Spanish teachers and counselors: RSVP for the Webinar happening Nov. 6th, at 2PM CDT to learn about the scholarship opportunity for students to attend the Spanish Summer Immersion Camp in Salamanca, Spain. If you can’t attend, you can still RSVP and be sent a recorded version and free lesson plan about Salamanca.
Take the quiz below to see if you are ready to become an exchange student!
Want to add questions? Add them in the Comments section!
1. Do you have maps on your walls instead of pop singers?
2. Is your language class your favorite subject?
3. When others complain about change, do you welcome it?
4. Do you hate monotony or routine?
5. Have you ever thought about the concept “Culture”?
6. Do you hashtag #wanderlust constantly?
7. Are you friends with an exchange student?
8. When you take small trips or travel, do you wish you could learn more about daily life there?
9. Do you enjoy trying new foods?
10. Does it bore you to follow what everyone else is doing?
If you responded ‘Yes’ to two questions or more, then you are ready to become an exchange student!
If you answered ‘No’ to 8 or more, then consider befriending an exchange student, reaching outside your comfort zone, or trying something new this year to test yourself.
(Disclaimer: Obviously this is just a fun game and there are many other ways to decide if you are ready for exchange!)
Exchange students all over the world experience the same emotions, excitement, and challenges of study abroad no matter where their destination is. If you or a family member are considering studying abroad in the future or even as soon as next semester, what better (free) way to learn about the adaptation process and about other cultures than by hosting a student in the U.S. first?
Most students’ goals are to:
1. Learn another language
2. Learn about other cultures
3. Do something unique and different
What some students and families don’t realize is that by hosting, you are accomplishing these goals as well! Your exchange student will teach you slang, colloquial phrases, and even grammar from their country (do you know how to say ‘Moose’ in Thai for example?). They will explain why they have different customs than yours and show you different ways to think about the world (Did you know Frozen Yogurt shops aren’t very common in Germany?). You will also see how they handle homesickness and culture shock, two things that will happen during your exchange at some point or another that you will learn to overcome.
By becoming a host family and host sibling, you are joining a ‘club’ of sorts of international volunteers that said yes to a unique experience. You never officially stop being a host sibling, ask anyone! The relationships you build, whether as a host or an exchange student, last for a lifetime. Any host family you ask has probably seen their exchange student after they return home. They’ve had chances to visit them and see the country they came from or have invited the student back to their home away from home.
These are the types of things you can also experience, by welcoming a student into your home this year, even for a short period of time.
At iE-USA, you still have time to become a host family and join the “Host Family Club”. You can apply to host a specific student that your family chooses, that will mesh well with your lifestyle, personalities, and interests. And you won’t be alone, you will have a coordinator in your local area (whichever state you are from) to give your family an orientation, check in with you and the student monthly to see how things are going, and solve any problems that may arise. Parents should make a non-binding application at www.ie-usa.org before the end of August, to find the right student.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make a iE student’s dream come true!
The holidays can be one of the best times to fundraise because people are in a generous, happy mood. But do you find people saying, “I’m really busy” or “I just used my money for a present” ? Read below for help to get going.
Fundraising isn’t as hard as it might seem, if you follow these tips. Give your friends and family (and anyone else you can market to) a reason to donate or to buy what you are selling, and keep it short.
If study abroad is your dream, make sure you make that clear as well as why this experience will make a difference to you. Keep what you say or write to under two minutes and people will pay attention at a busy time like this. If they say “no” then keep pushing forward and don’t allow it to slow you down. If you need to adapt your strategy, then do so. Perhaps people keep telling you they are on a diet and don’t buy cookies; so offer them some healthy options!
Don’t know how to bake? Bakesales aren’t the only fundraiser that exists! What about a raffle for a trip to a spa? Or sew cute fabric covers for pet beds to sell. An international dinner, hosted in your language teacher’s classroom. The sky is the limit! We have more resources here.
If you send an email to either friends or different groups around town, tell them how they can act to donate (whether it is an embedded hyperlink to your fundraising website like fundmytravel.com or your name and address in order to send a check). Try to personalize the emails you send, and cater to each group you send out to (church groups, local businesses, relatives).
One of the easiest ways to start fundraising is asking for money to be donated toward your trip instead of receiving presents during the holidays or for birthdays.
If traveling or living abroad is your dream, don’t let anyone (including yourself) stop you. Change your “Can’t” to “Can”. Nothing is impossible, and whatever your challenges may be, you can overcome them. Do you fear you won’t succeed? Do you fear you won’t make friends? Do you fear you will miss old friends and family? Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you, everyone has fears but the ones that succeed in life are those who acknowledge and address those fears and move past them. Study abroad programs provide support and orientations to address these fears and staff will always be available to help you through the hard times. No dream was ever easy, right? If other cultures and countries interest you, you want to see the world, you want to break out of the bubble you live in, meet new people and try new foods, then live the life you have imagined. Applying for study abroad might be the first step in your journey to making the life you want to have. Ask an exchange student in your community or our youth ambassador how they overcame their fears. It’s worth it.
Why did you study abroad?
“I always knew that I wanted to study abroad. The idea of completely immersing myself in another culture did not scare me; it intrigued me. Whether it was Europe, Africa, or any other continent, I desperately wanted a new adventure. And, I guess one could say I am a little impatient. Once I had this idea in my head, there was no letting it go. I began doing research to find a program that suited my personal and financial needs. Money was the biggest issue. But I asked for donations and saved every penny from work in order to get enough. The whole thing felt like a blur, or a dream. It did not even feel real as I boarded my plane to endure 24 hours of traveling. I was going to Africa! And today, as I sit in my in my new home, in Cape Town, South Africa, it still doesn’t feel real, for I am living my dream.”
How did you pay for your study abroad?
Ask Maria questions in the comment section!
Why did you study abroad?
“I had a lot of reasons for studying abroad! one of the main inspirations came from hosting exchange students in my family. I had a wonderful experience learning about another person’s culture, and sharing with and learning from them while they were also sharing with and learning from my family. I really wanted to have that experience as well. Another reason was that I really wanted to be bilingual, and I knew that going on exchange would give me the opportunity to become fluent in a language other than english. Why I chose Italy was also due to many reasons. I chose Italy because I really had always thought it was a very beautiful country, with a rich culture and history. I really wanted to learn Italian and make Italian friends, while learning more about the country. I also wanted to eat Italian food all the time! (who doesn’t?).
I chose to go for a full year because I think that a full year is when you truly start to take away all that the experience has to offer, and a half year is only 50% of the experience. You cut your experience in half, your time with your friends and time to learn the language, and many other things are halved when you do one semester as opposed to a full year abroad.
In the end I truly fulfilled all my goals! I learned Italian and became fluent in it, and was able to attend school, make lots of friends, learn a lot of other life skills (Outside of school), all while enjoying every minute of my experience!”
Ask Grayden a question in the comment section!