How To Participate In Student Exchange Programs

The exact process by which a student will apply for a student exchange program will depend largely upon the exact program selected, but most of the steps are relatively the same. Students and their families should keep the following things in mind in order to be considered for any type of exchange program.

Check Availability

Before a student can apply for an exchange program, they must first ensure that the school they are attending participates in these programs. Different schools participate in different programs, so students should be sure to ask their guidance counselors or admissions officers for more information to review with their parents or guardians. Some programs focus almost solely upon academics, but others are tailored to cultural diversity and broadening a student’s overall knowledge of a particular area of the country or world. Also, students will want to discover the different countries that participate in their schools’ chosen exchange programs.


The next step in becoming an exchange program participant is preparing for acceptance into the program. The general requirements are very much the same for most programs; students are required to demonstrate outstanding grade point averages, a true desire to become more involved with and learn about different cultures, a basic understanding of the language spoken in the host country and a willingness to be flexible in unfamiliar situations. Preparing for a trip to another part of the country or world also requires the student to demonstrate an ability to be self-sufficient in new social settings, especially since friends and family will likely be hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

Fill out the Application

The actual application associated with an exchange program will vary quite a bit, but all of them require specific information. Students will need to provide their names, ages, addresses and the proper documentation to support them; foreign exchange candidates must also possess passports. Also, most exchange programs ask students to write an essay that describes why they are interested in becoming an exchange student. In this essay, students should be as truthful as possible and include any experience they have with their preferred host country or area, including the parts of the culture that they find interesting or perhaps even their interest in hosting an exchange student in their own homes.

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Learn about the Host Country and Family

Once the application has been submitted and approved, students will be provided with the details surrounding their trip, including the date of the trip and some basic information about the host family. At this point, students should immediately begin correspondence with their host family; contact information will be provided by the exchange student program. Some of the most important things students can learn about their new temporary homes include the culture, the laws, the arts and the different forms of entertainment. If students are able to select their own course of academic study, they should also contact their host school for a list of available classes.

Becoming an exchange student does not have to be a difficult process, but students who prepare themselves ahead of time are more likely to have their applications approved. Student exchanges are among the best ways for young people to experience new ways of life, both academically and personally.

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