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Study Abroad: High School Student Exchanges

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High school is a tough time for most students with physical, emotional and academic changes in every year. Allowing your student to consider an exchange program that takes them away from home for months may seem like a contentious idea, but for most students it is a wonderful growth opportunity. Student exchanges are international programs which enable students to travel to a foreign country to be hosted by a family there. Stays are traditionally 3, 5 or 10 months long and your student will attend school while they are there to avoid losing out on academic development.

Gaining Independence
Traveling abroad to stay with another family is a safe and exciting way to learn independence. Having to navigate airports and trains and getting to know a new school and neighborhood without the guiding support of your family is made easier by having a host family who is there to help at every turn.

New experiences
Your student is introduced to the exciting world of international travel and a different culture. Immersion is also the very best way to learn a new language and you will be amazed at how much your student picks up during their student exchange stay.

Students and their parents can choose the country to which they travel, the length of their stay, the school they will attend while they are there and whether they go to a private or public school. If you like, you can host a student from another country first so that you can get to know them better and then send your student to stay with their family later in the academic year. This will mean that your student already has a fast friend when they arrive in their new host country.

Application process
Depending on the exchange company you select, applications can run from four to ten months as students and host families are interviewed to find a good match. Exchange programs will take care of all the arrangements and costs will include travel fees and insurance costs.

Student exchanges go beyond personal growth to give your student a more well-rounded education. They are able to experience different languages, cultures, cuisines and environments while learning independence. Staying with their host family will give them an opportunity to experience a family life that is different from their own as well as political and cultural opinions which differ from those they are accustomed to.

Student exchange programs can really be an exciting way to broaden your student’s horizons and give them a whole new perspective. Ask you student’s teacher or councilor for information on student exchanges that your school participates in.

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