Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve probably got some questions. Here are some of the most frequent questions from our students and hosts. Still curious? Contact us.

Student Exchange

Why to go on an exchange program?

It’s an amazing opportunity to learn a lot about yourself, a different country and cultures as well as practicing foreign language skills. Immersed in the culture and language of your chosen destination, you will live as a member of your host family, school and community.  You will be attending the local secondary school, making new friends, and gaining intercultural skills.

By the end of the program you will have gained new friends, a second family and have improved your language skills, besides expanding your horizons. The exchange experience is very rewarding but also very challenging and it will greatly benefit your future education and career opportunities.

Can I choose the country for my exchange program?

Yes! Just choose the destination you are the most interested in and we will take care of your travel arrangements and make this dream come true!

To go on exchange do I need to know the language of my chosen country?

There are no formal languages requirements for our destination countries. However, as you will be attending a formal school and living with a local family, we highly recommend that you know the basics of the language.

Possessing some language skills will enable you to interact with people more easily and generally make your visit more comfortable and enjoyable. More importantly, your level of motivation and enthusiasm as well as your willingness to learn and embrace a different culture will all contribute to your experience.

Can I choose a specific location within the country I choose to visit?

You can let us know about your preference and we can do our best to try to accommodate but we cannot guarantee the placement. Students are matched and placed with volunteer families from all over the destination country. We prioritise the things you and the host family might have in common over the location in the country where you will be placed.  To make the most of your program it is important to be flexible and open minded.

Where will I live during my exchange program?

During your exchange, you will live with a host family.  When living with your host family, you will be a member of the family and will share the same privileges and responsibilities.  You will not be considered as a guest or tourist but a contributing, valued family member.  Accordingly, it is important to adjust your behaviour, obey the rules and respect the values and priorities of your host family.

Is my family required to host a student while I am away?

No, your family has no obligation to host a student while you are away.  However, the experience of welcoming an exchange student into your home can be a great way to get in touch with a different culture and learn many different things. Moreover, you will be able to show them some of your own culture.  And if you are thinking about going on exchange, that can be a great opportunity to learn how significant this experience is for both the student and the host family.

Who are host families and how they are selected?

Host families come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, just as they do at home. They might be similar or very different to your family. Host families can comprise of parents with teenage children, single parents, families without children, an older couple whose children have already grown up or same sex-couples. Whatever size or shape, the host families are open to receiving a student from overseas and to share the students’ learning experience.

Each host family is interviewed by our agency or our counterparts in each country and they are required to undergo screening procedures  and a criminal history check.

Can my friend and I go on exchange together?

You and your friend can apply for the same country/program, but you cannot be placed in the same host family. In our programs, host families are not allowed to host two students from the same nationality at the same time. We have this rule to encourage our students to make the most of their experience and really immerse themselves in the culture to develop their language skills, make new friends and connect to the new community where they are staying.

How do I apply?

You are welcome to call us on (08) 8379 5726 or send an email to info@studentsoftheworld.com.au or to express your interest on our website here.  Once you have expressed interest, we will contact you to explain the program in further detail and assist you with the application process.

Can I travel by myself around the country during my exchange program?

No, independent travel is not allowed on this program. As a minor living in a foreign country, you are under the responsibility of your host family and they have a duty of care toward you. You may have the opportunity to travel with your host family on holidays or weekend trips, or on a school excursion, but you are not allowed to travel without the supervision of those responsible for you.

Could I extend my stay in the host country to travel after I finish school?

It depends. There are two scenarios where it may be possible to extend your stay. The first one would be if your parents join you after the program is over and you then travel with your family. The second would be if you turn 18 years old overseas, meaning you would be legally capable to travel by yourself. However, for this last option to happen, we need to organise all documents and release forms with your family and our agents beforehand.

What if I have a problem with my host family?

There will be a local coordinator on hand to assist you with any difficulties you may have while overseas. If you have an issue, please do not hesitate to contact him/her to get some help. It’s very important that you raise your concerns and struggles to your local coordinator so they can help you.

Keep an open mind and try to understand that the culture and customs might be different from what you are used to. If the issues cannot be solved, as a last resort, we will move you to a different host family.

What if I want to stay with a family I already know in the country?

If you already have a family arranged for your exchange, you can stay with them. Students of The World will then only provide support with school, flights, insurance etc.

Will I need a visa?

It depends on the type of program you choose as well as the destination country. For example, for short programs in European Union countries, a visa is not required for less than a 3 months stay.  However, for programs exceeding 90 days, a visa will be required. But no need to worry, if you need to apply for a visa, we can assist you throughout the entire process (visa costs are not included in the program fee).

Can I choose my departure and return dates?

Yes! We are very flexible and can tailor the program to attend all your needs. Please get in touch with us to discuss your plans, and we can set up a program specially for you.

Will I have to repeat my school year when I get home from an exchange?

It depends. This is a decision to be made in consultation with your school or education authority and your parents. It is important to speak with your school early in the process about how being an exchange student will impact your enrolment. This may differ according to whether you participate on a short or a long program, or whether you have completed your schooling before participation commences.

