As my 11-year-old said he would like to go abroad for four weeks to an international camp, I thought that was a good idea. I hoped that contact with peers from other cultures would broaden their horizons and bring them both social and language skills.
When he came back, I was surprised how much he had developed in both respects. He suddenly had friends all over the world, some of whom he still has contact with today, but also developed a tremendous understanding of foreign languages. The camp was definitely not an “English grammar learning camp”, it took away any fear of being alien and gave it a lot of openness. At CISV Camps, children learn about how living together works, even if not all are the same. How to deal with being different.
This camp had another epilogue: two months later, the then-almost twelve-year-old flew to Sweden alone and fulfilled his only birthday wish: to visit his Swedish friends for a few days. These experiences are for him to this day “highlights” of his childhood and youth.
In the meantime, all my children are CISV children, we have a lot of experiences, also as homestay and interchange family. And I still think it’s an important part of their social and emotional education to enable my children to experience CISV.