If you should ever have the opportunity to send your child on a foreign exchange then you should grab it with both hands. Foreign exchanges are not just an opportunity for your child to enhance their language skills, but will also give them first hand experience of new cultures, ways of living and the chance to meet new people from another country. The skills a child can learn form being plunged into a new culture and through giving them the ability to show someone else their culture are immeasurable. Your child will gain confidence and leave the experience with a far more open mind.
Should you have the opportunity then here are some things you need to do as a parent to prepare your child for their upcoming adventure.
Staying in Touch
No matter how confident your child is, they will have quite a shock when they arrive on their exchange and it is important that they know how they can best stay in touch with you. Ensure that they have a movie phone with them and are able to easily get in touch with you through calls or messages. Make sure that their phone is topped up with credit and look at options like www.recharge.com where you can charge their cell up with credit even when they are away from you. This will give your child the peace of mind that they can call home should they need to.
Whilst you don’t want your child to be reckless, you should be ensuring that they have sufficient money for their trip and that you have ways to send them money should they run out. I went on a trip when I was young and there were many children who ran out of money very quickly because their parents thought that the host family would be paying for everything. This may not necessarily be the case so ensure that your child has the money they need, you can leave some emergency cash with their teacher should you need to.
Talk With Your Child About Their Goals
An important part of preparing your child for their trip abroad is to ensure that they have their mind set on the right reasons for doing it. Speak with them and ask what they are hoping to gain from the experience. If they think that they are only going to have fun then you may need to center them a little, the point of this exercise is just to prime your child’s brain that they are going to have a fun and once in a lifetime learning opportunity.
Don’t suck the fun out of what they are doing, just ensure that they are prepared to take the experience with both hands. Ask your child to write down some question about what they want to learn from their host family or their culture, ask what their expectations are and get them to write these down too. After the experience they can review their expectations and see how close to the mark they were.