A Language Exchange Holiday
A Cultural Trip of a Lifetime
We all know that the best way to improve a language is to practise it in the country where it is spoken. If your child is showing a real interest in learning a foreign language, a well-organised language exchange during the holidays is definitely worth considering. It can give a real boost to your child's confidence, improve their school results and help them to gain an insight into a different culture.
A language exchange is based on two families, each offering hospitality in turn on a reciprocal basis. For example, your child spends a fortnight in a French-speaking family with a child of the same age. In return, the partner family's child then spends a fortnight with you. During their stay, the child will become involved in the family's everyday life and will be completely immersed in the country's language and culture.
Language exchanges are possible as soon as children have started learning a foreign language in primary school - but it is essential 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 curiosity. It's down to you - and them - to make a judgment.
Anne Goldstein, founder of Lingoo.eu, a website which enables parents to arrange for their child to stay with like-minded families abroad, comments, "Learning another language and immersing yourself in another culture is a truly enriching experience. People who can speak languages are more employable and often have a greater understanding of their own language as well as a more open-minded approach to other people's cultures."
The critical factor in organising a language exchange is finding the right family to partner with. Allow sufficient time for this. Choose your family carefully and get to know them, via emails and phone calls, before the exchange takes place. Allow between three and six months before the first part of the exchange. You are entrusting your child to another family, it is important to get it right.
Anne Goldstein concludes, "Through Lingoo, language exchange and paid stay holidays for children are organised directly between families. There is no agent involved. Parents can select which family they would like to set up a language holiday with - based on similar aged children, similar interests, similar values or similar religious beliefs. They have the opportunity to get to know them online before committing to the language exchange.
"Parents should make sure they understand and agree with the values and expectations of the partner family. Language exchange holidays are most successful when carefully planned and the families are well matched. By taking time at the planning stage, your child will reap the benefits - and hopefully develop friendships that will last a lifetime."
For more information please visit Lingoo.eu