Just wanted to let members know (if they don't already) about Host in France. Run by Nadege and Anthony, it served us brilliantly last year when we hosted about ten French children (and one delightful father and daughter!) wanting to improve their English throughout the holidays. Host in France are looking to expand their base of English families living in France. After some positive national TV publicity, they have more requests than they can find families for, and I want to spread the word for them and give other families the chance to benefit from this highly lucrative and hugely rewarding experience.
Basically you send your details to Nadege and Anthony via the site, they ask a few questions to get a full idea of you and your family, then they try and match requests from French children. They offer a selection of families for each request, contact you if the French family choose you, check availability etc.
They handle everything beautifully, sensitively and efficiently - leaving the final travel organisation etc to the two families. The guests arrive with a cheque on their first day, and we never had a single problem... the system works on a perfect balance of trust, good organisation, and instinct. I cannot recommend them highly enough, they are always there for both parties, but never interfere.
Some children choose to have lessons, some don't. The lessons are charged at €20 an hour included in the cheque. Everything is clear to everyone, and whilst it obviously affects the whole family having a stranger to stay and live with you for a week (sometimes two), we found that we had been well-matched (the advantage of the detailed info. everyone gives to Host in France) and the fact that we had 'visitors' meant we did loads of fun family stuff; went out on trips, went swimming, bowling etc. and our kids loved all the activity.
If you're interested, I highly recommend getting in touch and finding out more.
I talked a bit about the whole experience in my blog the end of last summer if you fancy having a look.
Saved our bacon last year when we were financially strapped - and gave us so much more than just the financial rewards!
It really is an excellent and simple way of making a bit of extra cash whilst being with your family and doing fun holiday things together! I think the secret is to be completely honest about your family's interests, where you live etc. Then Nadege and Anthony have a real knack of matching you with the right people for your lifestyle. For example, we're a house full of noise, music and activity - there's no dish-washer, no en-suite bathrooms, and when you stay with us everyone mucks in.
Without exception our guests washed up with my children, etc... and went with the flow. When someone is with you 24/7 you have to all be at ease. At first I think was too anxious to 'entertain' and 'occupy'... it was much better when I chilled a bit and we just did what we normally did with a few perks thrown in! I really hope this post means others can benefit as we have.... and will again... soon in fact - we have Alex arriving on Sunday 12th Feb for a week! And Hugo in April!
This sounds like a great idea - I'd love to do this. I had a friend who did it for French children when she was in England, the kids loved it & to this day 30+ years later she is still in contact with many of her kids. She has also been to several weddings in France over the years. I think this would be fantastic when we've got the rooms sorted in our next place. Thanks!
We did this for years in Dublin, but the students went to a school, so no teaching then. I have now acquired a TEFL certificate, but in any case, being a native speaker, and having got my own 4 girls through school and uni, I feel (fingers crossed) I should be able to offer a nice environment for those wishing to learn English as a foreign language. The house we are currently renting has 2 guest rooms, but only one has an en suite. The house we are looking at buying (more finger crossing!) would only have a shared bathroom for all. So it's good to know that lack of en suites wouldn't rule you out of being a host family.
Hi Andrew, we did it in the UK too with Polish students and made some life long friends, (now married with children and living in Paris!)... that was longer term though. The beauty of Host in France is if you make good new friends you keep in touch, if not - it's only a week, and you merrily wave goodbye!
extremely interesting - I did this in the UK for a number of years and still have friends (I took in students in their 20s and 30s) across europe as a result. It is a very enriching experience and pays too. Only trouble is, even though I'm a qualified languages teacher, my OH and kids only speak French so I'll have to wait a few years for the kids to get going in English before I could apply. From experience, you need to like people and be happy with strangers living in your house, using your toilet etc (and we had one student who didn't wash in the two weeks, easy to tell kids to go and have a shower but he was with us he was in his 30s and paying to be there!)
The fee is per person - most of the time I think they are looking just for one child to be placed in the family, rather than whole families to be placed, although as I said, we did have a father and daughter, where the father needed to work on his English for work, and thought his nine year old would benefit too. In that case we received double fee + his 10 hours of lessons. Yes all food was included in that - for us as a big family, adding one to the table made very little difference, and there's no expectation that you'll prepare anything other than your normal stuff. The whole purpose is for them to integrate into your family life, do what you do and join in whatever's happening. So for example, we had other English friends come and stay at the same time now and then, and as English was always the common language spoken at home it just added to their experience. The only slightly more tricky thing was that obviously having my children's French friends around a lot was not very useful for the guests.
We haven't got a lot of extra space, so whilst we offered our guests their own room, we made it quite clear that the rest of the house/bathroom etc was shared. I think in fact it 's what most people want -
In terms of tips Sheila,I think it really depends on your family and priorities. I made the decision after one 9 year old boy came that in future 9 was too young for our set up. My youngest is 11 and to have a child younger than him (and not particularly keen on improving his English) felt more like very cheap babysitting. Although I had no problems with him whatsoever, he was sweet and easygoing and had I a child of the same age it probably would have been fine. So our ideal, with our set-up was 15-20ish... everyone apart from the 9 year old was really motivated to improve, so it makes for a very positive atmosphere. There's no doubt that if you have children living at home, they have to commit to making it work.
Amanda, thanks for this post. I have contacted them and sent off the form. Went to take photographs when the sky turned very dark, and it lashed down with rain! If you can, could you post up some tips or something, as there may well be more than me and Jane who are interested.
Last year it was €350 a week to live with us as a family - this year it's gone up to €400. They bring pocket money for outings etc. So when lessons were included it really made a difference. It's all very clear and Host in France establish all the pricing, so there's no negotiating to be done. However, the cheque is directly to you and doesn't pass through Host in France. They charge their fee to the 'guests' and then all other transactions are directly between host family and guest. That's why it works so well receiving the cheque on the first day of the stay - you never have the problem of chasing payment.
Amanda, this sounds very interesting. We are in the process of setting up our gite to rent out and this could be one way of extending our season. our Little House is being completed to a very high standard and we also have a heated swimming pool.