Tell us about your host family and how you have built a relationship with them?
I have been placed with a host family who live near a lake outside of Quebec City. The parents, Pauline and Jacques are French-Canadians and they have two children who have now grown up and live nearby. They have one grandchild and one more due very soon.
Pauline and Jacques have hosted previously and they have been very kind and welcoming. We Skyped them as soon as we received the placement so we could immediately see who they were and the home that I would live in. We have communicated at intervals by email, Skype and Facebook since then and the other week I contacted them to wish Pauline a very happy birthday. It is great that we have got to know them before I depart and my parents have also been able to see where I will be and feel confident about the people I will be living with.
How long have you been learning French and how have you been preparing for your exchange and your language skills?
I have been lucky enough to be learning French all of my life. My Mum spoke French to me when I was a baby so it has come naturally to me but I am not fluent in the language. I have been practising my French lots over the past few months. Learning new phrases and speaking with my Mum and also with my cousin who likes to help me when he visits. I know that it will be challenging to speak only French after I arrive in Canada but I am keen to become fluent as soon as I can.
How have your friends and family and school been about you going away for a year?
Everyone at home has been very supportive of my wish to go on exchange. Some people did not know what an exchange was so I have had to explain it, but after that they have been very happy for me. Everyone says I am very lucky to have an experience like this at my age.
My school have been great too. I have just finished Year 11 so I will defer the start of Year 12 until 2017 when I return. I have no requirements from my British school regarding work, but I will have to interview for a place at my local Sixth Form College while I am in Canada, but this will be done easily over Skype.