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French students aged 14/15 - will they be bored?

(15 Posts)
Lottie4 Tue 16-Jun-15 11:12:17

Have two French students visiting us this summer, one through the school and one through an organization.

By the time DH gets home, it'll be too late to take them out in car in evenings and my DD needs to be at a fair amount to prepare for external exam, do evening rehearsals and prepare a French speaking assessment (although the students may be able to help her prepare this!) around this time. I thought about things like walking into local village with shops, supermarket and getting fish and chips, walking into the country on doorstep (first girl likes horses and lives in country), cycle ride, playing a game (although I suspect the first girl speaks very little English so may not understand). Are they going to be bored with this, or does anyone have any other suggestions?

At the weekends we can go shopping, swimming, castle, touristic country village or whatever they want.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 16-Jun-15 11:32:51

I went as a 15 year old on an exchange to France. I very quickly learnt the French to play games like Cludeo which I was already familiar with. We rode bikes, walked the dog, hung out both reading books and watching French TV. It was the most memorable summer of my school days and I loved it.

DrewOB Tue 16-Jun-15 11:39:38

I think showing them how you live day to day will be interesting to them as life in the UK is very different to France. I am guessing they will want time to muck about on the Wifi if they are like every teens I know.
Trips out at weekends only sounds fine to me to be honest.

Needmoresleep Tue 16-Jun-15 13:11:06

Agree with Lonecat. DS had a great time in Berlin in an exchange with the youngest child of a large family. They were clearly quite practiced and got out their board games. A really good way to engage without too much conversation.

You might also see if the exchange can be included in your daughter's activities. Entertaining a foreign child one to one is quite a lot of responsibility, especially if they find they have little in common. One exchange was happy to get on the coach with my daughter to an event, and others were happy to talk to her. I then met them there, we watched together and then I took both home. The highlight was a drive-in Krispy Kreme.

Also share the responsibility around. Mine found that they got on well with younger children in the house, simply because there was less pressure with language. The younger child was usually delighted to have the attention of an older, albeit foreign, child.

Without exception (and we have had about 7 exchanges) girls like shopping, so get your daughter and, ideally a couple of friends, to take a girl round Top Shop, Zara, etc. The supermarket shop is interesting, indeed one exchange was perfectly happy to come with me to the garage whilst I sorted out a problem with the car. And a theatre treat works well, ideally a musical. Museums, like the War Museum, can work well with boys as an English perspective on last century's history is interesting.

It is useful to find out a little about the child. We suspect one child was from a family with social services involvement. We did not get the full story, but our DD was placed with a different family for the return visit. The girl was lovely, and we ended up doing far more than we would normally do, not least because each activity (eg a boat trip) was punctuated by a comment that her mother would never allow her to do that at home. I got the feeling her teachers were equally keen that she got away for a week and enjoyed some new experiences.

BrendaBlackhead Tue 16-Jun-15 13:27:23

Girls and boys present different challenges. For boys there's the universal X Box or Playstation - our French exchange boy was not allowed one at home so he was like a pig in mud for a week. He charged in from his cultural days out with his classmates to play on it.

The girls tended to go shopping and did things as a group, which is easier than entertaining a solo child.

My friend had a bit of a nightmare, though. Her ds's French exchange partner, aged 15, had met a girl online from this area and as soon as he got here he got himself duded up and announced that he was off "out" to to meet this person shock. My friend had to have quite an argument with him - in pidgin French/English - explaining that no way was he doing this as he was her responsibilty, and the "girl" might be a 50-year-old bloke anyway. The week was a disaster with the moody French lad hating his English experience and my friend nearly having a nervous breakdown trying in vain to entertain him and he meanwhile trying to escape the house.

SilasGreenback Tue 16-Jun-15 13:28:58

Are they coming together and as exchange partners for your daughter or as paying students ?

I know with our school exchange they are the only French speaker in the house at the time (or certainly you can't have 2 exchange students at the same time) and the child they are matched with is expected to take them out to activities etc.

I think there are some activities organised by the school for just the French children and some with English partners. I would have thought if they are paying and part of an organisation then I expect they will organise things for them.

I know when I did my exchange many years ago, my exchange partner would say lets go to swimmng pool or wherever, then we would arrive say all the English people are here and disappear with her boyfriend. No one was ever there and I had a pretty useless exchange visit. I think all the things you suggest are fine, but that you dd needs to come to, not leave it all to you.

ggirl Tue 16-Jun-15 13:37:34

Ime they always look bored to death ..loads of sweets seems to cheer them up grin

Needmoresleep Tue 16-Jun-15 13:39:48

Hah, memories.

