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How Do I Become a Foreign Exchange Student?

Exchange students often live and study in another country for several months or more.
Most foreign exchange programs are set up through schools and universities.
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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2014
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Deciding to become a foreign exchange student is a great life experience that also looks good on your resume for any college or graduate school applications. You will have many decisions to make about the country you wish to visit and the length of time you want to stay, and it's necessary to plan for the experience well in advance.

Nearly all exchange student programs are set up through schools and universities, although some are offered through non-profit agencies. Most programs have certain requirements that you must meet before you are considered for an exchange, such as good grades and a certain level of education.

Consider the length of time you would like to stay in the other country. You can generally stay for a few weeks or months, an entire semester, or even an entire year. You also need to research where you will live. Some foreign exchange students live with a host family, while others live in dormitories or other residence halls at the school or university.

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If you are traveling to a country where the people speak a different language than you, it is obviously a good idea to learn as much of that language as you can before you leave. You will likely become more fluent in the language the longer you stay, but it will help to have some basic knowledge before you become a foreign exchange student. Research any particular customs or traditions to avoid unintentionally offending someone. Most exchange student programs will provide a guide for you, at least in the beginning, to travel with you and help you get adjusted.

In order to be accepted into an exchange student program, you will need to fill out an application. Tuition and fees vary in different programs, but you should expect to pay an equivalent price per semester that a student would pay for university, occasionally even for high school programs. Keep in mind that most fees are there to cover airfare, health insurance, a passport or student visa, the cost of living, and similar expenses. Any extra costs will likely be your responsibility, but it is a good idea to research any program thoroughly before applying. Scholarships are frequently available for foreign exchange programs.

If you choose to become a foreign exchange student and study abroad, it will probably be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It will give you the opportunity to experience a different culture, meet new people, possibly learn a new language, and complete your coursework in a completely new environment. It is no longer necessary to actually switch places (exchange) with a student in another country, but that can be an especially enlightening thing to do to make the experience even more personal.

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Discuss this Article

anon200028
Post 14

bnt5678: I am pretty sure that Germany requires three years of language courses.

bnt5678
Post 12

My name is Brittany, i live in Illinois. I have been wanting to be a foreign exchange student in Germany. I am going to be a freshman in high school next year. Any suggestions on where i should go to in Germany?

anon99979
Post 11

I'm looking forward to studying in south korea. i graduated with a bachelors degree in mass communications and am considering taking my masters in South Korea. how could i study in this country?

anon94826
Post 10

To all of you guys looking to be a foreign exchange student: contact your local Rotary Club! Rotary Youth Exchange is without a doubt the best program there is. This year my family and I hosted a young man from Brazil. It was one of the best experiences of my life! It also inspired me to look into Rotary exchange for myself-- now I'm leaving in 30 days to spend a school year in Germany. Rotary is amazing. It's fun, safe, and reputable.

anon89717
Post 9

I am not for sure if I could become a foreign exchange student but I'm curious if I had the opportunity. I am not a freshman yet but I will be enrolled into the eighth grade. I live in Indianapolis, Indiana and have developed a liking to japanese and have studied the language for a while now.

I was interested in going to japan as a foreign exchange student as you can tell, but it seems that you have to be a sophomore and in high school. Is there any possible way that i could be able to go to japan at a young age?

anon79843
Post 8

I am a American sophomore, with A-B (1 C)grades, living in Nebraska. And I was considering becoming a foreign exchange student in Germany. I don't know much German, but would study it over the summer and would bring a translator to Germany too. Would I be all right language wise?

And are my grades good enough for me to be considered as a foreign exchange student? Also would I be able to pick the city that i would be put in?

irok233
Post 7

i am a freshman in high school and i am thinking of becoming a foreign exchange student for the first or second semester of my sophomore year in high school. i have good grades in high school and i live in the united states (PA). i was thinking of going to spain so any tips on how to do that are appreciated. thanks.

anon77669
Post 5

I'm looking to become an exchange student in South Korea -- right now I reside in NS Canada -- and am seriously thinking of studying abroad.

I'm only in 10th grade, so maybe in the next few years if possible. Any ideas on how I could do this?

Erin.

anon56902
Post 4

I'm a real good fellow student who lives in Mobile, AL and am needing to become anforeign exchange student. I love to play many sports like volleyball and soccer. I am looking forward to attending college, but I'm only in 10th grade right now. Any suggestions about how I Should go about doing this? -Kimberly36619

anon52086
Post 3

i am a freshman right now in Fountain, Colorado, in America. for my sophomore year i would love to become a foreign exchange student in England. i can speak english very well. any suggestions what part of England i should go to, what high school and how i should do this?

anon41716
Post 2

hey I'm a student in South Africa. why don't you try contacting your country's embassy in my country?

anon23317
Post 1

hey i love the article.. im a Ukrainian living in America (SC) and i want to be a foreign exchange student in Ukraine im attending an college right now any suggestions about how i should go about doing this????????

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