We celebrate the first Swap Family language exchange between families: a unique and unrepeatable experience
Many families are waiting to contact other families that, like you, are willing to participate in a language exchange between families. We wish to inform you that Swap Family is already responsible for facilitating the first such experience among families.
It has been a very rewarding and enriching experience for both the parties. A great language exchange experience between families.
We are going to explain you how has been the first language exchange between families.
Greta F. Fischer* – an English woman of Austrian origin – is our “swapy”. She is a lovely 80-year-old with a great sense of humour and a knack for learning languages. She speaks German, English, French and also wants to improve her Spanish.
The Sánchez* family – a Barcelona-based family with a couple and their three daughters (the oldest nine years old and the younger twins seven years old) – are our “swapies”. They are an open and tolerant family that allows people of other cultures to enter their home. They speak Spanish, Catalan, English and French.
Marta*, the grandma of the Sánchez family also wanted to participate in this experience. Marta is a 75-year-old woman with a lot of positive energy and love for Barcelona. She speaks Spanish and Catalan. During her youth, she studied German and has recently undertaken the study of this language.
In the beginning, Greta wanted to travel to Spain to participate in a Spanish course that provided accommodation, as she had done in the past. But when she considered the opportunity of living with a family from Barcelona, she decided to give it a try.
Subsequently, both the families began to exchange emails.
First, they introduced themselves and then explained what they expected from this experience and later discussed issues that were important for both the parties.
“It has been a successful experience because there have been no misunderstandings. Everything was clear from the beginning because we discussed the issues that worried us, both Greta and us. Greta, for example, was worried we would like to go to her house after this experience, but we clarified to her that we didn’t want a reciprocal exchange,” said a representative of the Sánchez family.
“From the beginning, Greta wanted to pay the transport to the airport and she wanted to invite us to dinner the last day. The rest of the days we had dinner together at home and we assumed the expense. In Spanish, we have a saying that says: where it fits five it fits six or seven,” the Sánchez family’s representative remarked.
After the discussion, they agreed that the experience should last a week and the Sánchez family, for personal reasons, began to search for a hotel very close to their house in which Greta was staying.
One of the advantages of Swap Family is the total flexibility with which you can organise your own language exchanges.
The key is to communicate with the other family. As you can customize your language exchange, each exchange can be different.
They also made plans for the week they were going to spend together, such as the visits that Greta could make in the mornings, for which they had gotten tickets in advance, and activities they could do together in the afternoon (such as a visit to Parc Güell).
Greta, in addition to being immersed in the daily life of the Sánchez family, also participated in their social life and family activities, which included attending the girls’ school.
“The stay of Greta coincided with the end of course of our daughters, so she could also come to the artistic gymnastics festival of one of them. Before the festival we were with other parents drinking coffee and chatting. It was a very pleasant afternoon,” said the Sánchez family’s representative.
A true “house” of Babel
During the day, Greta and Marta visited many places around Barcelona (the Hospital de Sant Pau, the Sagrada Familia, the Palau de la Música, the Gothic quarter, and more). Greta practiced Spanish with Marta and when that tired them, they jumped to German.
In the evenings, there was more Spanish and also Spanish–English vocabulary games with the daughters of the Sánchez family, which prompted them to talk about traditions and cultural differences. During dinners, the dishes and ingredients were part of the conversations. After dinner, they also made time for more personal conversations, anecdotes and reminiscences.
For Greta and the Sánchez family both, this exchange has been a very positive and enriching experience.
When we asked the children of the house about the experience, the nine-year-old told us:
“It has been a new experience. We have been with a person from another country. An English lady had never come to my house. I enjoyed it because Greta was very nice. She laughed a lot, and I discovered new words in English that I did not know before, like ‘pepper.’ It was fun. It was like a new adventure.”
Because of the exchange, a friendship has been established between these two families. They have maintained their communication and the exchange of languages is still continuing through email.
Moreover, it has been an encouraging experience for Marta. Now, she is looking forward to finding a German family to spend a few days with. She would like to visit emblematic places and get involved in the German culture and tradition.
The Sánchez family is open to travelling to an English-speaking country or repeating the coexistence with another family that wants to come to Barcelona.
As for Greta, she is planning her return to Barcelona next year.
If you too want to have an experience like the one we have described, you can do it with Swap Family – the international network of families through which you can organise your own language exchange between families.
*The names of the families used in this post are not real at the express request of the families.