Questions for exchange students?

I'm considering taking part in a semester student exchange program in the USA. I'd love to hear from people who have been exchange students, particularly to USA.

What did you find most difficult/challenging?

How did you overcome this?

How do you feel you benefited from being an exchange student?

Share any advice/stories/opinions please! :D

Update:

I'm Australian, so the language barrier won't be an issue. English is my first language :)

3 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm sure others will speak up with personal experiences, but I wanted to share with you from the other perspective -- I've worked to find homes for exchange students in the U.S. (I was also an exchange student myself). It's a wonderful, life-changing experience! You will gain a sense of perspective on yourself, your country and the world.

    There are lots of potential challenges, including culture shock, homesickness, difficulty making friends and problems with your host family. The last two are more rare, but the first two happen to pretty much everyone. Culture shock and homesickness actually go together. The best thing for homesickness is actually NOT to communicate with home too much. Only call home once a week or every other week (they'll see your updates on Facebook, anyway, right? XD) and limit online chatting with friends from home. It will just make you miss them more, and you should be spending that time with your host family and American friends. When I was homesick, I made an extra effort to get out of my house and do something in my town -- go to the movies, go out with friends, join a sport class, etc.

    In the U.S. the best way to make friends is to join after school activities. The social life in the U.S. revolves around school activities, so students who don't join something definitely struggle. If you play a sport, join a sport team (tennis, soccer, track & field, basketball, dance team, etc.), if you're musical join band, chorus or orchestra and otherwise there should be a club for you -- drama club, chess club, literary club, etc.

    Becoming a part of your host family can sometimes be challenging, especially if you're struggling with the language, you're homesick or you're having issues with host siblings. You'll have a local coordinator who is there to help you through this. You can call/email them to talk, get their advice, or even help you have a talk with your host family if there's something you're having a problem with. It's also nice to talk to other exchange students, if there are others in your town/school.

    Being an exchange student definitely changed my life. It helped me get into university on a scholarship, and has impacted my career -- I worked with exchange students, and now I work in another job that is connected to international culture. For students coming to the U.S., they always say being an exchange student gave them new friends/family for life, and helped them get their English perfect so they can get better jobs at home.

    Source(s): was an exchange student, worked with exchange students blog on exchange: http://highschoolexchange.wordpress.com (this is a work-in-progress that will have everything you need to know!)
  • 10 years ago

    Hi!

    I believe there's a reason for everything that happens and looking for answers to my doubts I found this that has nothing to do with what I was looking for so I'll do my best to help you! although the response someone already gave you is very complete.

    Right now I'm doing my exchange year in the US! I live in Washington State. First of all let me say that if you're thinking about doing only a semester is a good option but I know many exchange students that liked it here so much that changed their minds and stayed for the whole year as I'm doing too. What can I say! It's been an amazing experience, if your family is welcoming and loving with you be sure you will have a great time, I think that maybe be the hardest part of this decision; that and being away from what you are used to.

    Support from the ones you love and the people you meet here is what will make you stronger, you will find some sides of you that you never realized and you'll believe in yourself like you never did by being alone. It is harder as you make it :)

    The benefits are multiple!! Your English gets incredibly better, depending on the classes you take, you can also gain experience on different subjects and find things that you have never tried and loved here. As one exchange student here I can tell you the friends you make will be for a lifetime, its a shame time flies when you are having so much fun!!

    Do it, its the best advice I can give, always be yourself! and never be afraid to ask when you didn't understood something, they are here for you!

    And always be strong, make every single experience, good or bad, a lesson for your life.

    Good luck!!!! <3

    Source(s): Doing exchange program currently.
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Well there is no payment to host an exchange student but to be an exchange student there of course is a fee. I would suggest AFS or Rotary both are good organizations. And you can host any where from 6months to 1 year and the process it a bit lengthy because you get screened and interviewed by a organization volunteer. Hope that helps

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