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Would you let your child be an exchange student?


Would you let your child be an exchange student?  

7 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you let your child be an exchange student?

    • Are you crazy? No way!
      33
    • Probably not, but we would consider it if they really wanted to go.
      31
    • Possibly, but would need more information.
      57
    • Yes, but only for the summer.
      6
    • Yes, but for no more than 1 semester.
      16
    • Yes, for the whole school year.
      75
    • Yes, but only if I can go with.
      4
    • Other.....
      7


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As we are preparing for my dd to go off to Spain next school year, I get so many comments from people asking me if I'm going to really let her go. Of course I'm going to let her go or we never would have gotten to this point. What I don't understand is why more teenagers don't want to do an exchange and why so many parents wouldn't let their kids. I know that not everyone is cut out for it - my dd is the type that will most likely thrive from it while my ds probably wouldn't make it on the plane. Our Rotary youth exchange officer said that they only get one or two students every couple of years that want to go from our whole district which is the northern half of Louisiana. I want to help them promote it and get more students to take advantage of this great opportunity but I think I first have to understand why students/parents wouldn't want to do it. And as homeschoolers, I truly believe this could be one of the best ways to educate our children.

 

So, would you consider letting your child go as an exchange student for the summer, a semester, or an entire school year and why or why not? Please answer as though money is not an issue - some programs have scholarships and some require that you only pay travel expenses and will even give the student a monthly allowance (typically around $100/month).

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Of course.

 

We are doing a "semi-exchange" with our eldest daughter, she will be staying with extended family / close friends, but attend her selected school full time. We may even make some arrangements for her to matriculate within the foreign school system (crazy, I know :D) if she decides to do so - but that is distant future right now. At this point, she is prepared to go. She is a smart, indepedent child.

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Yep. In a heartbeat. I'd like to host some exchange students someday, too.

 

ETA: Forgot to say why! I spent time as an undergrad in France, and learned SO MUCH! Loved it so much, I decided to go to grad school in France. I'd love to have my kids learn the things I learned from traveling and living with a family in a different culture.

Edited by thescrappyhomeschooler
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As we are preparing for my dd to go off to Spain next school year, I get so many comments from people asking me if I'm going to really let her go. Of course I'm going to let her go or we never would have gotten to this point. What I don't understand is why more teenagers don't want to do an exchange and why so many parents wouldn't let their kids. I know that not everyone is cut out for it - my dd is the type that will most likely thrive from it while my ds probably wouldn't make it on the plane. Our Rotary youth exchange officer said that they only get one or two students every couple of years that want to go from our whole district which is the northern half of Louisiana. I want to help them promote it and get more students to take advantage of this great opportunity but I think I first have to understand why students/parents wouldn't want to do it. And as homeschoolers, I truly believe this could be one of the best ways to educate our children.

 

So, would you consider letting your child go as an exchange student for the summer, a semester, or an entire school year and why or why not? Please answer as though money is not an issue - some programs have scholarships and some require that you only pay travel expenses and will even give the student a monthly allowance (typically around $100/month).

Like you, I have a daughter who will thrive on it, and a son who would never do it.

 

Yes, it is a wonderful experience and I have a daughter who longs to travel the world.

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Oh yes, definitely. We lived in Europe so going to a 'furrin' place is easier for us. My youngest has spent several summers in Europe working with missionaries. I'd love for him to get his degree and teach English somewhere wonderful so dh and I can come visit. ;)

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I could probably stand a semester away from him, but that would be my limit. My dh would definitely say no, but I would give it serious consideration. My best friends one year in high school were the foreign exchange students. I would love for ds to have that experience, but I'd miss him way too much to send him off for a year. (just being honest)

 

I am encouraging him to explore study abroad options for college though. From a maturity standpoint I think he'd be better suited to wait until college age.

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NO. That would not work for us. Letting my child be supervised by total strangers for a school year is not something I'm comfortable with. And even if I was, dh would NEVER go for it.

There are many ways how to go about the "logistics" part of it - it is also possible to arrange the stay with somebody you know (if you have family, close family friends or contacts abroad), or with a family that is a good fit as far as some other specific needs are concerned (e.g. religious needs). Not ALL student exchange that is done is in "full packages", where you get it ALL at once; some of it can be done also the way that you are only accepted into school, but the living arrangements are your own thing, just like holiday and travel arrangements, etc.

