Study Abroad – Foreign Exchange Student Programs

Study Abroad - Foreign Exchange Student Programs

Having an opportunity to visit a foreign land, to study abroad and meet another family through the intimate process of the foreign exchange student program is definitely an opportunity of a lifetime that is worth the time and effort of high school aged students looking into.

Having been an exchange student in high school to Chile, South America I can tell you first hand that it will be one of the most important memories and relationship builders that you will have to last your lifetime that nothing else will ever compare to.

This article will review the process of finding out why and how to study abroad, what is required, what you need to know and how to apply through foreign exchange student programs in the United States.

Why you should consider to Study Abroad through a Foreign Exchange Student Program.

Foreign Exchange Student Programs

This is one of the first questions that most students ask and it's an important one to consider. Although many people have opportunities in their lifetime to travel to another country, it is only through the foreign exchange student program that you can live with a family you've never met and obtain first hand knowledge of their daily routine, how they live, play and work and tour the city or country with the perspective of someone that actually lives there. Residents of countries always know the best places to see, eat, shop and explore that aren't necessarily on a travel brochure.

Part of studying abroad through a foreign exchange student program will give you access to not only another country's educational system but, also helps to increase your knowledge of a different language spoken in the true dialect of that country. You will also be able to live with a family that teaches you the ways of their culture by first hand experience and get to know some of their unique customs and rituals during daily life.

What is required to become a Foreign Exchange Student to Study Abroad?

Study Abroad

Most foreign exchange student programs require that you are a citizen of the United States and enrolled as a student between 15 and 18 years of age. Most programs will last anywhere from 5 months up to a year of study. It is usually a good idea to have some knowledge of the language of the country you want to attend to make communication easier for you and the host family as well as the school you will be attending. You must also show academic achievement, maturity, adaptability, be well behaved, a role model and have the financial means to travel to a foreign country. A background check will also be performed on the student and the family.

A foreign exchange student program will not pay you for participating nor will they charge an additional fee for your participation. You will need your own funds while in the host country for extracurricular activities or souvenirs but, your room and board will be provided by the host family. The student that wants to become a foreign exchange student will also need a current and valid passport so plans should be made well in advance of needing one since it takes approximately six months to complete the passport process.

The foreign exchange student will study abroad typically with a student in the same grade or year as they currently are in. School supplies are provided for so that the student or family does not need to be concerned about these items. Many times, the student is not only well received by the immediate host family, but also of the extended family and the school as well since this is a learning experience for everyone involved.

Often times, the foreign language department of the high school will have information on the Student Exchange Program and they can be a valuable asset in beginning arrangements for a student as well as answering any questions of concern.

Smoking, drugs and alcohol are prohibited while a student participates in a foreign exchange program and the student is not able to drive while in the host country even if they have a valid driver's license in the United States. Failure to follow the rules of the Open Door Exchange Student Program are grounds for immediate dismissal and the student will be sent home if caught doing any of these acts.

How to Apply for a Foreign Exchange Student Program?

In the United States, the Open Door Exchange Program is a Non Profit Organization that is a trusted, experienced and reliable source of gathering all the information that one would need in determining all the details of becoming a foreign exchange student to study abroad. The Open Door Exchange Program has been in the business of partnering the correct student with the correct host family since 1964 so that a perfect match can be made based on matching the interests of the student and the family.

The application for the Open Door Program can be found online and the student and family should research all countries eligible, participation requirements as well as to read all the rules and regulations to make sure that a proper fit can be made.

Once the application to become an exchange student is correctly made, a local representative of the Open Door Exchange Program will contact the student and family for a meeting to discuss all the details and to provide options of countries and families participating and to make the proper final arrangements.

The student will definitely want a good camera while studying abroad as a Foreign Exchange Student so that the experience can be shared with their own family, friends and school.

Becoming a foreign exchange student to study abroad is definitely a once in a lifetime experience for the student traveling, the family sending their child, the host family receiving a child and the host country. Both students and families will find new friends for a lifetime by participating and many times both families get together for future gatherings to discuss the experience and to create even more memories. If you or anyone you know would enjoy this type of study abroad, travel and experience it is highly recommended and you may find yourself wanting to host a foreign exchange student or two in your own home.

For more information on hosting a foreign exchange student in your home, learn more here: