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Here are some great tips for becoming a successful exchange student. Obviously, you’ll hear advice from all sorts of people. These are just a few of many suggestions.
1. Express appreciation. Everyone loves to be appreciated. If the family takes you somewhere, say thank you to them and tell them how much you enjoyed it.
2. Get involved. You may be new and not know the language well, but the more that you involve yourself in life in this new place, the more success you’ll have.
3. As soon as you get to your host family, ask them about their rules and responsibilities. If their children wash the dishes each night, then you should be doing so as well. See yourself as part of the family.
4. Offer to cook a meal for the family once in a while.
5. Make your bed every morning and try not to use laundry time that they may need. Americans, in particular, often don’t realize how small laundry machines are in the rest of the world. If you hog the machine, you can really create a problem in some families.
There are many ways to support an exchange student or become an exchange student yourself. One of these is through the AFS programs. They have many programs including the following:
School programs for high school students: Depending on the host country, these programs will begin in July, August, September or January, February or March.
Short programs for high school students: Summer programs allow for a short glimpse at another country and a way to get out of your school chairs and into a new environment. These programs run from two weeks to three months and they focus on cultural immersion, language study and community service.
Community Service Programs for young adults over 18: These programs are great for recent high school graduates, students in their gap year and young adults who want to expand their horizons.
Programs for teachers and other professionals: These exchange programs for teachers offer short-term programs abroad where teachers live with host families and teach at local schools.
Choosing a destination to study abroad can be a daunting task. Foreign exchange programs exist in virtually every country, and the subjects offered span an exceedingly long list. Identifying the right place for you is the trick to a satisfying, successful experience as an exchange student.
Two important things to keep in mind when starting the process are:
- No single location will have everything you’re looking for
- Stay open-minded
When researching your options through your school or different study abroad organizations, identify the elements you consider crucial to your experience. Do you prefer a large metropolitan area, or would you prefer to live in a small town? Do you want to speak the native language fluently, or would you prefer to learn a new language on-the-go? Do you want to travel alone, or with friends of colleagues? What are the living costs in your preferred cities? Can you afford to live there throughout the course of the trip? Will you need to get your own furniture? How safe is the location?
No matter what you choose, be prepared for surprises. Some may be pleasant and some less so, but stay open minded and flexible and you can be sure to gain significantly from your time abroad.
Choosing to study abroad is not an easy decision, and there are many different aspects to consider. Exchange students come across numerous challenges, from things as simple as unusual school environments and classroom tables, to foreign languages, policies and social customs.
Nevertheless, there are numerous benefits and advantages to studying abroad. Exchange students often return from their trip with increased self-confidence, independence and maturity. They also have the unique opportunity to grow a global network of friends, fellow scholars and professionals, as well as learn about other cultures and develop a new appreciation for their own roots. Studying abroad teaches young adults to face new challenges and make plans for the future, creatively solve problems and better understand their personal strengths and weaknesses.
Before you leap into your exchange semester or year, or before you host a child who wants this experience, you need some resources. Here are some great resources to get you started on your journey into the student exchange world.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is involved in a variety of student exchange and placement programs, including: the Leonardo da Vinci programme, NORDPLUS and Erasmus. Most NTNU exchange students are in the program for between three and twelve months and thereafter go back to their college at home at the end of the exchange period.
Despite the fact that the time spent at NTNU is short, exchange students will still require sufficient housing with comfortable furniture. One area that can make a student feel more at home in a new country is their accommodation and how it is furnished. It is recommended that exchange students make their applications before the deadline to automatically be considered for housing. Unfortunately however, NTNU is unable to guarantee housing for all exchange students. The earlier one applies however, the more chance they will have of getting accommodation.
If you're considering becoming an exchange student, you should do your homework before you jump into the action. Here are some locations where you can find information about becoming an exchange student and about the experience of being one.
The new-and-improved International Peer Mentor program at Saint Mary’s College, Baltimore, is likely to facilitate the transition for international students to campus life. Unfortunately, in 2012, the program was not promoted properly and thus many students ended up being very homesick. In the new academic year, September 2013, Saint Mary’s welcomed 20 new international students. They come from Australia, China, Japan and Korea and spend between one semester and four years at the College. No matter how long they are there for, the challenges experienced are the same.
Anything that is different – from the furniture (classroom tables, folding chairs, school desks, school lockers, etc.,) to the teaching methods (ConcepTests, lecture tutorials, guided discovery problems, and more) – can be very disconcerting for these students. The students have traveled a long way both geographically and culturally and keeping as much the same as possible can help them with issues such as homesickness.
Thus with the peer mentor program, the transition and differences can be handled much more easily. In addition, those exchange students at Saint Mary’s who wish to take advantage of the peer mentor program will be appropriately paired with a peer mentor who has undergone a rigorous selection procedure.