Pairing in focus
You are going to complete a form for an individual exchange. It’s an educational exchange between two pupils but also a family exchange as the two families are involved as well.
- An exchange partner
The first stage – the most important – is to put two young people in contact with each other. It is the main task of the exchange team. The eventual goal is a successful exchange between the two partners. To that end we try to find the most compatible partner for your child amongst the applications we have received. That is where it all begins. You are already playing your part as you fill in the application form.
We pay careful attention to each individual applicant and consider two sections in particular: the one about your child’s likes and hobbies and the one about their personality. Do be full and honest and give usas much information as possible about your child. It will help us enormously in the pairing.
- And then?
Once the pairing is done, and the two young people have a partner, the exchange itself starts with them making contact with each other. After that, it is you, the family and your child who drive the exchange forward.
- The exchange partners make contact
Even if the exchange partner and their family have received the application you filled in and your child’s letter of introduction, we ask your child to send an email letter to get started. They now have a partner so the email is no longer going to a stranger.
- The two families make contact
A letter or an email acknowledging that you, the parents, have received the details of the selected partner will consolidate the pairing. You have agreed to be the host family for a young minor and you need to introduce your family to the child’s parents, not only to reassure the young person you are going to host and their parents, but also to support and motivate your own child who has just been paired up. The contacts between exchange partners and their families can take various forms depending on what you find most convenient.
- The summers stays
It isn’t just a question of a reciprocal stay with a family in the other country, but of establishing a real relationship BEFORE the stay so that it gets off to a good start right from the outset. Your family is involved with the partner’s family and the exchange starts from the moment your children are paired.
The young people learn by watching, by participating, by joining in to melt into the daily life of their partner and their partner’s family. They already have an idea of how their partner lives before they arrive. The early communication between the two teenagers and their families has built confidence; now they just have to share, discover and express themselves and with a partner of the same age, it’s a real advantage. Meanwhile you, the parents, organise the day to day activities. You accompany them and support and encourage your child to make their exchange partner feel welcome. By your kind involvement you are very active facilitators.
That is why, to strengthen their connection, a regular exchange between the teenagers and their parents over the months before the actual stay is so important. It is vital because both young people are going to have to adapt to a family and a linguistic and cultural environment quite different from their own.
For the two stays we use a travel agent to book the return flights.
The Association itself will be by your side from the moment the pairings are made and right through the summer stays. The accompanying adults are French teachers for the English group and English teachers for the French group.
We are an association under the 1901 law, recognised by the cities of Bordeaux and Bristol and the Bordeaux Education Authority. We are run by volunteers and receive very little in the way of grants and funding. We are not a travel agent nor a company organising language stays. The people running the exchange, like those running all the other sections of the Association are still working or retired and devote some of their spare time to maintaining the Association. Subscriptions and your financial input to the exchange contribute to covering the costs of the exchange and the expenses inherent in running the Association.
Previous exchanges: Bordeaux students in Bristol
2018 exchange: Bristol students in Bordeaux
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