A passport is not just a simple passport. A passport is the first step to an adventure, and an item that is treasured years after your first experience (because often it isn’t your last), as you proudly look back at the stamps you have collected. In the wise words of Grumpy Cat–
For some, part of applying for study abroad is getting your first passport or renewing it. Even if you aren’t thinking about travel right now, a passport is a great idea so that you can be ready when an opportunity presents itself. You can visit travel.state.gov for help.
Get to know Spain through photos!
Are you ready for the iE-USA Spanish Summer Immersion Camp? Register now, and don’t forget the scholarship deadline of Nov. 20th!
This camp is open to American teens between the ages of 15-17 in their third year of Spanish or preparing for the AP Spanish and Language Exam. It is a chaperoned three week camp in Salamanca Spain and offers an all-inclusive price (airfare, excursions, meals, accommodations, insurance, supervision).
How to register: Fill out a registration form here before January 1st, mail to iE-USA and you will receive notice of enrollment by email. One partial scholarship available, information is on the website.
Learn about Salamanca, Spain by watching this video! Did you know it is a UNESCO World Heritage City? Follow our blog for upcoming information, pictures and videos of Spain!
Are you dying to travel and want somewhere fun, cultural, historical, and safe? Prefer to speak your own language, but learn a new accent? The iE-USA England Semester Abroad program might be for you! Students live with a British host family in the suburban residential areas of England, and take group excursions every month to the top british destinations such as the Beatles Museum and Manchester United Soccer Fields!
This program is affordable and payment plans can be set up through iE-USA. To find out more information about our program and prices, go to our website. Students should apply approximately 3-4 months in advance of the date they wish to depart. Teens who are between 16-18 are welcome to apply and will be accepted based on maturity level, transcript, willingness to adapt, and overall character.
Make your semester worth it, see the world!
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!)
Whether you are trying to decide on a country to travel to, or how much money to save, or even what the temperature is, the following resources will help you get the low-down on what you need to know (None of these are sponsored links, we just love them!).
- Need a reliable currency conversion website? Try XE. It uses current and updated market rates to give you the most accurate conversion of over 20 different currencies.
- Can’t decide what to pack, have a horrible memory, or it’s your first time traveling solo? Look to Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush for free online packing lists and planning logistics. It will even give you local temperature updates on where you are going, and suggest packing based on what activities you will do! Hint: if you are studying abroad, select “cultural break”.
Hint: Expert travelers know, you ALWAYS pack a maximum of one checked suitcase. Airlines charge many extra fees for two checked bags and often your host family or residence won’t even have room to store two suitcases! You will shop abroad, so don’t bring too many “American” clothes (t-shirts with logos, sweatshirts or sweatpants, and forget the shoes, they take up too much space!).
- Do you learn visually or just love Pinterest? Check out this Pinterest Packing Board: Packing 101
- Want to compare countries and learn more about where you are going? Check out Lonely Planet for the most in depth look at history, culture, climate, the people, and the food. It’s the most trusted travel resource and has information on almost every country in the world.
- Check safety and travel advisories for your country at the Department of State website.
Hint: iE-USA does not send teens to countries with serious travel advisories and has a contingency plan in place if an advisory were to be issued.
- Are you travelling soon and want flight updates? Did you know that there is a free App for Smartphones called FlightAware that not only tells you delays, but also your parents or friends could track where your plane is flying in real time! Google Now Cards (open a Flight Receipt in your email on your phone and it will save it) and Passbook for iPhone also work well!
- Want to become a travel blogger on your study abroad trip? Brush up your blogging skills here: TeenBlogger
Hint: Trying to come up with extra spending money for your trip? If you are an entrepeneur, you could use your travel blog to make money! Travel blogs typically attract more attention then ‘normal’ blogs because they are exciting! Take lots of pictures and keep your posts short but frequent, and keep a positive or humorous attitude!
This past summer, I got the once in a lifetime opportunity to go to Europe. A study abroad program, called International Experience, found me a host family in Germany that invited me to stay with them for two weeks. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for my Chinese host brother Andy. My family hosted Andy for the spring 2014 semester and he attended our high school. Andy was truly as joy for my family and had a huge influence on my family and his classmates. His experience inspired me to do the same, and travel. I soon had a host family in Germany from the help of iE-USA and I was on my way!
I went to Germany with almost no knowledge of the language, but luckily, my host sister Elli went to a bilingual school and had near perfect English. My family welcomed me to their home with a homemade cake that had my name on it in German colors and made me really feel at home.
I was also extremely fortunate to be in Germany for most of the World Cup. Read the rest of this entry
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!