Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Destination for foreign exchange student

Destination for foreign exchange student

Old Oct 10th, 2005, 08:02 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 114
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Destination for foreign exchange student

My daughter is considering a year abroad as a foreign exchange student with Rotary International. She was interested in Germany but does not meet the language requirements. The same is true for France and Spain. So now she is really lost as to where she would like to go. As I have never travelled anywhere in Europe or Asia, I can't provide any insight.

Some of the countries she has shown some interest in include Japan, Czech Republic, and Austria. Yet she is totally open to options at this point.

Does anyone have any experience either as an exchange student or the parent of an exchange student? Or any recommendations for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?


crest332 is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 08:23 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,672
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I spent a semester of college in Siena, Italy as an exchange student. It was probably the best experience of my life. I had only taken one semester of Italian prior to going so I spoke no Italian, other than very basic greetings. I lived with a family who spoke no English so it was "sink or swim." I learned enough while there to get by pretty well and it wasn't a problem at all.

I say she should go for it. It probably doesn't matter what country she ultimately goes to. Living with a family, like a local, is a truly eye opening, life altering experience. It's something you can't get from sitting in a classroom or from books. You really learn to appreciate different cultures and consequently, become much more open-minded about the world and of others.

My recommendation would be to pick a program that places your daughter with a family, not in a dorm. She will become part of the family. I called my Italian mother and father "mamma" and "babo" and they intrduced me to people as their daughter. I had two "sisters" and a "brother" and was completely welcomed into the family. I went on family outings, to a wedding, furniture shopping with them. There is no substitute for actually living with a family.
laurieco is online now  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 09:44 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 13,178
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was an exchange student in the 70s.I was selected by my high school. I went to Northern Europe and it was a great experience. Back then, Europe and some of Central America were basically the only places offered to go to. I had a great time and have been in regular contact with my host family for over 30 years. My host sister was just here a few months ago and I've been going there almost annually for 20+ years. If Thailand is on the list these days and I were exchange-student age again, then I'd go to Thailand. I love Thailand and travel there regularly for vacations. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 10:13 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,120
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i would ask my child what do you want to do in your professional life. for example, if she wants to be a european history teacher, then i think austria would be a logical choice, as she will benefit from the visit. if she want to be in international finance, japan, most certainly china, might be the choices there.

after she becomes successful in her professional life, she can go to germany/france/spain or wherever, hire a driver and guide and have a nice vacation, like many successful fodorites.
kuranosuke is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 10:26 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,513
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I can't give you very much information except to echo laurieco's sentiments in that my exchange experience was one of the best experiences of my life and at 16 it taught me so much and I feel really set me on a good path. I went to Japan and like laurieco I was very much a member of the family and introduced as such. I felt totally loved my the family. Japan was a huge cultural difference for me and I had only done "emergency" Japanese before I left. I really can't express the value of the whole experience. I hope your daughter gets to go.
J
jules39 is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 10:41 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,834
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I also did an exchange when I was 16 and agree with the above posters that it was a great experience. As kuranosuke has suggested, I would try to work with your daugther to pick a destination that fits her current and future interests. Also consider what the classes/school will be like and make sure she would not be falling behind at home. I also agree that living with a host family is key to really experiencing the country and culture. In my opinion, the experience would be less worthwhile if she were just hanging out with other American kids in a dorm type situation.
cruisinred is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 04:59 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 13,178
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Where ever she goes it will be a learning and cultural experience. When I was selected,at age 17, I had no choice...nor did anyone else... as to where to go. I was assigned to a country which was just fine with me. And as far as it having to be tied to my professional interest...well...that wasn't important to me at all. A couple of weeks after I got home, I entered university as a freshman with a major that ended up getting completing changed to something TOTALLY different by my sophmore year anyway...due to my exchange student experience. So, by ruling out countries that may not be connected with what she "Thinks" she might want to do in her professional life...she might be missing exposure to countries that might spark an interest that she never knew she had. I, personally, went into university planning to go to medical or dental school, but because of my great exchange experience ended up graduating with a major in the literature and language of my host family which helped me tremendously in getting into graduate school and into the profession I have now had for 25 years. Had I selected a country connected to a then-thought future profession in medicine, I would have NEVER had the profession I have now. I think it would be culturally great to go to Southeast Asia or Africa and experience something totally different.One of my best friends went off to Nigeria for a year back in the mid 70s and studied at the University at Ibadan. She also spent time in Ghana during that same year...which she absolutely loved. The cultural experience that she got was beyond incredible and she still talks about it fondly. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2005, 12:52 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 114
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you all for your responses.
A few weeks ago my daughter had to submit her top five choices. She was advised that she is likely to get her first or second choice but must be willing to accept any of the five. She selected, in order, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, Czech Republic and Venezuela.

