1. Does my child have to speak some of the language to go?
Absolutely not! With total immersion learning a language and the ability to communicate happens quickly. Going abroad with no language skills means there are no bad accents or habits to break.
2. Who should apply for an exchange?
We are looking for adventurous and curious children and teens between the ages of 8 to 17. Families must be open to host and welcome a new family member into their homes. We need well-rounded children who have good behavior and the desire to complete an exchange.
3. Is EFI. more than a language immersion program?
Yes! Our exchanges are about more than just learning a language. Exchanges are about the adventure, creating family bonds, and having lifelong relationships. Children on an exchange that are happy in their new surroundings and having fun will thrive and learn their new language effortlessly.
4. What about school?
Depending on the country and a host family’s preference, exchange students will go to either public or private schools. In France, Germany, and Spain enrolling a child in school is less complicated than in North America.
Most school boards in Canada require a reciprocal hosting agreement allowing for exchange students to attend school at no additional cost provided a Canadian student attends a foreign school. Please talk to Tabatha about how to get school board approval.
Schooling in the United States requires all exchange students to attend a S.E.V.I.S. vetted school. Contact Tiffany about these details.
5. We homeschool. Can my child still participate in an exchange?
Homeschoolers are welcome to apply for an exchange. The flexibility of lifestyle and academic choices make homeschooling a particularly good fit for exchanges. If you currently homeschool your children, you can plan to homeschool your exchange child while they are with you. Please note in the United States homeschooling foreign children is limited to stays less than 90 days.
6. Will my child be safe?
All families involved in our exchanges are interviewed, family reference checked, and have criminal background checks. We also ask schools to provide a report on the child before being accepted into the program. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of all children involved.
7. What do you mean by “total language immersion”?
After the first-week children do not hear, speak, or read their first language. They are not to bring books or electronics with them. Except for one 30-minute phone call home each week, they should be fully immersed in their new language. This method ensures very quick language acquisition and allows for the child to become part of the family and the community they have joined.
8. What about the negative reaction of family and friends?
Family and friends often mean well but they do not understand the exchange process, or may not share your enthusiasm for sending your child abroad. Many times family and friends need to witness your exchange before they realize just how amazing this opportunity is.
9. Can I visit them during their exchange?
No! Remember your child is on their adventure and we want them to be successful. Homesickness can occur at any time during the exchange and seeing a parent while on an exchange may cause them to be homesick. Parents are encouraged to pick children up at the end of an exchange and leave the rest of the exchange time dedicated solely to the child and their needs. There is something magical about seeing your child in their new life, speaking their new language, meeting their loving family, and letting your child be your personal tour guide!.
10. My child is so young, should I wait until they are older to do an exchange?
Studies have shown that the younger the child is the easier it can be to learn a new language. Children who are younger also may have fewer difficulties integrating into their new family, making new friends, and being part of a community. Younger children forget about time and live each day as it comes. This allows them to focus on the present and learn the language. Younger children also tend to learn a new language with little or no accent. However, if your child is motivated to do an exchange, they can do it at any age.
Camille (France) ~ "Try everything, you never know what you will like."
Katie (Canada) ~"Try your best and enjoy it while you can. You think an exchange is a long time but it is over before you know it."