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.
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. Additionally in 2022, our long-time director, Liane Mattson was awarded this same honor.
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.
We are truly carrying out the mission of intercultural and language learning together! I simply would not travel with any organization but Language & Friendship!
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.
As a first-time visitor to Québec, I. was amazed at the amount of French everywhere. II've been to the anglophone part of Canada before, but I must admit, the francophone part is an entirely new world.
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!
The Student Guidebook is excellent! It is a very detailed concise set of information for students and the parents.
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!
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 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 saw huge improvements in my French during my time there. The speaking aspect of it improved but what improved even more was the understanding. I can now understand French so much more than I used to! And it makes me want to practice my French all the time!
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!
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.
Everyone at L&F is always available and helpful. Thank you for your regular communication.
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!
The people at L&F are fabulous to work with – they are very thorough, well organized and always willing to help/answer your questions. They have great materials available for teachers to use. We are so pleased!
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.
We learned a lot on so many different levels. It was a fabulous experience! :)
[My favorite thing was:] The activities that I did with my family like going on bike, swimming, trying out other sports, etc. I liked it because those are activities that I like to do in my everyday life and I got to do it with a family from another country.
It opened our eyes to a different culture. We all learned a few things and had a great time!
The best part of the family stay was getting to see the island from a local's perspective and not just a typical tourist's view. They were very open and happy to show me around.
It was a learning experience for everyone. My family not only gained a friendship, but also gained a close family member. It was amazing!
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!
I just feel extremely grateful and lucky that I had this wonderful experience. I'm also grateful for all the people I got to meet, all the activities I did, and a totally different culture that I got to learn from. Trips like this are just unforgettable and help people view the world from a different perspective.
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!
Language & Friendship offers fun-filled, language-rich, way more than a sightseeing tour adventure in truly magical locations.
Our family benefited by forming a friendship with a wonderful girl from France, enjoying simple things like hiking.
Being in a household that spoke only Spanish helped me take the next step in fluency, something I would not be able to do in a classroom.
... having spent every day and night listening to the language all around me, I adjusted well enough that I was able to turn my English brain off and fully dive into the complexities that was the French language.
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.
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!
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.
Québec is a great place for middle schoolers to visit. It is small, safe, and young teens can get a good handle of directions.
Our family benefited by learning about another country and realizing that there is more to the world than just the U.S.!
My favorite memories are getting to see all that is Spain! From the architecture to all of the history held there. I tried so many new things. It was great!
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."
My host parents were from two different regions of Spain, so I also got to see the contrast in accents, culture, and family background.
Language & Friendship is a great organization and I have worked with them for many years. They do a great job and are helping to promote global understanding, one student at a time.
All our questions, requests and needs are taken care of quickly and efficiently. We always receive personal service and attention.
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?”
My host family was so welcoming to me. I loved how willing they were to make communication easier through gestures and simplifying the language.
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.
My favorite memories from the trip are from the family stay. Spain is the best!
I love how passionate you are about what you do. This is why you are such a great company and I trust you.
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.
It was a life-changing experience for her and opened her eyes to a big whole new world. It has provided wonderful new friendship.
There is no better way to experience Spain’s culture than by getting the chance to stay with a family.
My daughter had such a great experience with her host family in France! She came back with a different understanding of the language and she now wants to study abroad after high school. We couldn't have been happier with the program.
The family stay coordinators really care deeply about this homestay program. I consider them my friends.
We learned as much about ourselves as did about the student. This was an excellent learning experience.
I felt welcomed, like an old family friend. They treated me with respect and kindness. Even with a language barrier, I felt at home.
I really appreciated the one-on-one attention the L&F staff provided.
My daughter had a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Spain. Thank you very much for all the hard work.
Our kids learned a lot about European life without traveling. They learned how to teach and employ language and show hospitality to a foreigner.
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!
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.
Our two daughters talked non-stop on the drive home and both became tearful in talking about leaving their host families (in Argentina)
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.
I appreciate how changes and improvements are continually made to the Leader Guidebook, and we continue to integrate new suggestions into our planning.
Language & Friendship has a major advantage over other companies: incredible experience, 24/7 contact, attention to details never imagined by even the most seasoned traveler, and expert guidance provided for teachers, students, and parents.
Hosting students in our school was a fantastic and invaluable opportunity. Not all of our students can travel abroad, so hosting gave them a chance to bring France to their homes. It also inspired them to continue in their French studies.
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.
Seeing France through the eyes of my students was like falling in love anew.
My favorite part of the program was just experiencing the family life and finally feeling incorporated into the family. This took a little time to actually feel comfortable - around a week - but after, I loved learning about the culture and almost feeling French.
The best part was the immersion into the culture and that we got to see/experience/learn about many different aspects of French-Canadian culture.
All support & information was excellent. The personal attention and help is second to none.
The family stay was amazing. The days with them were like. any other day at my house but with a Martiniquais twist (culture, food, beaches).
Our tour guide, Francis, was amazing, and the activities were so much fun!
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.
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.
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.
My favorite memories from my experience? The ones in which I was able to try things I had never done before!
My favorite memories of the entire experience are going to keep me smiling for years to come! The memories and impact this trip has had on my life are too many to count. I hope I can visit Spain again soon!
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!
Exposing our kids to this experience and friendship has changed them and will affect them for their lifetime.
Some of my language learning moments mainly happened over mealtimes, since there is a lot of talking done when people are eating.
As a new leader, the Leader Guidebook really helped me communicate important preparation pieces to the students and parents.
The best thing about the family stay was getting to see France from the perspective of those who actually reside there.
You are in this business for the right reasons and do a phenomenal job of ensuring that we have fun-filled, language-rich, way-more-than-a-sight-seeing tour in truly magical locations!
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.
I am very grateful for the thorough, supportive, accurate and up-to-date information and suggestions provided frequently by L&F.
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.