The Knight Family

TWO 10-year-olds are trading places – by sampling life in each other’s country.

French youngster Eric Larquemain has been living with the Knight family Bolton since last September.

Now it’s Adam Knight’s turn to spend an entire- six months in France with the French boys family.

The swap is part of the ALLEF scheme (Association for Learning Languages En Famille) which aims to teach children aged eight to 11 the culture and language of another country by placing them with a family there for six months.

Contact with their own families back home is limited to letters and phone calls.

Eric arrived to stay at Thomason -Fold, Edgworth, knowing only a few English words.

But yesterday he flew back to his home town of Amberieu-en-bugey – between Lyons and Geneva — so involved English culture that he was unable to converse naturally with his father in his own language at first.

Deborah Knight, Adam’s mum, said: “Eric has-been no trouble at all.: At the beginning, he found it hard, but now he understands almost everything and makes us laugh with his ‘Bolton’ English.”

“We tried to help him experience a, normal family life and he’s settled in so well that he’s found it difficult to adapt back to speaking French to his parents.” During his stay accompanied Adam to Edgworth Primary School, where he quickly established himself as a popular Year 5 member, played the violin in the school orchestra and taking Part in a swimming gala.

The head teacher at Edgeworth, – Ann Bennett, said “We have never done: this before, it’s a brilliant scheme for the right children.

“Eric has been an absolute delight o have and we would love to stay here, permanently.” Eric also joined Adam at fencing lessons, visited St James Church on Sundays, went on family holidays, to Northumberland and spent Christmas with the Knights

Eric said: “I was sad sometimes about not seeing my family but I’ve enjoyed being here. I have learnt a lot of English and made new friends. I will miss everyone when I go.”

Adam begins his six-month stint with Eric’s family next week with a half-term skiing trip to the French Alps. He will then join Eric’s school until his return home in August

Adam said: “It will be hard being away and I might get a bit homesick, but I’ll be busy learning new things all the time.” Eric’s father, Michel,. flew over to accompany his son home. He said: “There is a big welcome waiting for him at home.”

By Teri Jones – Bolton Evening News

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