Practical advice

Is exchange student life for everyone?

What is an exchange organization?

What is a host family?

  • Example of letter to host family from parents
  • Example of letter to host family from exchange student

What is a Boarding School?


  • How to know if you really want to be an exchange student.
  • Talk to your counselor at school.
    • Find out what scholastic requirements the school and your department of education have regarding exchange students.
    • Will your year abroad count with regards to your home school?
      • Authenticate transferable credit before you enrol in study abroad programs.
    • Read exchange blogs.
  • Decide which country you want to live in.
  • Will you be going with an exchange organization?
  • Discuss, with your parents, potential problems and how you can do to solve these if they occur?
  • Will you be travelling on your own? Some countries do not allow exchange students in to their country without an exchange organization – Japan.


  • Some countries have stipends for their exchange students.
  • Make sure you send in your applications before the deadlines.
  • Make sure you understand everything required of you to fulfill the stipulations of the stipend.

Documention required regardless of how you travel

Please copy important documents. Never give your passport or visa to host parents or exchange organization. Keep them locked in your suitcase.

  • Valid passport
  • Medical check-up
  • Vaccinations
  • Visa (Canada, USA)
  • Apply for time off from school. Make sure you enclose necessary documentation with application.
  • Travel- and health insurance. (OBS! Erika Insurance are owned by EF Education – be aware of potential conflict of interest)
  • School/host-family/contact information
  • Medical documents

School in host country

  • Choose subjects that are credited in your home country.
  • Maintain at least a C. Lower grades might get you sent home.
  • Remember to bring back documentation re grades and hours.

Travelling with an exchange organization

  • Decide which organization to use and apply.
  • Send application
  • Begin paying for trip (the organization expects you to have paid for the trip by the time you leave).
  • Transportation to your local airport.

Exchange year on your own

  • Decide which country.
  • Decide which school and apply – accept if you are offered a place.
  • Place to live.
  • Visa.
  • Airplane ticket.
  • Transportation from your home to exchange year home.

From home country to exchange country

  • Weight rules.
  • Toll regulations.
  • Copy of documents. You might be required to show these upon arrival in exchange country.
  • Enough medication for your exchange year.

Exchange country

Identification card should include
  • Student’s name and exchange number
  • Host-family name and address
  • Emergency numbers
Arrival in host-home
  • General knowledge of the place you are going to. You are not expected to know a lot about the new country.
  • General information about yourself and your home country (pictures etc). This will work as an ice-breaker.
  • Exchange students often change families. Sometimes a student will change families several times. Save your expensive gifts for the host family that works for you.
  • Follow rules.
  • Does visa/master card work in host country? Will you be able to use minibanks/ATMs?
  • Find a local bank and set up an account.
  • Remember to include pocket money in your budget.
  • Canada, USA, UK and Australia do not follow the metric system.
Electrical equipment
  • Adapter
  • Harddisk for pictures
  • Pre-paid cell phone. Retain your own cell phone.
    • Spy-ware / Surveillance
Home country family
  • Regular contact.
  • Inform them of all problems that arise with regard to school, host-family and exchange organization.
  • Parents may contact school and host family.


  • Changing host family
  • Death in the family
  • Natural disasters
  • Abuse: To whom do you turn?
  • Problems with exchange organization

These telephone numbers should be stored in your cell-phone before departure

Laws that protect exchange students

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