 

Just saying, there are many ways to go about this if you are not willing to have your child live with total strangers. :001_smile:

Edited by Ester Maria
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Yes. With a caveat- I wouldn't be interested in sending them to a large h.s. abroad (especially for a whole year) any more than I would be in sending them to one here.

 

The plan is that all our children will go on some sort of extended International trip toward the end of h.s.

 

One of our main rules is that the trip must include school or meaningful work. We are not sending them on vacation. We also don't send them on trips with large groups of teens. It's always something where they are working/ learning mostly with adults and living with a family.

 

So far oldest ds spent 3 weeks in language school on Guatemala at 17 yo and 3 months in Haiti on a medical mission.

 

Oldest dd spent 2 months in Vienna and Switzerland in language school.

 

Next dd got her feet wet going to Guyana for 12 days on a medical mission trip. She's trying to figure out what her "big" trip will be. She'll either go to the same friends and school in Vienna as older dd or maybe spend a summer working for a cousin who married a Norwegian and now lives in Norway.

 

Btw, we have very little money for this. None actually... it's been amazing how these trips have all worked out. Plus our kids are expected to save up for their trips as well as help plan and prepare for them.

 

Maybe my willingness to do this is skewed by the fact that I lived in several different countries growing up and when I was in h.s. in the U.S. my family hosted an exchange student.

 

Every time we send a child off people act amazed, almost unflatteringly- as if we just said we like to kill kittens. Either that or they assume we are wealthy:lol: I find it odd.

.

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I am all for cultural exchange. I grew up overseas and see lots of benefits. I also met a LOT of exchange students. Most had very good experiences. But outside of the cultural exchange aspect, the schooling situations were not always beneficial because not all school situations fit the student's needs. Also, among the many exchange students I've met, I have met at least 5 (that I know of) who were molested or otherwise abused. That would not make me say "no" to the entire experience but it would make me want to ask a lot of questions about how home stay families are screened etc.

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Of course.

 

We are doing a "semi-exchange" with our eldest daughter, she will be staying with extended family / close friends, but attend her selected school full time.

 

We did this.

 

What I don't understand is why more teenagers don't want to do an exchange and why so many parents wouldn't let their kids.

 

Maybe because they don't get to pick the country, the school or the host family? When I was in high school, you had to commit to the exchange program (AFS) months BEFORE you found out what country you got to go to, let alone the city, school or family. Kids don't get to pick the country they're interested in, parents don't get to approve the school or the family. Why would anyone do that??

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If my dc wanted to to it, I would encourage them to go. I was an exchange student when I was in high school, and it was a very positive, life-changing experience for me. It was a very long time ago...:tongue_smilie: and I still communicate with my host-sisters, and one host sister's daughter initiates gchats with me as well. That's a long...well, a very long.. term friendship, extending into a second generation, all from being an exchange student. So yes, I would encourage it. I would be asking lots of questions so I can be as assured as possible that my dc will be in a safe situation, but I would be excited for them.

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No I would not. We lived in Europe for many years and he has experienced the culture. We have friends that are locals that he could stay with for a month if he wanted. What I learned of the schools, culture and family life style proved to me it would not be beneficial for him.

 

I would never let my daughter go. The organizations that arrange the exchanges are businesses. I was recently used as a personal reference for someone applying to host the an exchange student. I was asked if I would entrust this person with my child. I said no. The interviewer told me the other two references said the same thing however she was going to place him with them anyway. My heart ached for the young man.

 

I don't trust the agencies involved.

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We hosted an exchange student from Turkey and really enjoyed the experience. I helped supervise some of the other students that came to our area so I got to hear a bit about the problems between students and host families. There were issues on both sides.

 

I can't imagine letting my daughter go based on what I know from the side of host family. At least in the program we were involved in, the matching of families and students was pretty random.

 

I asked our exchange student's parents why they let her come to the U.S. and they said that they trusted the organization and their daughter. As a family, they'd traveled extensively and she's spent shorter times away from home. She was with us for a year. Her parents visited her twice while she was with us.

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I don't know. My dearest friend spent a year in New Zealand and had a great time, drinking, smoking, boys... And she had to repeat the academic year when she returned here.

 

Way back when I was young :tongue_smilie: our next door neighbor's dd went to Sweden for an exchange and she was placed with a horrid family to start with and after much struggle, she was "rehomed" with another family who treated her WAY better but provided no supervision. She also got into all kinds of mischief and no good. :glare: (IIRC, she came back here, got pg at 16, dropped out of school.... I have a feeling her issues had *nothing* to do with the exchange and everything to do with personal issues.)

