It works both ways
Need to earn an extra income? Hosting French guests in your home could be the answer
Like many Brits, we have a big house in the countryside and are keen to find ways to help make it pay for itself. We already have a gîte but when I saw an advert on Facebook for families to host French children for language stays, I wanted to find out more.
I already had some experience teaching English as a foreign language to adults and really enjoyed the lessons. To host for immersion teaching you don’t need a teaching qualification (I don’t have one), although usually the ‘teacher’ is expected to have a degree. We host through Daily English, and Sally, the owner, visited our home to talk through what was expected of us, which was reassuring.
Five days a week I give a one-and-ahalf hour lesson, and then at least four afternoons a week we have to take the kids, along with ours, out on an excursion. Obviously this depends on the weather but typically will be something like a walk by a local waterfall, a trip to caves or accrobranche or, for bad weather days,
bowling or the trampoline park. I imagine if you live near the beach it’s a bit simpler!
It’s very enjoyable but surprisingly tiring – obviously you need to provide three meals a day without fail, speak slowly and clearly at all times and generally be on hand to be a substitute parent for a week. It’s great to see the kids grow in confidence during the week, and our own children usually enjoy spending time with them as well as all the outings – because they are fluent in French, the main challenge is reminding them that they need to speak English when they’re with their new friends. Daily English sends some lesson suggestions through before the stays, but I usually source some of my own too according to the interests and levels of the children – there’s plenty online so it isn’t difficult. As well as teaching the students English I like to try to teach them a little bit about English culture. My daughter likes to make jelly, which most of them have never tried, and if we’ve recently been to the UK we’ll bring back things like custard creams and chocolate fingers. Meals will usually include classics such as toad in the hole and fish and chips, and if they come over Toussaint (All Saints’ Day on 1 November), we often have a bonfire party with fireworks.”
Catherine, her husband Alex and children Toby and Olivia enjoy introducing French teenagers to English culture as well as helping them learn the language when they stay at their home in Ariège
Catherine Cooper, 46, lives with her husband Alex, 52, and children Toby, 15 and Olivia, 13 in Ariège. They host teenagers for week-long immersion courses.
French teenager Quentin enjoys accrobranche on one of his outings with the Cooper family