How Far Will the Pendulum Swing for Rules Governing High School Exchange Students?

We recently received a note from the exchange program we work with notifying us about a new program rule: host parents who speak the language of their exchange student (even as a non-native) will be asked to sign a statement that says that host parents will “only” communicate with their student in English. On the […]

The Half-Year Exchange: An Easier or Harder Road to Navigate?

A little over a year ago, in January 2013, my then-18-year-old son left the United States to go on a six-month exchange to Ghana.  He was working as a volunteer teaching assistant rather than attending high school, and he was part of a close-knit exchange group.  He had the usual fears and ups-and-downs that an […]

F-1 Visas for High School Exchange Students: Flexibility in Study Abroad or an Unresolved Problem?

Last year I wrote a blog post on the differences between F-1 and J-1 visas for high school exchange students, intended as a summary of concrete information on the pros and cons of each visa. Since then, I have received many private messages through from host families asking for help with their F-1 visa […]

Study Abroad as an Element of Diplomacy

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has received many positive reactions to her push for cultural exchange and global education.  In 2010, she energized the cultural and education exchange industry with a speech that barely lasted 1½ minutes.  In her comments, she stated that student exchange still serves a purpose, even in the 21st century.  Student […]

Guest Blog: On #Sochiproblems as I See Them

Today I am publishing a guest blog by Vicki Boykis; it’s a reminder that we need to remember how we all view the world through different lenses based on our origins, our upbringing, and more.  You can see the original blog post from February 7, 2014, visit Vicki’s blog, and contact her here. –Laura, the […]

The Second Half of the Exchange Year: All Fun and Games?

The second half of the exchange year is the perfect time to relax with your student and enjoy the relationship.  By now, your student knows your house rules, is familiar with how things work at school, and probably has made a few friends. So nothing to worry about, right?  I certainly hope that’s true, and […]

The Exchange Year, Phase Two: As the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

The old proverb cited above describes nicely where we are now in the cycle of the educational exchange year.  This is for my students, and the thousands of other high school exchange students trying to muddle through a semester or year that is harder than they expected: The “gets tough” side:  You have had the […]