Agnes Hamill (left) Quitterie Baucher have been friends for years thanks to En Famille International. (Submitted photo)

Agnes Hamill (left) Quitterie Baucher have been friends for years thanks to En Famille International. (Submitted photo)

Greater Trail student exchange program holding information session

Meeting in Rossland on Saturday, Nov. 16

En Famille International (EFI), a not for profit, fully immersive student exchange program is calling on local youth in Trail, who are in search of international adventure to attend its local information meeting on Saturday, Nov.16 at 2110 First Avenue in Rossland at noon after it recently chose BC as the base for its Canadian division.

It’s aim is to give families with children ages eight to 15 the opportunity to meet those who have already completed successful exchanges and to find out more about its philosophy and ethos. Applications are currently being considered and family interviews are being carried out for Canadian exchanges to France, Spain, Mexico and Germany with start dates in Feb/March 2020 and August/September 2020.

The specialist in linguistic and cultural exchanges is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its popular program which has remained unchanged since the 1970s and essentially allows two children of the same age and different nationalities to live together for one whole year. By embarking on something extraordinary and significantly broadening their horizons, 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, Mexico, Germany, UK and the USA, each child spends six months living with their exchange family. By the end of the experience they have built an adventure, made friends for life, gained invaluable insights, and learned a new language.

“I’ve learned so much about myself as a direct result of my foreign exchanges,” said 16-year-old Agnes Hamill, who has just moved to Rossland from the UK. She completed an En Famille International exchange to France when she was 11 and a Spanish one when she was 13. “You learn so much more than just a language. You don’t realise it at the time but the whole experience makes you more receptive to change, boosts your social skills and makes you more outgoing, understanding and patient with others. As well as my own family, I now have extended families in France and Spain too, two brilliant exchange sisters who I visit every year, am fluent in three languages and want to go to University to study more of them!”

Vivienne Hurley, Agnes’ mother, agreed to be the new Canadian representative for En Famille International after making the move here from the UK.

“The whole family has to be on board to make each exchange a success and it’s definitely harder the first time round but totally worth it for everyone involved,” said Hurley. “It’s total coincidence that we chose to emigrate to a region which has so much history for EFI and one that has had more En Famille Exchanges than anywhere else in North America but I’m happy to be supporting a program that has given, and continues to give, my own family so much happiness and opportunity.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about En Famille International’s exchange programme and/or would like to attend the meeting, please contact Vivienne Hurley on 250-921-6290 or e-mail Vivienne@enfamille.com for information and registration details.

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