time you will realistically need to improve their language skills.
Right now we're engaged in a pretty intensive email exchange with the family to check we will get on. The two girls are getting to know each other on Facebook and have already met briefly.
Dd1 will be older, though, 15 when she goes to France. 1 to 2 weeks is more appropriate aged 11 or 12.

Bluebell99 Sun 10-Feb-13 09:58:11

I did two German exchanges when I was at school, I think I was 13 and 14. I was homesick during the first one, I think we arrived late at night on a friday and didn't see our school friends until the Monday. I didn't get on that well with my exchange partner, i was a very shy teen, she was more street wise and we hitch hiked around unbeknown to me, I thought we we being picked up by people she knew! It was great for language though and I did it again the next year, and got on much better with the next partner, we stayed in touch for years afterwards. I think it's a great way to learn a language. They don't do it at my children's school.

LIZS Sun 10-Feb-13 09:57:39

dd went in Year 6 as did ds before her. The school arranged for them to stay in pairs or 3's . dd had a lovely time and a great host family. Get her a pocket dictionary so they can communicate but English was well enough spoken and they rejoined their teachers and friends during the day so could air any issues.

When I did an exchange aged 16 the hosts immediately took me away from my group to their seaside holiday shack chalet (think outside loo and damp) and I didn't see them again for over a week. The teachers had no idea where I was and there was no phone. Didn't even get along with the girl either! So really depends how well organised it is.

AgentProvocateur Sun 10-Feb-13 09:56:01

Yes, exchanges are a great experience, and we've met - and kept in touch with - four lovely teenagers that have exchanged with my DC. They really improve their language when they stay with a family, and unless your DC is prone to homesickness, she'll have a great time.

comfysofas Sun 10-Feb-13 09:48:48

no no and no.

You do not know who they are staying with.

I have a near neighbour who lives a street away, he is a headmaster and she is a teacher. They looked after French students on an exchange trip. The kids [14 years old] were constantly drunk as were the people who were supposed to be looking after them. No supervision at all. Just because these people have been checked you never know what they are really like.

SnowLeopard27 Sat 09-Feb-13 20:48:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Eastpoint Sat 06-Oct-12 16:11:43

My DD1 did this, the other pupil came to us first and then DD1 made her trip. Don't forget by the time they go your DC will be at least 6 months older, possibly 18 months older at the end of year 8. Go for it!

BackforGood Thu 27-Sep-12 23:33:11

Sounds fab, but I think I'd prefer Yr9 to Yr7 if it's a straightforward choice.
Depends as well of course, not only on your dd's ability at French, but also their personality.
When I went, my French was pretty poor, but I was always talking to anyone friendly, so I got by with a lot of mime and confidence. When my sister went, she was a lot quieter and less confident than me, but her language skills were a million times better. I guess you need at least one or the other, and the ideal situation would be both! That said, it made such a difference to my French. I'd love for my dds to have the chance.

wordfactory Thu 27-Sep-12 23:13:53

If a child's french is not too good, I'd say no.

DD is going this year (13yrs) but her french is pretty good.

randomfennel Thu 27-Sep-12 21:02:36

I'm currently trying to fix something similar up for my yr7. She hasn't got much French but I think she'd enjoy it. I went on quite a few foreign exchanges to stay with strange families and while it can be a bit bracing/miserable/variable it did help with language learning. If they go on a trip and stay with classmates they won't really speak any French.

slalomsuki Thu 27-Sep-12 20:55:54

Not the whole class is going as its an optional trip in the Easter holidays. They are staying with French families on an individual basis but there is going to be a teacher or teachers with them that they will see on a daily basis as part of their activities. They will be with their French hosts every evening and at breakfast and from a Friday evening through to the Monday morning. It's for years 7 to 9 so if they don't go this year there is the option to go next or the year after.

I have the French child at ours for a week in the summer term.

Bonsoir Thu 27-Sep-12 20:55:41

Has the school run this trip before and can you speak to parents/children who have been on previous years?

MikeLitoris Thu 27-Sep-12 20:54:07

I did an exchange aged about 13. I hated every minute of it. The family were perfectly nice but the sleeping arrangements and food were awful.

Having the French girl stay with us was just as bad. She refused to speak to anyone and would only eat bacon. My poor parents were beside themselves for the whole week.

Ds is in year 7 and he will be going to Paris next year but in a camp with the class staying together.

BackforGood Thu 27-Sep-12 20:46:31

I'd want to find out more.
Are a whole class or group going to be staying with individual families in the locality ? Will there be a teacher / leader there they can see each day and alert if they are not happy?
In terms of language learning, it's the only real way to improve language - if they are all in a hostel with their friends, they will be talking and hearing English, not French.

I went on one when I was 14 - I'm glad to hear they've not stopped altogether. With the provisos above, I'd let my dds goes.

slalomsuki Thu 27-Sep-12 20:42:48

My year 7 child has come home asking to go on a French exchange trip for a week next year. I have no problem with the trip as I think it's a good experience and they have been away on trips before with junior school to France for a week.

The bit I am struggling with is the living with a French family for the week and not having sufficient French knowledge to get on. Previous trips have been with a class and they stay with the class.

What would you do, let them go or not?

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