Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceStudying Abroad · 1 decade ago

How do I become a foreign exchange student?

I've been thinking long and hard about becoming an exchange student and I was wondering how I would go about becoming one. If you can anwser my question I would be very greatful.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    I think it's great that you are thinking about this. Being an exchange student is an experience unlike any other! You don't mention if you are a high school or university student. If you are a university student, I'm afraid I can't offer much help. Your university International Center might be able to help (if you don't find help here on Yahoo Answers).

    If you are high school, I can share some information. I am a 5-time host mom and volunteer with Youth For Understanding (YFU). Please forgive my bias towards YFU - when I have asked other exchange students why they chose YFU, they said they did some research and YFU (basically) gave them more bang for their buck. I'll say more about YFU later.

    Obviously you have completed the first step to becoming an exchange student - giving it some good thought. Hopefully you have spoken with your parents and teachers as well. A universal (as far as I know) requirement for being an exchange student is that you are between the ages of 15 and 18.5 at the time of the exchange. YFU (and possibly other organizations) offers a "gap" or 13th-year program for newly-graduated students in addition to the standard programs.

    I would advise the next step to be researching and choosing an organization with which to travel. My biggest piece of advice is to choose an organization listed with the Council for Standards on International Exchange Travel (csiet.org). They routinely audit programs to help insure quality. Here is where my bias will show: I highly recommend YFU. As with many other programs, YFU screens the host families for safety and appropriateness for each student (for example, if you believe it is morally wrong to kill animals for the purpose of eating them, they will do their best to not place you with a cattle rancher). Each student will have a local volunteer and a national office whose purpose it is to assist the student and family, whether there are difficulties with language, adaptation, or money. (Speaking of money, 95% of the fees collected by YFU go for direct program costs (airline ticket, etc.) and only 5% is for overhead.) I've listed some sources below. Check them out. The website (yfu-usa.org) has a wealth of information on it, including stories from previous exchange students and an opportunity to contact their parents.

    Next I would suggest choosing the country to which you wish to travel. Again, the website has a wealth of information. You can find out which countries require that you know their language (there are a half-dozen students here in Cheyenne who have gone on summer programs to Japan without knowing a single word of Japanese)(http://yfuusa.org/american-students/countries.php?... which countries have "special programs" (for example, you can go to Hungary to study music for a year), and (the first thing your parents will probably ask) the cost of the programs.

    You will need to fill out an application. This can be done online, over the phone, or by fax/email. Please be honest on the application - for example, if you are allergic to cats, say so. After this, you will have an in-person interview. I have been the interviewer for this - it's not an interrogation; we just want to make sure we can find a good host family for you.

    You can also apply for scholarships. With YFU, in a typical year 500 students go overseas for year, semester, or summer programs. 300 will have either a partial or full scholarship. Some of the scholarships heavily consider financial need; some heavily consider academics. (As a note, if your family hosts an exchange student before you leave, you will get a "price break".)

    All students with YFU must have a 2.0 (on 4.0 scale) for summer programs and 3.0 for semester and year programs. The primary reason for this is so that struggling students won't lose precious time at school. Also, after the student goes overseas, they will be attending school and must maintain decent grades (I apologize, I do not know the specifics).

    Check out the website, do a little research, and talk to your teachers.

    I wish you luck no matter what you choose!

  • 1 decade ago

    there are a lot of programs out there. I would do a web search and also see what your guidance counselor can tell you about some local programs. I think the best program is the Rotary Exchange, but I wasn't an RE student, just knew a bunch of them. I went through EF foundation, but don't especially recommend them if you have other options.

    some programs will require that you know the native language (france especially does) but others are quite willing to let you learn the language through immersion into the culture. definitely you have to have good grades, and you may want to either graduate early, or take a year off to do this so as to not 'miss' any part of a normal school career or the opportunity to hunt for the best scholarships. I added a year to my schooling between my junior and senior years and ended up with a full ride that would have been impossible to achieve had i tried to 'graduate' from a foreign school.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You need to take a year or two in the language of the country you wish to exchange with. Then ask your teacher for instructions. Also another easy way is have your family host a student from the country you wish to visit and as long as they enjoy their stay their family usually invites you to exchange to their family after you've taken some courses and as long as you do veryyy well in school

  • 1 decade ago

    alot depends on where you are coming from and going to, for scholarships etc, or just private exchanges, I'm planning to swap with someone from usa, who wants to go to england, the exchangy laws allow this, but hypathetically someone from russia, going to china, may be disallowed because of a strange law

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