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The French American Exchange Program

A program created in 1978!

La Ligue de l'enseignement had been created in 1866 by Jean MACÉ who was a teacher, a journalist and a politician. His goal was to encourage people to help each one in order to reduce social differences.
Over the past century, La Ligue has become the partner of The French Ministry of Education organizing “transplanted classes” in France and in European countries. Nowadays, La Ligue offers educational, cultural and linguistic programs for teenagers and adults but also sports and leisure activities.
La Ligue de l’enseignement is a secular non-profit organization which works to give equal chances to anyone to become a better citizen.
La Ligue gathers about 30 000 non-profit organizations (through 103 departmental federations) located in 24 000 towns in France.
For more information about La Ligue de l’enseignement, visit our website (in French only) :

The French American Exchange program (EFA) was born out of the « transplanted classes », concept sponsored by the French Ministry of Education. The “transfer” of an entire 5th grade class to another region of France took place as part of experimentation in 1953.
In 1978, two classes close to Paris were invited to travel to the United States (Jackson-MI) for three weeks. The first program was born! French children were accompanied by their teachers and they continued to pursue their studies in the American host school during all their stay. French children were hosted by American host families. Then, the transplanted class evolved into a reciprocal exchange experience known as “Back to Back program”.
The first American school participating is still involved in our program today.
La Ligue De L’Enseignement works with private and public schools in France and in the USA. The historic heart of the program is located in the Midwest due to some historic facts :  centuries ago, many French people came to live in these states and they gave French names to towns and cities. They also established schools and churches where the French language was spoken until Minnesota State decided that English language would be the only language spoken at school. France left North America in 1763. When the program began in 1978, a “relay office” was created and it was located in Chicago-IL.
La Ligue De L’Enseignement leads the French American Exchange Program from 2001 through its office situated in Lyon city (East of France).
Today, the program is opened to students from 5th to 12th grades and others American schools from “new” States (Montana, Idaho, California, Arizona…) who joined our program.

  > Click here to read past newspapers articles about our program! 


is the executive director of the program.
He began to work for it in 1995 when he was 25. Salvador lived in the USA (Texas State) for 2 years.
He knows the program quiet well and travelled to the USA several times to meet teachers and visit schools.

Marjolaine is leading the administrative part of the program and she is the link between France and the USA. She is here to help you to secure things and to make your project a reality. She began to work for the EFA program in 2010 when she was 27. She will be your main contact during this adventure. She twice travelled to the USA (NJ-NY and MI) with French groups to share this wonderful experience with students and teachers.

A teacher (or another adult : principal, retired teacher…) wishing to participate in the EFA program forms a group of students from the same school (or from the same community).
Some American schools do not teach French but they can join our program if their teachers and students are motivated to live the adventure.
Preparation, organization, contents, monitoring are the same on each side of the Atlantic Ocean. The program is a long work between teachers, students, parents and La Ligue de L’enseignement (EFA office in Lyon). The program requires the active involvement of all the actors. It is the guarantee of success of our program.
On American side, all aspects of the program are led by teachers (and/or principals) and EFA office in Lyon. Through the program, our mission is to promote education to create awareness, excitement, human links and opportunities for schools and communities.
  WHO IS CONCERNED BY THE PROGRAM ?   (school groups)  
> Each group must be composed by a minimum of 10 students
> Each group is supervised by a teacher. For a travelling group, the ratio is 1 adult for 10 children.
> The minimum age for travelling adults is 21. American adults travelling to France must speak French. If they are not bilingual, they must have a minimum of knowledge of French to be able to interact with French families, teachers and children.


 Back to Back (BB) 
students host and travel. It is the most complete and interesting program.
 Travel Only (TO)   
students travel but they do not host.
 Host Only (HO) 
students host but do not travel.
In a same group, the 3 programs can be possible depending on each child situation. 

THE PURPOSE OF THE PROGRAM : (school and family immersion)
> An exchange program is not a touristic travel even if teachers and host families organize field trips and activities.
> Children integrate the program to speak French and to improve their skills in a foreign language. School and family immersions allow them to live the daily life of a family and learn more about French culture.

> The destination is never known when a group involves. Groups do not choose their precise destination.
> The precise destination depends on the best possible match. Many criterias must be considered to match groups : ages, school planning, grade level, dates of travel, dates of host, workforce…
> Dates of travel, destinations and matches are fixed par EFA office between mid-october and december for groups involving before end of September.
> In the main cases, French children travel to the USA in winter (Feb/March) or spring (April/May) and American children travel to France after their last day of school so generally end of May or in June in a case of BB program. Few French groups can travel to the USA in October.

> American and French host families are volunteers (no financial compensation) to host a foreign student.
> Host families support exchange student by providing a comfortable home, a bedroom, all meals and transportation to/from school.
> Host families help their guests to discover their family and their country. They have to provide a safe and secure environment to their new family member.
> On week-ends : students stay with their host families. They are free to organize activities and visits (sports events, cinema, visits to family, beach activities, touristic sites…) for their guest.
> We do prefer to have one child per host family to guarantee complete immersion.
> Each child has a correspondent who has about the same age (+ or – 1 to 2 years). The correspondent can have the same gender or a different one.
> French and American children have to complete an “information file” that will be used by EFA staff members and teachers so that French and American children match well. This information file will provide us information about students (age, interests, hobbies, personality, allergies, letter of introduction…).
> American and French families have to start an email correspondence about 1 or 2 months before the French group arrives in the USA. Correspondence is a useful way to introduce the family and to know more about the student who will be hosted.
> The travel to France lasts 2 weeks. Groups can travel from February to end of June.
> American children cannot travel to France when French students are on vacation as we have to secure school immersion during the stay.
> There is no exchange program on summer as French and American schools are closed.


 What benefits for children ? 
> It brings the world into their school and their home.
> Children become diplomats of America and Americans.
> They learn more about French culture and French language
> They start a friendship with a new friend from France
> They live an unforgettable human adventure!

   What benefits for teachers ?   
> A safe and structured way to organize a project with France
> It brings an opportunity to their students to practice French language with native speakers
> Travelling to France (if BB program) allows them to see what is the daily life of a French teacher at school
> It creates an educational and linguistic project on a school year.
> They live a more personal experience with their students and create stronger links with them
> They provide to French language a better visibility and promotion in their school
   What benefits for parents ? 
> It offers an educational way for their children to experience French culture
> Security : their children travel with teachers (or other adults) from their school or approved by their school
> They create links with French parents by corresponding
> Parents can host a French guest at home if their child cannot travel to France
> It gives the opportunity to their child to improve his/her French level
> It brings their child the opportunity to meet and make French friends
> They live an unforgettable human adventure with their child

*Included in the price : logistics in France and in the USA, full board, accommodation in host families, school inmmersion, return flight on a regular airline (economic class / direct flights or flights with 1 or 2 stops / each passenger can travel with 1 hand baggage + 1 checked baggage ( maximum 50lb)), airport transfers in France and insurance coverage in case of medical problem in France.
*Not included in the price : baggage insurance, passport and/or VISA fees, pocket money, personal expenses in France, airport transfers in the USA, optional cancellation guarantee, extra luggage and extra pounds, reimbursement in case of “no-show”, possible PCR and/or antigen tests and fees for sanitary/vaccination pass in France if needed.
Contact us to get the price*

 Contact EFA office in Lyon  
To get more information about the program and/or to join us in this adventure, do not hesitate to contact us.
Our office is opened from Monday to Friday :

 Faster and easier way to contact
Marjolaine : 

La Ligue de l’enseignement
87 Avenue du Point du Jour

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