 

Over the years, we have hosted *many* students from Germany and Taiwan, but none for a school year - just a summer or a semester. I am fortunate to know people with whom we are close from around the world. So if my dc chose to tour the world, they would at the very least, have places to stay where safety and well being wouldn't be an issue. But as far as a business approach exchange program, I have to think I wouldn't go for that. (But having not been in the situation, I can't say for sure what dh and I would do. I suppose it would depend on many factors, not the least of which, is which dc was considering it.)

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Yes! :)

 

We have lived overseas (3 1/2 years in China) and my husband and I met as exchange students in college in Hong Kong. We also did a few other, shorter trips in college (Norway, Hungary, Czech Republic).

 

I loved the experiences and of course loved meeting my husband and our first months dating in Hong Kong :).

 

We have had 2 exchange students live with us- one from Italy (did.not.work.out) and one from Hong Kong (we love her and stay in touch through FB now)

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We did this.

 

 

 

Maybe because they don't get to pick the country, the school or the host family? When I was in high school, you had to commit to the exchange program (AFS) months BEFORE you found out what country you got to go to, let alone the city, school or family. Kids don't get to pick the country they're interested in, parents don't get to approve the school or the family. Why would anyone do that??

 

My friends were AFS students. I met most of the kids in the city that year. One girl was truly put out because she wanted to come to America for the cultural experience. She ended up in a rural school district with very little culture, unless you count farm animals. She was unhappy the entire year.

 

Later we met a college exchange student from Africa. He was excited to learn he was going to Manhattan. Except he found out it was Manhattan, KS , not NYC too late. (Go Wildcats!) He made the best of it though.

 

My ds wants to go to Japan. I know he balk if he was assigned anywhere else.

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I would consider it if I knew all about the program: where he would live and who would be teaching, who would be in charge of the inevitable tourist activities, what structures are in place so that the kids would be safe and not goof off. I would want there to be responsible adults that I know personally.

 

I was an exchange student myself for 1 semester, and though it was a life-changing experience for me (how would you like to be caught up in a revolution?-- I'm talking former Soviet bloc), that had nothing to do with the program, and I was exposed to danger which I shudder at today. The program was pretty thin. I didn't learn much academically. The profs really had no idea why I was there, and I was taught alone, separate from regular students' classes. I was isolated and lonely. I suppose I should have advocated for myself, but that is hard to do in a foreign country when you are only 21.

 

YET, this program was touted in my college's publicity as the greatest opportunity ever...

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Yes! I also would like to host exchange students (hopefully in the next several years). One of my biggest regrets was NOT doing a yr long exchange to Germany my senior year in high school. It was offered, I turned it down. Why? B/c I wanted to graduate "on time" and be w/my friends. Now...tell me how many ppl from high school I talk to on a regular basis? Zero. If I could go back and kick my 17 yr old self in the pants, I would.

 

For my kids, I would love for them to do a semester or a year abroad. They will all graduate on the young side based off when when their birthdays fall, and I think it would be a good gap year opportunity. I would like it if they were in a smaller town/village vs a city.

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Sure, I'd let me child go if they were very interested and we found the right circumstances. I probably wouldn't send a kid that didn't have a strong sense of self/confidence, excellent academics, and a real sense of adventure. I don't think it's probably the right thing for every kid. I have a 16 year old nephew who is in no way near ready for something like that. My brother went overseas for a year at 20 and he came home with some horrible habits (smoking, drinking, pot) and almost no actual college credits.

 

I'd consider hosting an exchange student too at some point.

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NO. That would not work for us. Letting my child be supervised by total strangers for a school year is not something I'm comfortable with.

 

I *do* see how it could work for other families, just saying for us.

 

This is how I feel as well. Passing on our family's values is a large part of my job as a parent. I couldn't do that with my child living elsewhere. The teen years are such an important part of those growing up years.

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I was a Rotary Exchange Student to Bombay, India in the late 1980s. It was the time before email and before cell phones. I was able to talk to my parents on the phone a few times that year, certainly less than five. We communicated by airmail letters primarily. It was a huge adventure, I loved it, it was incredibly formative, and I'm thankful my mother allowed me to live it.

