Since the pandemic began, bringing travel to a halt, we’ve navigated the challenging process of cancelling our 2020 spring and summer programs. We are heartbroken for the students who were not able to complete the experience they were preparing for, and remain hopeful that those who agreed to postpone or participate in an alternate program will be able to do so.
We’ve also taken the time to reflect on the value of our work and the impact our programs have had on many students and teachers over the years. We’ve stayed connected with our partners abroad and shared how our respective communities have been affected by the coronavirus. We keep working together to find ways to bring language and culture to our teachers and students while many of us are working or schooling remotely.
In October we shared some interviews we recorded with a few of our Family Stay Coordinators, who talked about their local communities and how COVID-19 has impacted their daily lives and specifically their school experiences. We will further support our teachers and students with cultural materials in French and Spanish as we work toward the time when travel can safely resume.
In the meantime, L&F will continue to patiently and carefully plan for travel in 2021 with the hope that borders will open and that sound practices will be in place to allow for safe travel. We are extending deadlines and providing as much flexibility as possible to allow more time to make decisions.
We’ve been able to provide life-changing experiences for thousands of students, teachers and host families for more than 30 years, and we are committed to carrying on our important mission well into the future. The world will need to rebuild relationships and form new connections beyond borders once this pandemic subsides.
The L&F Team
Our mission is to serve language teachers and their students and to promote global citizenship through quality educational programs including short-term travels, language-immersion family stays, and hosting opportunities.
The family stay coordinators really care deeply about this homestay program. I consider them my friends.
I really appreciated the one-on-one attention the L&F staff provided.
We learned as much about ourselves as did about the student. This was an excellent learning experience.
My host family was so welcoming to me. I loved how willing they were to make communication easier through gestures and simplifying the language.
The best part of the family stay was learning the culture, learning new phrases and vocab, and listening to them speak at a realistic speed!
Our family benefited by forming a friendship with a wonderful girl from France, enjoying simple things like hiking.
My daughter had a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Spain. Thank you very much for all the hard work.
The trip was so well-organized and the parents were kept so well-informed. It made us feel confident that [our daughter] would be in good hands.
I felt welcomed, like an old family friend. They treated me with respect and kindness. Even with a language barrier, I felt at home.
Language and Friendship is amazing. My daughter traveled as an individual to France from the U.S. for a four week home stay. Every detail was planned and the entire trip was perfect. The host family was wonderful and the organization went to great lengths to make sure my daughter was safe and happy. Thank you Laurence and Language and Friendship!
I am really impressed with your pre-trip mailings and communication. I have worked with other companies, and L&F is taking care of so much more, in such an organized way! As a teacher, I am busy enough, and having everything laid out so nicely is refreshing.
It was a learning experience for everyone. My family not only gained a friendship, but also gained a close family member. It was amazing!
The itinerary was grand, and the lodgings, meals, and activities were all indicative of careful planning. Linda was a great group leader - so attentive, always helpful. I have traveled a lot in the last 10 years and I must say this is one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had because of the personal touches.
All support & information was excellent. The personal attention and help is second to none.
Our family benefited in so many ways: trying something out of our comfort zone; patience with talking and explaining things slower; not taking our blessings for granted; and most of all, teaching us that a family “loves” the same in all languages!
Language & Friendship offers fun-filled, language-rich, way more than a sightseeing tour adventure in truly magical locations.
I was very apprehensive of family stays, and now I would say it was the best part of the trip! Thanks so much for the encouragement!
If you love the language, you'll love this; it's a life-changing experience; there is nothing else like it; you get to know more people; you will love every minute of it!
Our family benefited by learning about another country and realizing that there is more to the world than just the U.S.!
L&F is a great company, professional, organized, caring and committed to providing students and teachers with quality cultural experiences. The name "Language & Friendship" truly reflects the values and dedication of you all.
It helped our kids see our community from a different perspective. We learned a lot about a country and culture we didn't know much about before.
We learned a lot on so many different levels. It was a fabulous experience! :)
The Student Guidebook is excellent! It is a very detailed concise set of information for students and the parents.
Our two daughters talked non-stop on the drive home and both became tearful in talking about leaving their host families (in Argentina)
Such a confidence builder! My son got to know French culture first- hand. He expanded his world-view and had the opportunity to develop relationships with people outside the US. He recognized that we are more similar to people from other countries than dissimilar.
Travel abroad gives you a broader context which enables you to better view your own culture. Group travel is really the only way to go because you learn so much from each other and from each other's stories. You also don't waste time on the mundane because there's a leader to navigate the way!
