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Dear Parents
 

“TY Europe” aims to give teenagers  the opportunity to experience another culture and language in a caring family environment.

I would like to talk to you about some of the worries and questions you might have at the thought of your teenager going away from home possibly for the first time for such a long period of time.

The following is not to tell you what to do but rather to give you some advice and suggestions for a successful language exchange experience.

You may find you will be in the minority in wishing your teenager to participate in such a scheme, you will most certainly hear all kinds of negative and worrying remarks.  Rather than listening to such comments ask us to put you in touch with families who have already done an exchange and listen to what they have to say, hearing of the experiences of others can be helpful in coming to a decision to participate in “TY Europe”. The decision to allow your teenager to take part in such a big adventure is never taken lightly and it is quite normal to have various concerns and doubts, I would like to reassure you that by letting your teenager spend this time in Europe not only will their fluency improve immeasurably but also they will gain so much maturity from having to cope with this challenging situation. Total immersion in a language has been shown to be the most efficient method of language learning.  The more usual one or two week exchanges between teenagers does not make much overall difference to the knowledge of a foreign language.  If your teenager spends six months abroad not only will they be bilingual but they will have gained a deeper understanding of the foreign county and its language than they ever could as an adult.

Lots of questions will trouble you, “will they be safe?” “will the family be kind?” “will they be unhappy?” “will they cope with school?”  “what if they do not like the food?” “will they get on with the exchange student and their family?” “will they fall behind with school work” so let me address some of these points. 

“TY Europe” takes great care in placing young people in families that are as compatible as possible, it would be incorrect to assume that difficulties cannot arise, no matter how carefully plans have been made and no matter how thorough the preparations the first month will be very difficult, this is normal, there is so much to cope with, change of diet, routine at school and home, inability to express themselves, being away from friends and family members. Homesickness in varying degrees is to be expected however learning how to cope in such a challenging environment can be very character forming for young people, yes they have been taken out of their comfort zone and that is hard but having to cope on their own will inspire great confidence and teach them how to cope with future difficult situations on their own.

     

 

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