 

Rotary is a great program and I would absolutely recommend them. I hope your DD has an excellent time in Spain. :001_smile:

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I don't think either of my kids would go. I would also want to know how they were staying with...as in they would need to be friends. My mother and father both (divorced parents) hosted exchange students. When I lived with my mother we had three. One came multiple times and to my wedding as well. I went to his home in Vienna, Austria for a month and loved it. My father's was from Germany and they even visited me when I lived near D.C. so that dad could take her to see all the museums and such. My father and mother (stepmother, but I don't call her that) went back to Germany the next year to visit her family.

 

I am actually thinking of doing a sort of 'exchange' with my daughter and son. I want to send them to a grandparent or relative for a month or so (with their school stuff brought along), and allow them to visit the area and see all the many things there. I think it would be a lot of fun for them.

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I was an exchange student for a full year in Germany (total length of stay 14 mos) and a semester in Spain (total length of stay 8 mos), so I think it would be hypocritical of me not to let my kids go if they want to (I may even encourage it. ;)). I actually sent my 13yos over for a 3-week program last summer already.

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Absolutely. But only if we could choose the country, and dh and I would have to be certain that our child was academically and socially ready for the experience. I think to be really successful, a student needs a sense of adventure, a strong sense of self, and be fairly self-motivated/self-monitoring. I wouldn't send a child that would need quite a bit of parenting, for example, because that's my job. I would send a high-school age child who could make good choices mostly independently with some guidance from the adults.

 

We host college exchange students, and we love the relationships we build with them. Living in another culture really broadens one's perspective, as does experiencing different kinds of family life.

 

LOL, ds11 says he will go to Japan when our very first exchange student is married and has children so that she can be his host mother, lol. I need to email her and let her know she's got only 6-7 years to get going with that. :lol: (She will laugh. He's already had this discussion with her.)

 

Cat

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Maybe because they don't get to pick the country, the school or the host family? When I was in high school, you had to commit to the exchange program (AFS) months BEFORE you found out what country you got to go to, let alone the city, school or family. Kids don't get to pick the country they're interested in, parents don't get to approve the school or the family. Why would anyone do that??

 

We did get to pick the country because we live in a Rotary district that doesn't send too many kids, got it all done early, and had a youth exchange officer that jumped right in to try to assure her of her first choice country. I do know that's not usually the case although they are often placed in their top 5. To me, it wouldn't really matter if she ended up in one of our other choices as we knew he wouldn't place her in a country that we weren't comfortable with. I could sit and dwell on the family and school, but the fact is that my dd is going to be 17 next year, nearly an adult, very responsible, and headstrong enough that I know I can trust her to make the right decisions. I also trust the local Rotary to be sure that she is in a safe school and environment.

 

I would never let my daughter go. The organizations that arrange the exchanges are businesses. I was recently used as a personal reference for someone applying to host the an exchange student. I was asked if I would entrust this person with my child. I said no. The interviewer told me the other two references said the same thing however she was going to place him with them anyway. My heart ached for the young man.

 

I don't trust the agencies involved.

 

That is worrisome. We are doing it through the Rotary club which has been doing student exchanges for a very long time. Nobody involved in the exchange gets paid for their work in arranging it or hosting a student. The only one who gets paid is actually the exchange students who get a monthly allowance from the club in the country they go to. They have layers of safeguards with multiple adults that my dd could contact both there and here if there would be any problems, including our local district youth exchange officer who told us that as soon as her application is turned in, he thinks of her as his own child and will look after her as such.

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That is worrisome. We are doing it through the Rotary club which has been doing student exchanges for a very long time. Nobody involved in the exchange gets paid for their work in arranging it or hosting a student. The only one who gets paid is actually the exchange students who get a monthly allowance from the club in the country they go to. They have layers of safeguards with multiple adults that my dd could contact both there and here if there would be any problems, including our local district youth exchange officer who told us that as soon as her application is turned in, he thinks of her as his own child and will look after her as such.

 

My dh is in a Rotary club that sponsors exchange students. He says the same of the person who coordinates our local program, that he really looks after the students. They try to find families who are also Rotary members to host, and people in the club know they are hosting students, so there is an extra set of eyes/families watching out for and welcoming these students. He really enjoys the meetings at which the exchange students speak, and says that they seem to be very responsible and interesting young people. :) My boys will probably do a Rotary exchange one day.

 

Cat

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They are still doing a lot of growing and I'd be happier to have some input over the course of the year. For a college student: a year for sure. I spent a year in France as part of my degree, teaching English in a Lycee. It was a very valuable experience.

