WHAT IS A LANGUAGE EXCHANGE?
What does it consist of?
A language exchange is based on two families each offering hospitality in turn on a reciprocal basis. For example, your child spends a week in a French-speaking family with a child of the same age. In return, the partner family's child then spends a week with you.
During their stay, the child will be completely immersed in the country's language and culture in ideal conditions, because they'll be involved in the family's everyday life.
Who is it for?
Each exchange involves two young people and their families. - How old do the young people have to be? With suitable preparation, language exchanges are possible as soon as children have started learning a foreign language in primary school. If the child is ready to leave their parents for a few days and feels happy to stay in a welcoming family environment then the advantages of this experience are considerable. But it's essential that the child is sufficiently mature to embark on an adventure of this kind. You need to take account of their emotional independence, their ability to adapt, their willingness to share and their level of interest. It's down to you – and them – to make a judgment.
What types of families are involved?
There is no one particular type of family. The most important thing for a successful language exchange is that all those involved make a positive commitment to it.
When and for how long?
The two stays take place during the same school year and HCC language exchanges (French and Spanish) last a week. Typically the French exchange goes to France for a week in December for the Christmas markets and hosts in Spring whereas the Spanish exchange hosts in Spring and goes to Spain late summer term.
How much does it cost?
Both the French and Spanish exchanges cost £375 each. This includes all travel, accommodation, meals and activities.
Hosting costs involve providing the exchange student with their own individual bed and giving them breakfast, a packed lunch and a hot evening meal each day.
Other costs to budget are pocket money and we ask that families apply for an European Health Iinsurance Card (EHIC) to cover any medical expenses whilst abroad in Europe. Please click on the link below to apply for an EHIC card:
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR THEIR STAY:
It is important that your child should feel confident and ready. In general terms, to ensure that your child gets as much benefit from their stay as possible (progress in the language, a wider view of the world, greater independence and sharing ideas with their foreign hosts) we advise you to work through the following preparatory steps:
• Encourage them to have plenty of contact with their partner before they leave.
• Check that they feel positive about the idea of the stay.
• Involve them in preparing for the stay.
• Warn them about possible cultural differences. If their language study holiday is to be a success, your child needs to abide by their host family's rules and customs. Explain to them that cultural differences are expressed in day-to-day life, for example in their diet or how they behave at mealtimes.
• Encourage them to adapt. Explain to your child that the family they will be staying with is ready to include them in their day-to-day life but that they won't change their pace or way of life for them. It's up to them to adapt to their new environment.
• Encourage them to communicate. If they are going to learn to get to know and understand their family, your child needs to be curious, ask questions and be willing to talk about themselves, their family and their culture so that there can be a real exchange of ideas.
• Encourage them to participate. Sharing in family life means taking part in all the family's activities: going to the supermarket, watching television, visiting friends, taking part in leisure activities and so on. This is how they will broaden their vocabulary and widen their view of the world.
• The effort they make to adapt to and assimilate a new way of life will be the key factor that triggers their progress in the language.