Virtual Friendship Connection (VFC)
The Friendship Connection, Inc. exchange program
Option #1: Intent to host/travel in 2022 = This is for students who were looking forward to The Friendship Connection exchange program this school year, however, due to COVID-19 we are unable to offer our travel program at this time. We will match these students exactly the same way we would normally make the pairings (based on age, interests and hobbies) in order to inspire lasting friendships! These pairings will have over a year to correspond and build a friendship before the actual exchange would take place in the spring and summer of 2022.
Option #2: Virtual exchange ONLY = This is for students who simply want to meet a new friend from Germany and who have no intention of hosting their German partner or traveling to Germany in the near future. We will also find these students their best possible match based on age, interests and hobbies in order to inspire lasting friendship!(These students ARE allowed to change their minds the following school year and sign up to host and travel with their “virtual” German partner!)
The cost for the VFC will be $75 per student. This will cover our matching procedures as well as monthly check-ins with the students for an entire year. Once we put the students in contact with their partners at the end of February, Friendship Connection will send a monthly email to the participating students to encourage frequent correspondence as well as suggest a topic/project for that month and provide relevant vocabulary.
How to get involved:
If you are interested in being connected with a German friend this school year who is around your age and has many similar interests and hobbies, please click on the link “Forms” at the top of the page and there you will you find the “VFC application form.” Then please follow these steps:
1. Fill out the form online with as much detail as possible. The more detail you add, the better match we can find you! Forms will be accepted between now and January 15th, 2021.
2. Then print the form, attach a picture of yourself to the form and have a parent or guardian sign and date the form.
3. Scan the form and email it to: Krista.FC@gmail.com or take a clear picture of your form and text to Krista Winzer-Lee: 330-618-6127
4. Once you receive an email confirmation and invoice from VFC that your form has been processed, please pay the $75 participation fee online with a credit card or by mailing a check.
What comes next?
We will begin the pairing process in January then put you in contact with your German partner at the end of February, at which point you can begin communicating! You will have more than a year to correspond before the real exchange would take place in the spring and summer of 2022, if you opt to participate. Each month during the virtual exchange, VFC will email “check-ins” to participants to encourage frequent correspondence and suggest topics to discuss and projects to do together.
NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are unable to offer the travel program during the 2020-2021 school year. However, for future reference, below is the information for our travel program from last school year, which we hope to resume during the 2021-2022 school year.
Fill out either a “Host Only” or “Full” application form, which you can receive from your German teacher or print one off our website from our Forms.
Send in your application form as soon as possible! (Deadline Dec. 31st)
The Friendship Connection, Inc.
Krista Winzer-Lee, Coordinator
P.O. Box 1444, Hudson, OH 44236
The total cost for “Full” participants is $1,850. Please send in your first deposit of $650 along with your application form by December 31st. The balance of $1,200 will be due by February 25th, 2020.
Important: Participant’s full name and high school must appear in the lower left corner of the check!
“Full” participants and parents must read and sign the addendum to our application form, which is an integral part of the “Full” application form under the link “Forms” then click “Full Participant Addendum.”
We will pair you off with a student from Germany based on you age, gender, interests and hobbies.
Around mid-February you will receive your German partner’s application form with his/her picture, contact information, interests and hobbies. In turn, your German partner will receive your application form. At that time you can begin communicating before your partner’s arrival in the spring.
When your German partner visits you in the spring, he/she will attend your classes, and after several days, should be given a chance to substitute at least a few classes for ones of greater interest to him/her.
Although it is expected that the host families will make an effort to show their guest the local points of interest and do some limited sightseeing, the primary purpose of this program is to provide the participants with an opportunity to live with a family in the host country; consequently, the daily routine of the family need not be disrupted.
Our main goal is to find the most compatible German exchange student for each American; however, if two American participants request to be placed in the same school in Germany, we will try to honor that request, even though it limits our search for the best possible German partner for those Americans.
While in Germany, the American students will attend a few weeks of school but will take no tests, receive no grades, nor be required to do homework. Most of our participating German schools will begin their summer vacation during our four week visit. Some Americans will experience only one week of school, others will experience four, it all depends on when their host school begins their summer break.
Krista Winzer-Lee, Coordinator of the exchange program, along with other chaperoning teachers, will be in Germany overseeing the program and will be accessible to students and parents alike. In addition, each German school has an assigned English teacher, who serves as a “Big Brother/Sister” to the Americans during their stay.
$1,850 for all “Full” participants
This price includes airfare, injury/illness insurance, teacher supervision and all administrative costs. Room and board is provided by the German host family in exchange for similar accommodations when the German participant visits you in the spring. Students should plan to bring along spending money for incidentals, souvenirs, gifts, etc.
If the hosting parents feel that the presence of the German student in their home proves to be disruptive or undesirable, that student will be removed and “relocated” with a “back-up” host family in a different school district within 24-48 hours. If the exchange student breaks the law (stealing, alcohol, drugs, etc.), that student will be sent home at his/her parents’ expense! After the Germans return home, the American participants and their parents have an opportunity to request a new partner for the summer exchange, if there was a personality conflict or some other problem. Once in Germany, we either visit or call these participants within the first few days to make sure all are happy with their new partners.
The overwhelming majority of participants consider The Friendship Connection to be a most unique and rewarding experience. The feedback from host parents and participating teachers has also been very supportive of the program. (Please refer to our “Testimonials” page on this website.) We have found that college admissions officers are impressed with applicants who have participated in such a unique total-immersion program.