Although the costs are not insignificant, when students spend even a brief time studying in a secondary school in another country, they come back changed for the better in so many ways.
Who coordinates overseas school exchange programs?
In every state of Australia, a number of organisations coordinate the placement of Australian students in an overseas secondary school for a specified period of time. Organisations are very reputable and welcome parents and students to information evenings where they can meet students who have spent some time in a school overseas. Parents of these students will often be available to offer reassurance about the overseas placements and speak about the many advantages for young people. It’s important to check websites carefully and ask your son or daughter’s school whether any of their students have been placed overseas by an organisation you are considering.
How do they work?
Placements vary in length from a month to six months or a whole year. Most students who complete a placement adore the experience and wish they had taken a longer placement. The cost of a longer placement is often only a little more than a much shorter placement. Remember to ask whether any scholarships are available.
What are the benefits for students?
For both adventurous and shy students, a student exchange program could be the experience of a lifetime. It will expose them to another culture in the best and safest way possible. Students will live with a screened host family and attend school in their chosen country, soaking up the new culture as they live with a local family and attend school each day.
Best of all, students return home with a wealth of new experiences, great memories, improved self-confidence and new friends. And most students also return with a good grasp of a new language or amazingly improved competency in a language they were previously studying in Australia.
Going overseas for a few months, a semester or a year is an unforgettable experience. Students return with greater enthusiasm for life and even for their studies. They have stepped out of their familiar setting and lived with others in a very different culture. It’s a wonderful way for young people to become more sophisticated in outlook, more thoughtful and more appreciative of their own families, culture and country. Resilience levels skyrocket when young people stand on their own feet in an unfamiliar setting. I highly recommend this option for young people. Investigate early and have your teenager find part- time work to help with the cost. This is a great way to build personal responsibility and gives young people a sense of pride. They have helped to make this happen! Sometimes parents who can afford the costs of a school exchange experience still expect their teenagers to contribute toward the cost. This is a great way to encourage maturity and an appreciation of how much things cost.