When my eldest, at 11, said he would like to go abroad for an international camp for four weeks, I thought that was a good idea. I hoped contact with peers from other cultures would broaden his horizons, bringing him both social and language proficiency.
Then when he came back I was surprised how very much he had evolved in both ways. He suddenly had friends all over the world, some of whom he still has contact with to this day, but he had also developed an enormous understanding of foreign languages. At CISV Camps, children learn how cohabitation works, even if not all are the same, and how to deal with being different.
This camp had another outcome: Two months later, the then almost twelve-year-old flew alone to Sweden and fulfilled his only birthday wish: To be able to visit his Swedish friends for a few days. These experiences are for him to this day “highlights” of his childhood and youth.
Meanwhile, all my children are CISV kids, we’ve had a lot of experiences, including as a host family and interchange family. And I still find it an important contribution to their social and emotional upbringing to enable my children to have CISV experiences.