This summer we sent our son to Germany. He flew there as an unaccompanied minor two weeks before the rest of us join him.
We usually visit the German or Taiwanese grand parents once a year and we can only afford to stay 2 weeks because of our work. I notice that by the end of the second week, there seems to be some mechanism in the brain that get turned on and they would start understand a lot more and respond in the native language.
This is true in both Germany and Taiwan. But in Germany, it gets a bit trickier. First, most German speak English and they want to practice with us. Second, I don’t speak German and my kids don’t want me to be left out of the conversation.
This year, we decided to try something new. We sent our son two weeks early. Like all moms, I was a little nervous. We got him a direct flight with Lufthansa. Our Oma was equally nervous but excited at the same time. (She got to have the grand son for 2 weeks before we all showed up!)
I have to say this whole unaccompanied minor thing is very well organized. My son was never left out of sight of the crew, and needlessly to say, he got there safely.
This whole experiment turned out to be a wonderful experience for everyone. My son formed a special bond with the grand parents. It helps that he has friends from previous visit. And his “best friend in Germany” is the son of my husband’s best childhood friend who still lives in the same neighborhood. He had frequent “sleep over” and spend a lot of time with the friend. He made new friends with local German boys. He was in a full immersion environment.
This was an especially great experience for my son. He told him he definitely wants to do it again next summer. And this time, my daughter wanted to be sent there early too!