Activities and Events November 29, 2016 by

St Giles

“Culture Swap”- A Story about a Canadian Family and French Family

How can you help your children learn a foreign language? How to encourage them to improve their English when they are quite young?

The idea came last year when we first met a Canadian family from Toronto while we were travelling in China. This family had two children and the children were learning French in an immersion school.

With our daughters Juline and Zoe, who are learning English at school as well, it was just perfect: while playing games, they were able to improve their skills in learning a foreign language – French for the Canadian children and English for our children! At the time, I realized how learning French is important for Canada. In comparison with doing an exchange with England, it is far better – with Canada there is a “win-win” language expectation as each side has something to learn from the other.

A few months later, the project went through my head. As Vancouver is very well known to be the most beautiful city in the world, I started to look for schools with a French Immersion program and wrote a note / email to the webmaster of each website to ask if a family would be interested in making an exchange for a few months. Of course, I was looking for a family with two children who were about the same age as my daughters. The rules were simple: I wanted an exchange for a few months only. We would switch our home and our school spots with the other family in order to benefit from each other in terms of learning the foreign language of our choice.


A few days later a family from Lord Tennyson School answered me and hundreds of mails later (in order to discuss and organize everything) we are now doing the exchange! As English is quite important for everyone in terms of job prospects, my husband and I decided to take some English courses as well in order to improve our language skills – St Giles was just perfect: friendly and professional with flexible course hours – so it was a great fit for us!

So here we are – the girls are at school and the parents are improving their English at the same time while for exchanging our own house in France with a Canadian family, we’ve received accommodation in Vancouver – just as we have hoped for!


Thank you Virginie & Jacques for sharing your story with us!