 

Laura

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I would be delighted if one of my children wanted to be an exhange student. My only concern about letting them go would be finding a reputable program and making sure they were in a situation I was comfortable with, but I don't think that would be a hurdle we couldn't get past.

 

But I don't really foresee either of my older two wanting to go on an exchange program in high school. Mostly they hope they'll live in the US then. I suspect I will strongly encourage them to spend at least a little time overseas while they are in college no matter what though.

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I would LOVE to send my teens to another JW family in most other countries (we'd hold off on some that we're not even allowed to mention our numbers in for the safety of those there, of course) and we'd have SO many to choose from! With a screening process and the opportunity, I'd jump on it. I would want the idea to be to learn about another culture, to enjoy good fellowship, etc.

 

But to just anywhere in the world with just anyone in the world. Uh, no.

Edited by 2J5M9K
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My dd9 decided when she was five that she wants to do a service project in a Spanish-speaking country when she is a teen. I fully support it and think being an exchange student/volunteer would be an extremely valuable experience.

 

But then again, I do lots of perilous things, like letting my kids ride bikes without helmets ...

 

Tara

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Kids don't get to pick the country they're interested in

 

That makes no sense, considering that lots of exchange students go so they can use the language skills they have been learning in school. I have never heard of a program where you don't get to pick the country.

 

Tara

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I would absolutely let ds go when he is older, but not through one of the paid businesses. Or some program where you don't get to have any say in where you go. :001_huh: I have never heard of that.

 

I went for a couple of month long trips through universities that had programs for high school students as well. They were wonderful, very educational trips, and I would love ds to have that sort of experience.

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That makes no sense, considering that lots of exchange students go so they can use the language skills they have been learning in school. I have never heard of a program where you don't get to pick the country.

 

Tara

Some programs make you make a priority list, i.e. you cannot even apply without listing several countries, and then when you apply, it is considered that you agree with being sent to any of those. So, for example, you want France, but you have to list five. So, according to the language logic, you list also Belgium, Switzerland (none of which is a guarantee that you will end up in a French-speaking school - what if you end up in Zurich, for example, in a German-speaking family?)... and what then? So you add a few others, and it is pretty much a lottery where they send you, because they decide based on many factors, coordinating many other students who are going for an exchange, etc.

 

Other programs have fixed countries they send to, but when you apply to them, you agree that you will leave for any country they select for you. So, you may apply for the program because you want to go to the UK (an experience of somebody from Europe I know), but being selected for Norway because hey, when you applied for the program, you explicitly agreed that they can send you to any of the 3-4 countries that were an option that year. They also allow you to list some preferences, but they also explicitly state that you may be sent to any country.

 

Other programs still may allow you to pick a country, but it is still uncertain where in the country you will end up. So, while both a small public school in rural Alabama and a highly competitive Boston private school are in the US, it is a totally different experience. Most kids, when they apply, want North-East when it comes to the USA, and picture a kind of semi-urban experience at least, and then they end up someplace totally different.

 

There are even more problematic things. You may end up in a place where you want, but not in an arrangement you want - it is not all in families, some of it is in boarding schools, for example. You almost never, if ever, get to pick school - at best, you get offered a few and then you choose. Our family friends' son got offered parochial schools! And I was :confused:, because I thought that it goes without saying that programs which do not go via religious organizations send kids to regular secular schools exactly to avoid such cases. But nope, they also cooperate with a number of private schools, which may have an educational or ideological agenda you disagree with.

 

Furthermore, even if you do end up in an okay school, in an okay place, sometimes the arrangement is mutable. Rotary I think typically makes kids go through several families, thus not really having continuity in that year.

 

As far as "ending up in an okay school" is concerned, you almost never end up in the very best schools, from what I have gathered, UNLESS it is a UK / USA exchange which explicitly sends academically successful kids to selective private schools (Exeter-style) with the boarding experience (which may or may not be what you want). Most kids end up in "typical" schools. Imagine an academically brilliant child who wanted to attend one of best Parisian lycees, but ended up in a "blah" school which is exactly like their old school - or worse, opportunities-wise - but in French. I mean, if that is the outcome, what is the point of the exhange? Many people can send their kids to international French schools near where they live if it is only about language of education... but it also about perspective, cultural experience, etc. Lots of factors have to be there.

