Austin with his En Famille French exchange brother Hector. (Contributed)

Austin with his En Famille French exchange brother Hector. (Contributed)

En Famille resumes its exchange program for Kootenay kids

“We’re thrilled to once again offer local students the opportunity to broaden their horizons.”

En Famille International (EFI), a not-for-profit, fully immersive student exchange specialist, has restarted its program for local youth in preparation for the 2022/23 academic year.

“We’re thrilled to once again offer local students the opportunity to broaden their horizons, consume a totally different culture and learn a new language from within the heart of a caring, foreign family who they’ve been thoughtfully matched with,” said Vivienne Hurley, who manages Canada’s reciprocal exchanges for En Famille from her base in Rossland.

“Student safety and well-being will always be our top priority, but I feel that now is the right time to think positively about the future and let families know that we are back up and running, helping them navigate what’s new.”

The specialist in linguistic and cultural exchanges for eight to 15-year-olds, celebrated its 40th anniversary just before the pandemic hit but has remained largely unchanged since the 1970s.

It essentially allows two children of the same age and different nationalities to live together for one whole year.

By embarking on something extraordinary, participants gain more than just learning a foreign language within a welcoming family environment. They discover independence and a deeper level of maturity alongside a set of transferable interpersonal skills and an appreciation of all the things which were previously taken for granted.

With considerate matches, full support and a choice of destinations including Spain, France, and Germany, each child spends three to six months living with their exchange family and by the end of the experience, they have built an adventure, made friends for life, gained invaluable insights and learnt a new language.

“After suspending operations for the past two years, we’ve come back even stronger than ever with a new website coupled with shorter exchange options that include three week and Summer-only placements. We’ve also got lots of families in Europe eager to be matched with Canadian ones,” added Hurley, whose two daughters also completed numerous exchanges with En Famille as teens.

A virtual Q&A session will be held on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 10 a.m., to give interested families the opportunity to find out more and meet those who have already completed successful exchanges.

Contact Viv Hurley at En Famille International at 250-921-6290 or e-mail: to register or apply.

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