How do I become an exchange student?
I have wanted to become an exchange student for a very long time and I need to know how to go about doing it. I want to experience and taste life instead of living everyday the same.
First of all, how do I convince my parents?This is the most important task.
Who do I contact?
How much is the cost?
Do I have to know the language of the place where I am going?
If you guys have any tips or suggestions please tell me!:)
- 10 years agoFavorite Answer
When I was in high school, a couple that went to my church acted as host parents twice for an exchange student from another country. The program was International Christian Youth Exchange (ICYE). They hosted a student from Finland one year and a student from Switzerland another year. Another couple at my church also hosted an exchange student from Germany. Another high school student at my church participated in the program and she spent a year in Germany.
I wanted to do this too. So I applied. All you need to do is contact an organization that will sponsor exchange students. You fill out a lengthy application and submit it. You wait. If you get accepted, you get to be an exchange student. I know the Rotary Club will sponsor exchange students and I'm sure there are other organizations too. Your grades have to be good. The organization I used considered my grades along with other factors. I had a little over a 3.0 grade average. Some other organizations place more emphasis on high grade point averages.
I lived abroad with a family in Austria and learned a lot. It was a good experience. Make sure you chose a reputable organization so you are safe. Some programs are shorter and you go for maybe a few months. The program I used sponsored me, so it didn't cost me anything. You will need some money though to pay for extras like things you want to buy yourself while you are away from home. Your host family is responsible for taking care of you as far as providing room and board.
You don't have to know the language, but if I had to do it all over again, I would ask for an English-speaking country. I did learn German during my year, but I was exhausted at the end of the day, especially at first, because I had to work really hard at understanding everybody all day long. Most people in Europe know how to communicate in English, but they do not talk to each other in their everyday life in English.
If you've studied another language, being an exchange student is an excellent way to become much more proficient in that language. (That could be some ammunition to convince your parents.)
Your parents will most likely be nervous about letting you go live with strangers for a year, but if you apply through a reputable organization and get accepted, you have proven to them you are "exchange student material" and I think you might have a better chance. Just go ahead and do it, but don't keep it a secret. If you get accepted, it doesn't mean you must go - you still have the choice whether you want to do it or your parents can still forbid you from doing it. They probably won't stop you from applying just to see if you get accepted. Then take it from there and see what happens.
Another way to change your everyday life is to get a job. My parents let me have a part-time job while I was in high school. I didn't have my own car, so they drove me there and picked me up when it was time to go home. I worked at a fast-food restaurant. I got to spend time with a group of people I normally would have never met. Most of us who worked there were high school students and we had fun. Having a job gave me a sense of freedom too and I earned and saved enough money to buy my own car. I hardly spent any of the money I earned and religiously put my money in a savings account every week. This showed my parents that I was responsible. This, along with the good exchange student experiences my parents witnessed the families at my church have, probably helped them to be more at ease about letting me go.
If you do get accepted and your parents let you go, remember you will be kind of like an ambassador for your country. If you are from the United States, you have the opportunity and responsibility to show that all Americans are not as selfish and arrogant as most people in other countries believe we are. Being an exchange student is not just a way to escape your everyday life. A lot of responsibility comes with it.
- 10 years ago
There are a lot of different ways to convince your parents. Some parents just automatically say yes because they want their child to be "worldly educated" while others are a little harder. The best way to get them to say yes (or yes over a period of time) is to sit down with them a LONG time before the deadline of the program is. Most of the times, parents will automatically just spit out no, but you have to continue to push this. You have to show them that you are serious about this and that you want to do this as a maturing thing rather than just a "long term vacation" as some foreign exchange students do. Then you have to find compromises. Maybe if you clean the house and do your chores (and maybe extra) to show that you are mature enough to go, they'll reconsider. Etc. Work WITH your parents to get them to say yes.
There are many different programs to go with. You can simply google "Foreign Exchange Programs" and hundreds of programs can come up. You have to search through these programs and decide which of them is the best for you as a student and as a person. Every program has different aspects that appeal to different people.
These next two questions are going to depend on the program that you choose to go with. Some of the programs seem cheaper but that might be because they don't include airfare, or they don't include travel insurance or something. As for language experience, some programs require one year and some don't require any at all. This can also vary by country within the program as well.
Foreign exchange programs are a blast and you'll learn so much about yourself, and while there are going to be days where you just want to give up and go home, you'll end up getting so much more out of it than you could have through a class or the internet.