 

And finally, the family you end up with is a huge factor - and it is such a gamble. Even if they are good people, you may not "click" well. The whole experience is such a gamble. Two USA experiences from dear friends I know - one had that Boston experience in an academically-minded family, had a BLAST, the other one... spent a year riding horses on a small farm in a fairly small community, and academically "lost" that year in spite of having gained a good English accent. (Of course, to each their own, people's preferred lifestyles differ, but that is not what a typical kid who goes on an exchange wants... they still want an urban / semi-urban experience, sight-seeing opportunities, museums, places to go out, a bigger and more diverse community, more choice as regards after-school activities, etc.)

 

Many people decide that they are willing to "gamble" because that is likely their only shot of going abroad a little in an organized fashion. It is hard if you do not know people, know places, know which schools you want, if you cannot organize it all on your own - so I understand why people do it. Still, I much more prefer "private exchanges" of the kind where you directly communicate with school, make your own living arrangements, etc.

Edited by Ester Maria
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Some programs make you make a priority list, i.e. you cannot even apply without listing several countries, and then when you apply, it is considered that you agree with being sent to any of those. So, for example, you want France, but you have to list five. So, according to the language logic, you list also Belgium, Switzerland (none of which is a guarantee that you will end up in a French-speaking school - what if you end up in Zurich, for example, in a German-speaking family?)... and what then? So you add a few others, and it is pretty much a lottery where they send you, because they decide based on many factors, coordinating many other students who are going for an exchange, etc.

 

Other programs have fixed countries they send to, but when you apply to them, you agree that you will leave for any country they select for you. So, you may apply for the program because you want to go to the UK (an experience of somebody from Europe I know), but being selected for Norway because hey, when you applied for the program, you explicitly agreed that they can send you to any of the 3-4 countries that were an option that year. They also allow you to list some preferences, but they also explicitly state that you may be sent to any country.

 

Other programs still may allow you to pick a country, but it is still uncertain where in the country you will end up. So, while both a small public school in rural Alabama and a highly competitive Boston private school are in the US, it is a totally different experience. Most kids, when they apply, want North-East when it comes to the USA, and picture a kind of semi-urban experience at least, and then they end up someplace totally different.

 

There are even more problematic things. You may end up in a place where you want, but not in an arrangement you want - it is not all in families, some of it is in boarding schools, for example. You almost never, if ever, get to pick school - at best, you get offered a few and then you choose. Our family friends' son got offered parochial schools! And I was :confused:, because I thought that it goes without saying that programs which do not go via religious organizations send kids to regular secular schools exactly to avoid such cases. But nope, they also cooperate with a number of private schools, which may have an educational or ideological agenda you disagree with.

 

Furthermore, even if you do end up in an okay school, in an okay place, sometimes the arrangement is mutable. Rotary I think typically makes kids go through several families, thus not really having continuity in that year.

 

As far as "ending up in an okay school" is concerned, you almost never end up in the very best schools, from what I have gathered, UNLESS it is a UK / USA exchange which explicitly sends academically successful kids to selective private schools (Exeter-style) with the boarding experience (which may or may not be what you want). Most kids end up in "typical" schools. Imagine an academically brilliant child who wanted to attend one of best Parisian lycees, but ended up in a "blah" school which is exactly like their old school - or worse, opportunities-wise - but in French. I mean, if that is the outcome, what is the point of the exhange? Many people can send their kids to international French schools near where they live if it is only about language of education... but it also about perspective, cultural experience, etc. Lots of factors have to be there.

 

And finally, the family you end up with is a huge factor - and it is such a gamble. Even if they are good people, you may not "click" well. The whole experience is such a gamble. Two USA experiences from dear friends I know - one had that Boston experience in an academically-minded family, had a BLAST, the other one... spent a year riding horses on a small farm in a fairly small community, and academically "lost" that year in spite of having gained a good English accent. (Of course, to each their own, people's preferred lifestyles differ, but that is not what a typical kid who goes on an exchange wants... they still want an urban / semi-urban experience, sight-seeing opportunities, museums, places to go out, a bigger and more diverse community, more choice as regards after-school activities, etc.)

 

Many people decide that they are willing to "gamble" because that is likely their only shot of going abroad a little in an organized fashion. It is hard if you do not know people, know places, know which schools you want, if you cannot organize it all on your own - so I understand why people do it. Still, I much more prefer "private exchanges" of the kind where you directly communicate with school, make your own living arrangements, etc.

