Family visits for adults and children are organised yearly in each direction. Usually, about 25 children (the majority being of primary age) and 20 adults take part – some of the adults being parents of the participating children. Accommodation is in families, so we get to know each other on a personal level.
The programme includes a full day’s outing to a place of interest, a party for all, and time with the host family; the children also have a taste of school life, joining their counterparts at one of the local primary schools in the morning, then everyone spends the afternoon together.
Outings with the French are always full of interest and have included visits to Paris, Senlis, Amiens, Chantilly, Pierrefonds, Reims – and in the recent trip a privately owned château in a nearby town.
When the French have visted the Shelfords, we have taken them to London, Sandringham, various Suffolk villages, Saffron Walden, Bury St Edmunds, Burghley and, of course, Cambridge. One year at the end of November they experienced something of our Christmas preparations, including the novelties of Christmas pudding and crackers! The French children have been to the Sealife Centre at Hunstanton, Wimpole Hall, Duxford, Mountfitchet, Greenwich, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London.
Communication is never a problem on the exchange visits. Whilst some may only be able to speak their own language, many participants on either side are able to speak the other language to a greater or lesser extent, so there is never any problem with communication. Whatever your level of language skill you will find a supportive atmosphere which will give you the opportunity to improve your grasp of French.
In general, if you speak good French you will be partnered with French people who may speak little if any English. However, if you are a hesitant communicator in French the French organisers will always try to arrange accommodation in families with people who are good English speakers.
If you are interested in joining us on our next visit to Venerneuil-en-Halatte please follow the link: Visit to Verneuil-en-Halatte 25th-28th May 2024
Reports: the French visiting the Shelfords
Reports: the English visiting Verneuil-en-Halatte