A perfectly nice german girl threw a strop when we would not allow her to commute on her own to the other side of London to meet up with friends. After the visit the dad phoned, first to thank us for looking after his daughter, but also to say that he agreed with us. That said they then dropped my daughter off on her first night, and expected her to find her own way back by public transport. (Which she did quite happily, it was just that she phoned me when on the U Bahn, and I wondered. She had next to no German.) It was clear that teenagers have a lot more freedom in small german towns. We also liked the French family who asked DD whether she prefered her cider "sec" or "doux".

English families are not always better. With one exchange we ended up with a second girl, friend of the first, because her host family were going away for the weekend leaving her alone in a large central London house with the housekeeper.

Leeds2 Tue 16-Jun-15 13:41:08

Our Spanish exchange and DD played a lot on the wii, rather than board games.

Lottie4 Tue 16-Jun-15 14:52:58

Thanks for your replies, they are useful. We haven't used our wii for ages, but DD was told by the ones who've been over that not many have modern Xboxes, wiis etc, so that could be a good idea.

The school's exchange have an additional girl so DD volunteered us to take her (don't mind really). We are being paid to have the other girl. I know they won't be allowed off on their own (ie without my DD or us) - if they're with DD it has to be local or with other girls in town in the day. I've two emergency numbers for both girls, so if they want to go off, I'll be contacting someone!

Leeds2 Tue 16-Jun-15 16:28:55

Might also work if DD and the girls prepared a typical English meal for family dinner. Would get the girls interacting, and they would learn some new kitchen words.

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jun-15 21:24:25

It sounds bonkers to have two French exchange students at the same time and for your DD not to be 100% available to hang out with them. The students will end up talking to one another.

BackforGood Fri 19-Jun-15 00:51:00

I have to agree that does sound odd.
Surely your dd needs to be available if you are hosting an exchange student?
I'd also be quite cross, tbh, if I had paid for my dc to go on an exchange visit if they then spent all the time with (and presumably speaking their home language with) another dc from home ~ it was bad enough that everyone in my dd's exchange family spoke great English grin

However, when her partner was here - days were in school (I'm not sure if yours are or if this is in the holidays?) so we had evenings and weekends.
I think the key was to mix with other young people, so they could just practice their English all the time, and also see how their lives were the same and how they were different.
They went in to the City Centre with a friend and her partner. They went to a couple of local tourist attractions. He really enjoyed doing the everyday things though - like going to the supermarket. We took them to a local beauty spot where you can view the City from (and showed him on google maps where we were, etc to put in perspective). He was fascinated by our huge, multicultural City - so very different from his small town, so we spent about an hour driving round the City (again, comparing real life with google maps). They spent a couple of evenings doing hobbies that dd would normally be doing. I invited a whole group of youngsters for a bit of a gathering here one evening (with their exchange partners - so obv that was q a bit of chat in home language). He watched a bit of TV. Had some 'down time' on the internet.
But it really was the 'lets compare my life with yours' bits he liked most - literally walking round the neighbourhood and being fascinated by the pavements and trees grin

Lottie4 Fri 19-Jun-15 09:56:50

Thanks again for your replies. The students are coming separately. DD is fully available for the first one.

With regards to her activities when the second one is here (two weeks), my daughter has no control when she is expected to do GCSE and other exam assessments - it's only just been confirmed she's doing a fast track GCSE and the other exam was fully overbooked on the specified dates, so this is another date the examiners have given. The school already had a show on and they've asked a group of four who have formed their own group to join in, great opportunity but needs them all to do it. It's just really unfortunate it's at this time.

Needmoresleep Fri 19-Jun-15 10:17:14

We had similar for one. The girl was a bit miffed, but given there were far more German students wanting to do the exchange than English students wanting to exchange, she accepted that a flawed visit was better than none. Something similar happened with my son, as he had to be at a school match miles away and did not return till late. I took the girl to the theatre, easy for us as we are in London, and the boy to a Museum. But a trip to the supermarket, or something with a younger child, would be fine. Some exchanges were simply left to the care of their opposite number and more or less ignored, so relatively we did well. They are here to speak the language and learn a bit about another culture.

Not all return trip were great, but the French seem to do more as families (meals, trips etc) so in a way it is easier.

Worth finding out about what they are interested in. If a child is sporty (swimming, football etc) you might be able to arrange that they train with a local club. Or if musical you might see if they can meet up with musical friends of your DD's or attending a local am-dram rehersal. Also as a PP suggested inviting others over is a great idea. One parent held a BBQ and DD and her exchange attended. We were very grateful as it helped prevent the week from dragging. It was also a nice way for DC to socialise outside school with children who were not part of her normal friendship group.

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