Wry Exchange

Deciding on an Exchange Program
09-05-07, 6:44 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program | Tags: , , , ,

If you want to host or be an exchange student, the best way to decide on a program is to ask current exchange students if they are pleased with their organization.  Of course, that only works if you can find exchange students…and they are happy…..hmm…
Go online, Google exchange student programs.  Get confused.  I just googled ‘high school exchange’ and read a few of the sites that were on top.  Don’t they sound great? AFS, YFU, and AYUSA all have super looking websites. hmm….
I checked out prices, and had to call husband in disbelief.  One program was over $12,000.00 for a year in Chile.  Holy shit!  Twelve grand!  Chile!  I want my blog to be anonymous, but now I want to tell all of you the name of my program so you can host and go abroad with my group. hmm…
Wanna know what you get with my program?  We have monthly meetings for all students-inbound and potential outbound.  The students learn how to be good global citizens and student ambassadors.  Each student has a counselor living nearby in the same community, they also have an inbound or outbound coordinator, and the person who sets up their country exchange-in both countries. The counselors should see the students weekly.  If the kids or host families have a problem, someone is always available.   They receive their uniform jacket, business cards, trading pins, basic health insurance, monthly stipend, and training.  
Wanna know the price? 
Outbound students pay for their Visas, passports, airfare, and a program fee.  Our program fee is under $1,000.00.  We tell the students how the fee is broken down, too.  Their basic health insurance is included, but a few countries require buying into national healthcare.  Students receive a monthly stipend of approximately seventy-five dollars.
Inbound students are the same except for program fees. The fees may be different, but the students tell us they pay less than their friends who go out with other programs.
We have a website, and we’re legit.  We just run an all-volunteer exchange.  We don’t have a ‘small staff at headquarters.’  We have people who fit volunteering in around their work and family.  We watch our pennies.    If a student needs financial help, we scrounge around for money.  We’re just people trying to make the world a better place.  hmm…
Edited to add: The counselor and monthly meetings are important points because some programs don’t have nearby counselors-counselors can live up to 2 hours or 150 miles away.  Sometimes, kids are just dumped in a family and left to fend for themselves.  If the student isn’t assertive, it can be a long, lonely, miserable year.   Read my post ‘When Shouldn’t I Host.’


5 Comments so far
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hmm, oh my god, what could your program be?!?! its such a toughy. but its a truly amazing program :D. I just wish they would investigate some hostfamilys further and such. like you dont want to be living with some wierd psycho hypocondriac family that has no time for the kid. i know its an odd example, but im sure its happened…

Comment by M

OK, smartass,the next post is going to be about you.

Comment by Wry

My student paid over $10,000 in program fees. That did not include any of her paperwork, her airline ticket, or her school (she’s going to a private school). The costs these programs charge just make it harder on the students and their families.

Comment by kat

[…] my previous posts: Deciding on a program Where to go Country Assignments Passport advice No Comments so far Leave a […]

Pingback by Not My Kid-No More Starving Exchange Students « Wry Exchange

sorry to dispute what you say, but the price depends on the location too. My fee is much more than 1000, about 6000 I think in all. But it is still cheeper than other programs by quite a bit. I think most areas the price is close to what you said, just not everywhere.

also, as always, a very informational post….just a bit off on price for everyone.

Comment by Nicole

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