She has a panel interview this Saturday, then a weekend 'interview' the following week. Shortly after that we will know if she's been selected but we will not find out where she is going until January.
crest332 is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2005, 01:08 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,894
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow, I am sorry I missed this when it was originally posted a month ago. I am a Rotarian and have been a member of our local chapter's Youth Exchange Committee for 5 years. We have had inbound students from Thailand, Taiwan, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy and outbound students to Ecuador, Spain, Italy, France and Germany. The Rotary program is unique in that it costs the students nothing except for their airfare and some nominal expenses (medical exams, insurance and spending money over what the host Rotary club provides). One of our great pleasures is having the inbound students over for a home-cooked meal each year but the greatest reward is seeing how much our returning outbound students have been changed by the experience in terms of increased self-confidence and outlook on the world. I can't say enough positive about this program.

As to your specific concern about where she might end up going, Rotary is a volunteer organization that basically relies on our US clubs' contacts abroad. So, we will do our best to meet your daughter's desires but I can tell you that it really doesn't matter where she goes - she'll pick up the language out of necessity (she'll want to eat!) and when she comes home she'll actually be dreaming in the language of her host country as she sleeps.

This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will enhance her resume for years to come and improve her chances of getting into the college of her choice.

Post back if you have any other questions about the process or the experience.
Craig is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2005, 01:10 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When I was in high school (long ago!!) we got our first exchange student EVER in my small town. He came to us from Holland. I was nearly ready to graduate by that time, so the idea of studying abroad was totally foreign to me. Had I had the chance, I would have taken it, for sure!! I probably would have wanted to go to France, as I had learned French in H.S.

Now that I'm older and wiser, and have traveled to about 35 countries on five continents, I'd pick a different place to study. A more unique culture, such as one finds in Asia, would be my first choice now.

I think it is wonderful that your daughter is getting the opportunity to do this. And to guenmai and laurieco and others on this forum who had those experiences in your younger days, I'll bet it played a big part in the life you have now, traveling the world!

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2005, 03:16 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,672
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I had actually been to Europe twice before going to live in Italy as a student. My parents brought me to Europe when I was 13 (I turned 14 in Paris). It was one of those whirlwind 9 countries in 22 days (If you count Lichenstein, Luxenburg and Monaco as countries!) A few years later, I went to Vienna to visit my sister and her husband, who were living there, and took a weekend trip to Budapest, when it was still behind "the iron curtain." By the time the exchange program came around, about 6 years later, I already knew I loved to travel and wanted to live abroad. It was a no brainer for me. The only problem was figuring out how to get my parents to pay for it. It turned out to be no problem at all, they said yes immediately.
laurieco is online now  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
khoft
United States
7
Aug 30th, 2013 07:24 AM
laclaire
Europe
13
Aug 16th, 2006 07:48 AM
Mbfr07
Europe
12
Jan 30th, 2006 04:33 AM
magnumholmes
United States
24
Dec 29th, 2004 01:30 PM
mwessel
Asia
7
Jul 29th, 2004 09:23 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information