1) What does En Famille offer? En Famille arranges 3 to 6 month exchanges to France, Spain and Germany for children 9 to 16 years old. The two exchange children spend 6 to 12 months together; 3 to 6 months in each child’s home. The rules of our exchange include total language immersionwhich is the only way for children to learn to speak fluently (like a local).

It is important to remember though that En Famille offers something beyond fluency: a loving second family. At the end of the exchange year, children and families are attached in a powerful way.

2) How long has En Famille International been arranging exchanges? EFI, a French not for profit organisation, has been organising exchanges for more than 40 years, and has overseen close to 3000 exchanges.

3) How much does an En Famille exchange cost? No money changes hands between the two exchange families. Each family incurs the expenses of the exchange child living with them, including any private school fees.

There is a £1,800 (2,100EUR – Ireland) fee to En Famille. En Famille uses this fee to host informational meetings in each country, attend conferences to increase awareness, interview families, visit homes, monitor on-going exchanges, and pay its employees. The fee is not due until a match has been offered and accepted.

4) Is there a fee to file an application? Yes. There is a £70 application fee (100EUR – Ireland) due with the full application.

5) What do I have to do for my child to be considered? If after reviewing our website and talking to your family you are excited about what we offer contact Jamie ROSE (jamie@enfamille.com/ 07796.201 912) to request a full application.

6) What time of year do exchanges begin? Exchanges normally begin in August/September or February/March (for 3-6m exchanges).

7) At what age is an exchange most successful? After nearly 40 years of experience, we have noticed that the best ages for long term language immersion exchanges are 9, 10 and 11.  We do offer the opportunity for teenagers up to 16 yo as well.

8) What countries can our children exchange with? We offer exchanges to Germany, France and Spain. There are many children in each of these countries interested in an exchange with an English speaking child.

Please note that asking for information or completing an application form does not commit you to anything. It provides an excellent opportunity to think clearly about whether an exchange is right for your child, and for your family. It is simply the first step along a path that you may or may not follow through to the end. You should know that although most children are matched in the first year of their application, it can also take several years to find a match.

9) Is En Famille more than a language immersion program? Yes. En Famille has not lost touch with its roots. The first En Famille exchange was in 1978. Even after 40 years of operation it remains a very simple organisation. It is more about love, family bonds and relationships than anything else. Whilst it is true that the number one reason children exchange is to become bilingual — and En Famille has a total language immersion programme in place that is incredibly successful in achieving this goal – a funny thing happens on the journey: the parents gain another child and the child gains another set of parents/siblings. The families are fused.

What a surprise it is to discover that an exchange child has become your own. It is hard for people who haven’t experienced it to understand. The pain of sending your child-of-the-heart home to his biological parents is difficult to endure, but the experience of adding a child to your family is not to be missed.

10) Will my child be safe? Please know that we will prepare your exchange with great care, as we always do. Since 1978, almost 3000 children have successfully completed exchanges. Families are interviewed, houses are visited and a variety of safeguards are in place to ensure safe exchanges. Nothing is more important to us.

11) We homeschool. Can my child still participate in an exchange? Homeschoolers are a wonderful fit for En Famille. Many homeschooling families in England have already participated on our exchange programmes successfully. If you currently homeschool your children, you should plan to homeschool your exchange child while they are with you. It is likely that your child will have a chance to attend school while in Europe. Many homeschooled children find the schooling experience in Europe very enriching.

12) What about school?  When your child goes to Europe s/he will attend either a state (public) or private school, depending upon which school your exchange family’s children attend. Enrolling British exchange students in public or private schools in France, Germany and Spain is not a problem.

13) We believe being bilingual will broaden our child’s career opportunities.  Have you found this to be true? Yes! This is one of the very exciting aspects of having done this for more than 40 years. Our past students send us notes thanking us for their En Famille experience. They tell us that being bilingual and having lived 6 months abroad helped them follow a career path that otherwise would not have been possible.

14) What about the negative reaction of family and friends? Remember that you will be part of a minority in wanting your child to participate in such an adventure. You will likely hear all kinds of negative and worrying remarks that will make you feel guilty about “sending your child away.”  Ask us to put you in touch with families who have already done an exchange and listen to what they have to say.

15) Are children different when they return home? Absolutely! And in the best way possible. They are more mature, assertive, confident, tolerant and more open-minded.  Many also return with itchy feet, wanting to travel and do another exchange!