Safe and Effective Language Exchanges Organised by Mothers

Lingua Links 1 Inundated with requests to find "nice" families for French and Italian children wishing to improve their English with a British family, two mothers have set up a service to organise language exchanges.

Both are bringing up bi-lingual families, speak three languages themselves and strongly believe in the value of speaking foreign languages not only as a means of communication but also as a way to understand and learn the value of other cultures.

Francesca Nelson Smith, who lives in London and Sarah Lesage who lives in France, heard from many parents how they were getting frustrated with sending their children on expensive group language holidays where the youngsters spend most of their time with others who speak their own language. They also found that conventional host families were mostly more interested in rent money than actually stimulating and entertaining their visitors.

"We carefully select and introduce families from different countries so that they can arrange language exchanges for their own children" says Sarah Lesage. "We match children of similar ages and interests to ensure that they have some common ground on which to build a relationship. Each child will stay with the other's family during the school holidays. Often as little as a week can make a huge difference to a child's interest in a language and both parents and teachers remark on the new confidence and motivation."

Lingua Links 2 Mrs Ricarda Hall of Richmond, who sent her 12 year old son to Cap Ferret on the west coast of France last summer, was very pleased with the result: "Not only did he have a wonderful time but I was very pleased about the positive effect it has had on Maxi's attitude towards leaning French!"

Mrs Luisa Klint whose 17 year old son Almeric went on an exchange feels that there are other benefits beyond just learning the language: "an exchange such as this is a very formative experience, I think Almeric benefited not just from the cultural and language aspects, but also because he had to take responsibility as host."

Lingualinks now has "Godmothers" as they call themselves, in Spain and German, who like Sarah and Francesca, source families through personal contacts and by working closely with schools. Due to personally knowing the families as well as the careful reference checking, Lingualinks offers the safest, efficient and most cost effective way to help young students improve their foreign language skills.

Lingua Links 3 "Many of the families become close friends" says Francesca Nelson-Smith "and continue to exchange year after year. We are delighted to have been instrumental in introducing them and we strongly believe that a lot of families would greatly benefit from the service".

For more information you can look at our website or contact Francesca Nelson-Smith - Tel: 020 7243 4611 or Sarah Lesage - Tel: 00 33 389 54 20 10

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