 

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Can you see that I agree with all of this?!:D As I said before, I have met and talked to a lot of exchange students and this kind of roulette matches up exactly with their experiences. Some won and were ecstatic. Some lost or at least didn't get what they wanted and were decidedly less than ecstatic.

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I answered I would allow dd13, the only child who would even show interest, to go for a semester. I don't feel comfortable with any time beyond that. In fact, she and I have talked about it. I told her it was an option at many colleges and she would have to wait until then.

 

I wish I had a relative or very close friend who lived outside of the U.S. that would be interested in being a host though. I would feel much more comfortable knowing my child was with someone I knew and trusted.

 

And although I answered a semester, I'm not sure I really mean academics. I think being immersed into the culture would be enough. I don't think sitting in a school will necessarily enhance the experience. Hey, a homeschool exchange program could be kind of cool. (I didn't read all of the posts yet so I'm not sure if anyone suggested that. :) )

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What organization did you go through?

 

 

It was a program through a German Saturday School in Philadelphia for kids 12-16, that also had some high school kids from that area. Our Sat. School sent 5 kids with them this year.

 

PS to my earlier response while I'm at it - I'm not sure I'm gung-ho about them going for a full year during high school - so hard to figure out how to deal with credits for transcript (I'm sending them to the ps for high school - if they were staying at home, or end up coming back home after all, I'd be more open). Our local high school has lots of exchange programs for shorter periods, and I'm definitely thinking about that - even making sure we get a spare room ready so we could host someone. I'm going to bring up the full-year option with the school, though, just to see if they'd be at all open to it or if it would mean an extra year of high school (in which case I'd think it a better idea to do as a gap year after high school).

 

A full year as a gap year or during college would be fab.

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I was a Rotary Exchange Student to Bombay, India in the late 1980s. It was the time before email and before cell phones. I was able to talk to my parents on the phone a few times that year, certainly less than five. We communicated by airmail letters primarily. It was a huge adventure, I loved it, it was incredibly formative, and I'm thankful my mother allowed me to live it.

 

Rotary is a great program and I would absolutely recommend them. I hope your DD has an excellent time in Spain. :001_smile:

 

 

I've heard great things about the Rotary programs - but are kids whose parents aren't in Rotary eligible? How would they go about applying if it is possible?

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Maybe because they don't get to pick the country, the school or the host family? When I was in high school, you had to commit to the exchange program (AFS) months BEFORE you found out what country you got to go to, let alone the city, school or family. Kids don't get to pick the country they're interested in, parents don't get to approve the school or the family. Why would anyone do that??

 

I have not heard good things about AFS. I would not send my kids on a program like that. There are tons of exchange programs out there - you have to do your research and pick a good one.

 

I did my exchange after high school with a program I found through the Goethe Institut (although it was not through them). It was a private boarding school in Germany that exchanged with some high schools in Maine (where I didn't live). But I contacted them and they found a family wiling to do a mutual exchange - she lived with us here (not in Maine) for a year, then I lived with her in Germany for a year.

 

I would never never never even consider a program where I didn't know where they were going. What is the point - unless your kid isn't learning any foreign language and it's just a "cultural experience" :confused:

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I've heard great things about the Rotary programs - but are kids whose parents aren't in Rotary eligible? How would they go about applying if it is possible?

 

My parents were not in Rotary. I contacted the local Rotary branch and they helped me with the application process. That's where I would start if I were you. Good luck!:001_smile:

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I've heard great things about the Rotary programs - but are kids whose parents aren't in Rotary eligible? How would they go about applying if it is possible?

 

Parents do not have to be in Rotary for a child to go on exchange with them. We were not in Rotary when my dd applied and was accepted. My dh has since joined after learning about what a great organization it is though. You can google to find contact information for your local club, or pm me if you need help.

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I guess I am jaded, but my sister did it

and she had a very bad experience with

the husband and wife always fighting and

the atmosphere not being a "normal"

loving atmosphere.

 

Although I think 90% of people are good

and kind and positive, I have seen too much

of life to send my kid to perfect strangers.

 

They would have to be someone I know, and

that is unlikely since I don't know anyone in

another country.

 

Sorry to be negative.

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I have not heard good things about AFS. I would not send my kids on a program like that. There are tons of exchange programs out there - you have to do your research and pick a good one.

 

Really? I thought AFS was one of the good programs. They on the top of my list for programs in terms of being a host. Hmm...

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