It works both ways

Need to earn an ex­tra in­come? Host­ing French guests in your home could be the an­swer

Living France - - Contents - dai­­ing-english-in­france-host-fam­ily

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

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