Our kids learned a lot about European life without traveling. They learned how to teach and employ language and show hospitality to a foreigner.
I am very grateful for the thorough, supportive, accurate and up-to-date information and suggestions provided frequently by L&F.
I was just telling my husband last night about how nice and educational our L&F program was as compared to the non-language trip with another company --never again! L&F would definitely be my choice.
Your Leader Workshop renewed my passion for teaching language and traveling with students. I’ve traveled with students since 1990 and this was my first trip with L&F – all I can say is, “Where have you been all my life?”
Everyone at L&F is always available and helpful. Thank you for your regular communication.
It really was an unbelievable experience and I think that for some of the students, it was only the first part of a long-term relationship with the people they met and the country itself.
The mix of fun and educational activities kept our students engaged and excited throughout the entire visit, and upon our return our campus is abuzz with students spreading the word about "the best trip ever."
THANK YOU to the teacher for all she did to make this trip to Spain such a memorable one. I can only imagine all the hours of prep she put into the planning so everything would go as smooth as it did. Our daughter had an experience of a lifetime, one she probably would have not had if it had not been for the L&F teacher. She was very lucky to be able to stay with such a wonderful family. Many tears were shed by all as she said good-bye. Thank you again!
It was a life-changing experience for her and opened her eyes to a big whole new world. It has provided wonderful new friendship.
This trip was amazing! Our L&F coordinator's knowledge of the language and culture was very helpful and educational. The trip of a lifetime!
I love how passionate you are about what you do. This is why you are such a great company and I trust you.
Beyond the fact that you are learning a language and culture, you are doing something on your own that takes a lot of courage and strength, which helps even prepare you for college and becoming more independent.
The host family treated me like a true family member and made a strong effort to always make me feel welcome, safe, loved and important.
All our questions, requests and needs are taken care of quickly and efficiently. We always receive personal service and attention.
What surprised our family most about hosting was how normal it felt to have another child in the home, the routine was nearly the same as it would be with our two children; it was very simple.
As a new leader, the Leader Guidebook really helped me communicate important preparation pieces to the students and parents.
Thank you for the amazing opportunity to go to Spain my junior year. Without that experience I would have never gained a second family that is so willing to open their doors to me. I feel truly blessed.
My daughter’s host family is absolutely perfect and I am getting tearful thinking how grateful I am that she was matched with such a good family!
This experience was the best that my students have ever had. Anyone can take students on a tour. A family-stay experience is something they will always remember and will have learned from.
Exposing our kids to this experience and friendship has changed them and will affect them for their lifetime.
We will never be the same; she is truly PART of our family, our French daughter/sister...we fell in love with her and she with us - it was the most rewarding thing ever!
I really appreciate the personal attention and help in organizing and planning that you are always so willing to provide. Thanks a million and know that I have been singing your praises.
I was forced to speak the language, and I improved a lot. I also loved feeling at home and not feeling like just a tourist!
Claire thoroughly enjoyed her stay in Spain, and we cannot say enough kind things about the Language & Friendship Program. Thanks again for being so helpful and responsive.
It opened our eyes to a different culture. We all learned a few things and had a great time!
I appreciate how changes and improvements are continually made to the Leader Guidebook, and we continue to integrate new suggestions into our planning.
We value knowledge of other languages and cultures, an eagerness to improve communication skills, and a curiosity for learning. By encouraging growth and curiosity through hosting and travel, we help others develop an awareness of our roles as world citizens and move in the direction of a more peaceful world.
Language & Friendship, Inc., has a staff with more than 100 years of combined experience in intercultural and educational programs. Staff experiences include: advanced degrees in foreign languages; teaching experience at all levels; personal family-stay experiences; living abroad; leading students abroad; working at places such as Concordia Language Villages and other student travel programs.
Language & Friendship, Inc. was created in 1988 by Naomi Thomsen to offer maximum personalized service and custom-designed programs. Naomi passed away in 2004. We are dedicated to carrying on Naomi’s passion for languages and friendships, and we invite you to share this journey.
Naomi Thomsen, our founder, was presented in 2004 with the Chevalier dans l'ordre des Palmes Académiques, the French government’s highest honor to those who have advanced the cause of French culture and language.
Language & Friendship, Inc. was granted the Pro Lingua Award in 1992 by the Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures. This award recognizes outstanding service to and support of linguistic and cultural education by a person or organization from outside the language teaching profession in Minnesota.