DD is in yr 9 and has been studying Spanish for 2 years. I remember from when I was at school how good exchange trips were for getting to know the other country (France in my case), as well as learning the language, but her school don't organise anything, not even pen-friends! So I'm trying to find if there are any companies who organise maybe a week during the holidays, either staying with a family in Spain, or some sort of activity week with some studying as well? I'd like it to be fun and educational! I'd appreciate any advice or recommendations (or warnings!).
My daughter has had very successful French and Spanish exchanges through Lingoo, which is an Internet site rather like a dating agency, but for teenage language exchanges. You can choose an exchange with another family with a daughter the same age, or a paid stay with a host family with no reciprocation. You pay about £35 to register on the site, and then have access to the full range of profiles posted; you can browse the profiles and send emails to those who look suitable, or wait to receive offers from families that are attracted to your profile. There is a scheme for checking references if you are worried about safety, although I have to admit that in both cases we have gone by gut feel and plenty of facebook and email contact with the other families, and found that sufficient. Because there are more French and Spanish families on there than English ones, you will be inundated with offers. In my experience, relatively few of the Spanish parents speak any English, which may make it difficult to actually communicate with them unless your daughter can help; with our French family, the French mother and I each write in our own language and read the other one, while the girls do it the other way round; we were lucky to find a Spanish family where the mum speaks enough English to make arrangements. Lingoo has been a wonderful resource for us; my DD is doing both languages for A level now, and has ongoing plans to see both girls regularly again in the future. Feel free to pm me if you want any more information. The url is www.lingoo.eu Hope this helps!