The European Schools' Parents' Associations run an informal student exchange network called Intercambio, to facilitate student exchanges between schools. Not all schools are willing or able to accommodate exchange students. Most of them, however, have so far managed to take on exchange students from other European schools. But this only works if families are willing to take on exchange students. Even if your child is not in the same grade or section, you will help a lot by hosting a student!

You can find details of students looking for host families under the menu item on the left - accessible to logged-in members only.

If your child(ren) would like to participate in the school exchange please read the following information carefully.

Students eligible to participate in an exchange:

Frankfurt is in principle open to any requests from other schools as long as there are no technical difficulties such as timetable restraints.

ESF students are allowed to be away on an exchange during specific times determined by the school:

  • S4 students are allowed to go on an exchange for four weeks (the exact dates of the exchange are agreed upon by the host school and the ESF)
  • S5 students can only go on exchange during the entire first term, from September to December until the S5 exams (usually in December).
  • For the four weeks exchange, S4 students are advised to contact the director of the school three months before the starting date of the exchange
  • For the entire first semester exchange, S4 students who will be moving to S5 are advised to contact the Secondary director by end of April at the latest; requests received thereafter will be processed on a best effort basis.

How to request an exchange:

The permission to participate in the student exchange program depends to a great extent on a) the student's academic performance, and b) the availability of the student’s subject choices in the host school.

S4 students whose request has been authorised will be allowed to go away at different times so as not to disrupt their class composition/dynamics. S5 students whose request has been authorised will be away for the first semester.

First, parents need to formally request the exchange (e.g. via e-mail) to both:

  • the ESF Secondary director Ms Kyriaki Chatzivassiliadou - kyriaki.chatzivassiliadou(at)eursc.eu,
  • Ms Vasiliki Tsifa pedagogical advisor for S5 - vasiliki.tsifa(at)eursc.eu and
  • Ms Sabina Milanese, pedagogical advisor for S3 and S4 - sabina.milanese(at)eursc.eu

Second, the Secondary director, in collaboration with the pedagogical advisor:

  • will look up the student's subject combination and contact the host school to see if the exchange is possible. This process can take some time so should you have any questions about how the application is proceeding, you may contact the pedagogical advisor directly.

Third, once the host school has decided whether it is possible to host the new student or not:

  • The ESF pedagogical advisor will inform parents and students and if positive, parents will begin the search for a host family (see below).

Finding a Host Family:

Parents, once you have received confirmation about the host school, you need to start organising the exchange early and get your child(ren) to prepare a one-page introduction letter, ideally in the host country language, with a photo. Don’t forget to include contact information, such as student e-mail, parents full contact details.

  • For “outgoing” students looking for host family abroad, the ESF Parents' Association, if requested to do so, will distribute this information to the local Parents’ Association who will pass it on to their parent members. For more information on student exchange’s rules and procedures of other European Schools, please visit the website of the Parent Association’s school your child(ren) will be visiting. The exchange coordinators’ contact details are usually listed on the latter; in addition you are strongly encouraged to visit the host European school website for more specific information.
  • For “incoming” students seeking a host family in Frankfurt, the ESF Parents' Association will publish on its website the students’ details and their motivation letter, if formally authorised by the students’ parents. 
    The Parents Associations of both schools coordinate the requests, using the regular channels of communication through the respective Parents Association and the relevant class representatives. The representatives are also available to answer any concerns or queries regarding families, travel and procedures if needed. 

General information about the role of the host Family

The host family looks after the student during the exchange. The language spoken at home is the L2 or L3 of the visiting pupil so that the exchange pupils can be encouraged to practice in a family environment. The host family is the primary care parent during the exchange with regards to the pupil’s well-being.  They are responsible for having a day-to-day dialogue with the student and liaise with the school, e.g.  giving permission to leave school during school hours using the specific ESF permission form to this effect. The host parent informs the school via the school online contact form if the pupil is absent due to illness.

The host family may intervene, if necessary, with the teachers via e-mail communication or in person with the pedagogical advisor should any difficulty arise.  For any other query in relation to his/her well-being at school, with homework or tests, or any other matter related to the exchange then the host parent may contact the student’s class teacher. In case of difficulties the school is responsible for notifying the host parent in writing.  In the case of serious difficulties the pupil’s parents and original school will also be contacted.

Generally speaking, the host family makes the student feel welcome, ensures that he/she settles in, practices the family’s home language or L2 and L3 if this is not the same and above all enjoys the experience.

Financial Terms and Conditions

Families are required to pay their own travel expenses (flights, train tickets etc.) to and from the host school.

In principle and in the spirit of an exchange, families host a pupil free of charge, on the understanding that the exchange family will host in return, if possible.

N.B. Student seeking an exchange for ES Culham should note that all ‘visiting pupils’ on ‘home stays’ have to pay a weekly fee of between 140-160 pounds, as set by the school. However, parents can also choose to arrange a private home stay.

Information pack

The School Insurance policy of the host school should normally cover the exchange pupil.  However, parents are invited to check their own insurance cover for the time when their child is abroad and make necessary arrangement for accident, emergency repatriation etc., if necessary.

The following information pack was gathered to facilitate your tasks; in case of about finding a host family for your child in Frankfurt, or in different city where your child will be visiting another European School please contact the student exchange coordinator Ms Catherine Brodie, via esfexchange@esfparents.org. You can also find more practical information via the following links:

  1. European School Frankfurt - Exchange Program Vademecum
    1. Information pack for exchange students and parents
    2. The role of ESF student exchange coordinator
  2. ESF Guidelines on organizing student exchanges in the European schools
    1. Registration form (English/German)
    2. European School Frankfurt internal rules of the secondary school