Hello! I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but @lynne_freudigmann 's post about house sitting finally made me decide to write this.
I’m 16 years old, live in Finland and I’m interested in staying in Wales for a while (about a month or so, maybe two weeks minimum). Having decided to study Welsh literature this autumn I thought it would be even more important for me to get really familiar with the culture.
Is anyone living in Wales willing to take me for about a month in the summer? Or do you know anyone who might be or anywhere I could ask?
I’d happily help in any way I can with possible children and/or pets. I can clean around the house, cook pretty well (I think it’s my Italian genes ) and help children with some school subjects I’m very enthusiastic about (math and sciences - I actually have some experience teaching these). I can do the shopping and walk dogs, work on a farm (as long as you’re willing to teach me, I’ve never properly worked on a farm before), do my best to try to teach any languages I know, help with DIY or computers (obviously I’m not an expert but I do have experience with both)… If you can come up with anything else for me just tell me and I’ll see if I can do it.
I’d be more than happy to do all of the above in exchange for food and shelter I don’t need a room - a mattress in a corner is fine - but it would be really nice if you spoke only, mostly or at least some Welsh with me (you don’t have to be a native speaker). I would spend my free time reading Welsh language books, reading and writing essays, talking to you if it’s fine and walking outside.
The earliest I can come is the beginning of June, but after the 25th would work better for me. The latest I can leave is the tenth of August, as that’s when school starts in Finland.
I should also mention that I’ve seen WWOOF and other sites like thar but they can’t accept people who are under 18 years old
EDIT: There was some discussion about whether this would be okay or not (reason for all the edits and unlistings and things). My mother is totally involved in this. It was her idea to post this here and we have talked about it thoroughly, considering all the possible dangers. We will be talking every step of the way. Here is a note from her, in her own words:
“we have talked about this with Milla [my name] and I am okay with this. I will be involved all the time”
I wrote this post as a sort of test, to see if it would even be possible. I don’t mean to just go live with whoever comments first I promise I am careful and I will discuss everything with my mother!
I guess this does sound unusual considering your age, so I can see why people seem reluctant about starting off. However having talked to you a couple of times on Skype, and knowing you a little from your forum contributions, it somehow seems less unlikely, and the chances are that it will work out!
If it does, you’d be welcome to come and spend some time with us. (Maybe not a month, but as part of a trip.) I’d enjoy speaking Welsh with you, and it would fit in well with the stealth campaign to get the kids to speak more - they do so intermittently, but I’m sure they’d ‘play’.
We live 30 mins on the train from Cardiff Central, in an area where Welsh in the wild is very well hidden. But with the luxury of time, you would be able to uncover quite a lot.
I think Netmouse is right that the other side of the coin here is that people may be a little nervous about offering - but that’s okay too…
As I’ve said already, we don’t yet know how things are going to shape up with the chalet - if it’s free, you would of course be welcome, but at the moment it’s looking as though my mother will be with us by then.
We’ll ask around, though, and see if anyone we know well would be able to offer…
A couple of years ago we hosted a student from Italy for a month then a student from France for six months, both really positive experiences and still spoken about by our children.
We didn’t know anything about the Italian student as it was arranged by a local school and we were all allocated students at the last minute, didn’t even know which part of Italy they were coming from. We’d planned a whole load of cultural experiences, art galleries, stately homes, city experiences etc, all these plans went out the window when we met her and she told us she lived in the centre of Rome overlooking the Vatican, went to a school close to the Borghese Gallery and so on and so on! She was, however, totally enthralled by the Welsh countryside, couldn’t get over the greenness of it all (or how cold it was in june - I’ve never had to heat the house before or since in the summer!) She sill mentions now how happy she was in the mountains of Wales. (and at 17 she had a multilingual fluency in 4 European languages which shamed me to start learning again!)
I know people may think i’m being a killjoy, but please for everyone involved think about the requirements of UK border control.
A 16 year old travelling alone is likely to be asked where she is staying and how she knows the people she is staying with.
You can find documentation online.
I know this may sound overkill but imagine the scenario and how it may look.
When exchange visits are arranged certain checks are done. If novem was attending a course even at age 16 certain checks are a legal requirement if the course involves adults, eg she cannot share a room with an adult on a course.
Please, i am not trying to be awkward. I cannot fault novem’s desire to learn.
However as someone who works with young adults I know how this could look if you are not careful.
I hope everything works out but make sure you are fully aware of the requirements.