Learning about life in other countries and about what other children’s lifestyles and traditions are like is a great way of broadening children’s knowledge. One way of bringing this to life is to take up the opportunity of having an exchange student.
Many schools offer the change for children to go on school exchanges, whereby the school visits another country for one week. Pupils are all matched up with pupils in the exchange school, usually of a similar age or similar interests, and they live with them and their families for the duration of their stay. It’s a great way of completing immersing children into their exchange family’s way of life, as they can get to know their customs, lifestyle and get a valuable chance to improve their language skills.
After the trip, pupils from the country they’ve visited make a return visit to the UK and come and stay with families here. Many children thrive on the opportunity to take part in a student exchange scheme such as this, but for shy pupils and can be a bit too full on. But the good news is there are other ways that they can take part, without necessarily having to go it alone in a foreign country with their school.
Taking on Students
Each year, thousands of foreign exchange students arrive in the UK, with their schools or with organisations who run special exchange schemes. They come to the country for varying amounts of time – from one week to several week – to learn to improve their knowledge and understanding of the language, and get to grips with life here.
Usually the schemes run during the summer or Easter holidays, and that’s where you come in. Host families are always in demand, to have the students to stay, give them a roof over their head, meals each day and a friendly welcome. It’s a great opportunity to have a foreign visitor to stay and learn more about their life, but without having to go and stay in their country.
Most schemes have either lessons or day trips planned throughout the weekdays, so you won’t have to provide non-stop around the clock entertainment for your student. It’s of course beneficial and nice if you do arrange some special trips for them, perhaps visiting local attractions or famous places in your local area, and makes them feel more at home.
As well as the obvious benefits for the student staying with you, many families gain huge benefits too. Younger children, who aren’t yet older enough or eligible to go abroad on school exchange trips, love having a guest to stay with them and many families remain in contact with their visitors for many years to come. Although it can be hard work, the benefits are enormous.
A quick search of the Internet or a browse of your local paper should offer details of exchange schemes in your area, or you could ask at nearby schools to see if anyone knows of any opportunities to have a student. So, if you’ve got nothing major planned for the holidays or would like to broaden your children’s knowledge and interests, why not consider the many benefits available from student exchanges?