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How to prepare your child for a language trip with EF -7 tips

How to prepare your child for a language trip with EF -7 tips

This article is intended as information to parents who are sending their child on group travel with EF. Please get in touch with your local EF office if you have any questions.

So, you’ve decided to give your child the gift of language travel, congratulations! He/she can now look forward to learning a new language, immersing themselves in a new culture, becoming more independent and making life-long friends from all over the world.

But as a parent, your job is far from over. How can you make sure that your child is best prepared for the adventure ahead? We have answered some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from parents to help you make sure your child will get the most out of their trip.

1. Do your own research so that you’re just as prepared as your child

There are plenty of things that you as a parent should know about your child’s trip, so make sure you make the most of the resources available to you. One of the best ways to learn everything about what your child will experience through the summer is attending a pre-departure meeting. These are designed to give you as much useful information as possible and to give you the opportunity to ask questions.

You can also find all the information you need on our online portal, and you can also always call and speak to your local EF office.

2. Speak to your child about money and budgeting

There is no set ‘right amount’ when it comes to giving your child pocket money for their trip, it all depends on how much shopping you and your child plan for. With many language trips, almost everything is included in the price: food, accommodation, lessons, meals, flights, transportation and activities. So, a huge amount of spending money shouldn’t be necessary.

But, this does offer a great opportunity to speak to your child about budgeting and managing their spending. Perhaps sit down and agree on an estimated budget for the whole trip, and break it down into how much should be spent on shopping and how much could be spent per day or per week, to make sure they don’t spend it all at once. It’s also a good idea to remind them to put aside a set amount of money in case of emergencies.

Some destinations are offered on a half-board basis, and in these locations, this will affect the amount of spending money your child might need. Many activities are also included, but there are often additional ones which are not. In this case, we encourage you to pre-book trips and excursions that your child is interested in before they arrive, to ensure they are signed up for the experience and to save them having to spend more money when they arrive. Without considering extra activities, we recommend an average budget of 150 EUR per week in Europe, 150 USD per week in the US and 250 AUD in Australia.

3. Feel confident that your child is safe during their trip

For us, the safety of our students is our number one priority. An EF Leader will meet your child at the airport and travel with the group to the destination. Once they’ve arrived in town, our team is always available and ready to take care of all the students, including our EF Teachers, EF Activity Leaders and Accommodation Managers.

We have also created a list of guidelines called the EF Rules which we ask you and your child to read thoroughly and sign before traveling with us. We recommend that you sit down and review the rules with your child so that you can make sure that they fully understand them and will follow them while on their trip.

4. The first three days are the hardest, so make sure you and your child are prepared

After what can be a long period of traveling, your child will arrive in a brand new location and it can be overwhelming when they find themselves in a new country with lots of new people. Sometimes students can take a little while to adjust – especially if a lot of the communication around them is happening in their non-native language!

If they take a while to settle in, perhaps remind your child that speaking to a course leader or any of the other staff in the destination can help. They are always on hand to help ensure your child has a great experience and have the skills to help when homesickness strikes.

It’s natural to want to keep in touch with your child on a regular basis, especially at the beginning of their trip. It’s a good idea to agree before they set off on how and how often you’d like to stay in touch. Don’t forget that students have fully-packed schedules of lessons and activities all day. Your child will be kept busy, so sometimes a quick few texts are better than trying to plan a long phone call. We recommend trying not to call them every day, however, because this can make it harder for your child to adapt to the new environment and can sometimes make them homesick.

5. Help your child pack for their trip

First of all, remember that your child will have to carry their own luggage and only one item of luggage is included in their ticket, so don’t make their suitcase too heavy or large – it’s very easy to overpack when helping your child prepare. Each airline has its own luggage rules and maximum weight, varying between 20-23kg. Check your airline to see what your maximum limit is and weigh the suitcase before you leave to make sure it’s within these limits.

It’s always good to leave some space in the suitcase for souvenirs, too, as your child is likely to want to bring back memories of their trip.

That said, here is our recommended packing list:

For checked-in luggage:

  • A few pieces of warm clothing (even in warm countries, it can get cold at night)

  • Jeans and long trousers

  • A few sweaters, t-shirts and tops

  • Shorts, skirts

  • Clothes for EF disco

  • Underwear, socks

  • Umbrella – you never know when it might rain!

  • Shoes, including flip flops and trainers

  • Swimwear, beach towels, sunglasses

  • Toiletries and sun cream (we highly recommend that you bring a minimum SPF factor 30+ for Australia, Malta, Malaga and St. Raphaël)

  • If your child is going to stay with a local host family, it’s also nice to bring a small welcome gift!

For hand luggage:

  • Charger and power adapter (especially in the US and UK)

  • Travel documents, including passport and visa (if necessary). EF Leaders have the flight tickets so you don’t need to worry about that

  • Any medicines and prescriptions that your child needs

  • Some cash in the local currency, a credit card, a travel insurance card and a European Health Insurance card (if available)

  • Camera, mobile phone and a copy of the EF student handbook

6. Handle allergies and special dietary requirements in advance

Let your local EF office know as early as you can about your child’s medical conditions or dietary restrictions and we’ll make the necessary arrangements. Please don’t wait until the day before departure, as we will need to let the course leader and staff in the destination know. In some cases, you might have to pay extra for a diet supplement fee.

7. Use our online platforms before your child departs

Our online portal for students has a lot of advantages. By logging in to our online platform, your child can see who is on their course and connect with them before they arrive. They can even take an online placement test, which we use to ensure we place the students at the correct language level.

As a parent, you can also access all the information you need to prepare yourself and your child for their trip. It’s a great place to read all about your child’s trip destination and to explore our FAQs. All forms can be found here, as can any extras (like excursions) you’d like to book for your child.

If you need any more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local office. Our friendly and experienced staff are always ready to answer your questions and guide you through all the details.

Have any further questions?Get in touch
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