How will I be supported while overseas?

We have local coordinators and partners in all of the countries that we send students to.  The local coordinators are available 24/7 to assist with any difficulties you might have. Our student coordinators from Australia are in regular contact with them to best support you throughout your experience.

Why aren’t the shorter programs cheaper?

Some of the shorter programs are on offer during peak airfare seasons, increasing the price of the program.  Regardless of the length of the program, Australian and overseas staff have the same responsibilities for selection, host family placement, bookings, staffing, support and accessibility.  For these reasons, there is not a huge variation in price between the programs.

Can my parents, friends or relatives visit me while I’m on my exchange?

We understand your family and friends can get very excited and might start making plans and book a holiday to visit you during the program. We kindly ask families to please NOT plan any trip without consulting Students of the World beforehand.

Most of our counterparts do not allow the natural families to visit their child during their program, however, some allow visits at the end of the program. Our agents believe such visits can negatively  impact not only the student’s experience, but also their host families.

If families would like to visit, we can consider the possibility on a case by case basis. Please let us know of your plans and we can discuss it together.

How much pocket money should I bring for my trip?

We recommend students bring $100/week (in the currency of their destination) with them to pay for personal items, transport to and from school, school lunches, activities with friends and so on.

When should I apply for the program?

2020 application deadlines are TBC.

We usually recommend students submit their application as early as possible to ensure they are suitable for the program and fulfil all of the requirements. We can then prepare all the necessary documentation and plan the whole program in conjunction with your school and our partner agents.

Can I extend my program once I’m already overseas?

Yes, definitely! You just need to let us know sometime before the end of your program.  This way we have enough time to organise everything for you. However, this extension might involve extra fees as we need to change your flight schedule as well as change arrangements with our partner agents.

Hosting Students

Who can host an exchange student?

Our host families come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. They can be parents with children, single parents, families without children, an older couple whose children have already grown up or same sex-couples. Whatever size or shape, as long as the host families are open to receiving a student from overseas and sharing their home and hearts, they will be considered for the role.

What are the requirements to become a host family?

The host family must agree to undergo screening procedures including; clearance checks e.g. Working with Children Checks, provide references and allow a house visit and family interview conducted by one of our staff. We also require the adults within the family to read and adhere to our child safety policies, procedures and code of conduct. These procedures are in place to comply with our child safe policies.

The house visit is also a great way for our staff members to get to know your family and answer any questions you might have.

How do we become a host family?

Click here to express your interest, call us on (08) 8379 5726 or send us an email to info@studentsoftheworld.com.au

Do the students speak English?

Most students speak and understand English quite well. However, as a non-native speaker, they might need some occasional help and count on your patience at the beginning, while they get used to speaking and hearing English.

Do the family get to choose the student they will host?

Yes. Once we have details about your family profile, interests and hosting preferences we will send you a few student profiles that could be suitable. In their profile you will find their first name, any special requirements, hobbies and a letter they have written to their prospective host family. This information can help you select a student whom you think will best fit into your family.

What are the responsibilities as a host family?

Your responsibility is to welcome the student into your home as a member of your family and provide the same care and support you would give to your own children. Students should have their own bed and own bedroom if possible. If necessary, they can share a bedroom with a sibling of the same gender and similar age, provided both children are comfortable with this arrangement.

Host families also provide the student with meals. Students are expected to help with simple chores, follow curfew and abide by the household rules as you would expect of your own children.

Do students have health insurance?

All students who come to Australia will have comprehensive travel insurance that includes medical cover.  Host families are not expected to include exchange students in their own insurance policies.

What are the main challenges when hosting a student?

When students first arrive, they might feel a bit shy in their new environment.  It usually only takes a few days until they feel comfortable around the house. The language barrier can be a challenge, especially at the beginning, but as the student becomes more comfortable with listening and speaking English, communication will improve.

Due to cultural differences, sometimes cooking for the student can be a challenge. We always encourage discussions surrounding this, and even promoting the student to help in the kitchen can work well. Both student and host family should keep an open mind with trying new cuisines.

It is quite common for the student to feel homesick at times. They might need some extra care and support to get through these feelings.

Although we match host families and students based on interests, personalities etc; occasionally the student might not get along with a member of the host family. Most of these cases can be resolved with a discussion and assistance from Students of the World.  If the issue cannot be resolved, we would then work toward moving the student to another host family.

What support will the host family receive during the student’s stay?

Students of the World provides host families and exchange students with full support for the whole hosting period. We contact both the host family and the student to make sure everyone is having a positive experience. We have a 24-hour emergency phone so are always available to help with any difficulties that might arise.

Can I host more than one student?

Yes, definitely! As long as they are from different countries and you can provide them with a bedroom and own bed.  The bedroom can be shared with a host sibling that is the same gender and a similar age.

Where do students go to school?

The Student will be enrolled in a secondary school in your area. Our office can organise the enrolment with the school, however the host family might be asked to assist with finalising the enrolment and helping the student to purchase their uniform once they arrive.