Family Stay – The Key Part of an L&F Program
Language & Friendship believes that a family stay is an essential component of an educational program abroad. One can always be a tourist; however, a family stay is a unique opportunity to be immersed in the language and culture in a personal way. Most of our groups stay with host families for 5 to 10 days, and some choose longer stays. Even though the family stay is short, it’s a valuable experience in growth and self-reliance, and a chance to build a friendship that can last a lifetime.
Language & Friendship has been providing travel programs with a family-stay component since 1988. Our success is best reflected in the feedback of students and parents, and especially in the continued commitment of teachers who regularly offer the family stay experience for their students.
Each student has his/her own host family in order to have a more beneficial immersion experience. If two American students were together in a host family, they would likely speak English with each other and would not connect as well with their new family, defeating the purpose of the program. (Additionally, houses and cars are usually not large enough for two additional people). An individual experience allows the student to really practice the language and become part of the family who is also looking forward to creating a new friendship.
The Family-Stay Team
The Family-Stay Coordinator: Language & Friendship is fortunate to have had many years of building strong relationships with dedicated teachers and coordinators abroad who organize the family stays. Like the teachers we work with in the U.S., READ MORE…
The Host Family: Host families volunteer to welcome a student into their homes in recognition of the educational benefit that hosting brings to the whole family. Host families are diverse in ethnicity and socio-economic level, yet alike in their openness and wholeheartedness. Families READ MORE…
The American Student: The success of the family stay depends a lot on the student’s preparation beforehand and the willingness to be open and committed to experiencing a new culture. READ MORE…
The American Teacher: During preparation meetings, teachers cover valuable information to help prepare students for their experience. During the family stay, READ MORE…
The American Parents: Parents can support their child by reviewing the Family Stay section of the Student Guidebook and by reviewing the Communication Expectations together. By encouraging their child to be open to the differences they will encounter and ready to put their best foot forward, READ MORE…
[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.
... 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.
Some of my language learning moments mainly happened over mealtimes, since there is a lot of talking done when people are eating.
My host parents were from two different regions of Spain, so I also got to see the contrast in accents, culture, and family background.
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.
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.
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!
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.