Time certainly flies, I never imagined I would be here organising my teen's informal exchange to France. We are lucky to have extended family in France, and a bonus, they are willing to have my child with them for 8 weeks to attend a local high school with their son
In Australia, taking a gap year to travel and going on a student exchanges are practically a rite of passage. So why undertake a student exchange? As a 15 year old I spent almost a year in the US with dear family friends, it was such an amazing experience, coming out of a pretty conservative environment with limited world exposure it was a real eye opener. It was not a complete bed of roses, there were days that I was homesick, adjusting to living within another family can pause a challenge for some. It was all worth it (maybe minus the extra kilos I came home with, but I discovered bagels and cream cheese what can I say).
The reasons for going on an exchange are varied and personal, but generally they offer young people the opportunity to gain an appreciation of different cultures, develop independence and resilience skills. Depending on the chosen destination it can help improve your additional language skills.
Many students wanting to undertake an additional language right to the end of high school (VCE/HSC in Australia), often participate on some form of language and cultural exchange prior to exams.
There are multiple ways you can organise student exchanges through a range of organisations, here are a few which deal with French language exchanges (Disclaimer I've never used any of them so do your research).
Student Exchange Australia & New Zealand
AFS Intercultural Programs
AFX Student Exchange Australia
WEP study abroad
It is always worth discussing exchange programs with your child's high school as they may already have options set up for the students.
Have you organised an exchange for your child? Who do you recommend and did you child have a good experience?