Every year, an increasing amount of students choose to study abroad. A U.S. News & World Report study showed that the number of students obtaining an education abroad had grown from 2.1 million in 2001 to 4.6 million in 2017. During that time period, the United States has remained the top destination for international students. For students who want to learn English, there are many different countries to choose from. And yet, more than other English speaking countries, students choose America. While we get ready to celebrate Independence Day tomorrow, we thought it would be fun to hear from our students who will be arriving this fall what makes them excited to come here!
Ana, from Spain: I have chosen the USA because people are open minded and I like the hospitality that Americans have. I also want to go and improve my English and have good experiences there. I want to live with an American family because my friends who have gone had a good experience.
Ed, from China: I’ve heard American food is delicious. I hope I’ll taste some homemade American food!
Astrid, from China: The reason why I chose to go to America is I like the American culture, and I like the open and free attitude of American people. I want to learn English well and learn more about American culture.
As we take time to celebrate America, we also reflect on how we are seen around the world. Diplomacy begins and ends with people crossing cultures and borders to get to know each other. Hosting one exchange student might feel like an insignificant act in the grand scheme of international relations, but every single student returns home from their program with a new view of their host country, and this view spreads to everyone they interact with at home. By hosting an exchange student, families have a real opportunity to impact the future of diplomacy between America and the rest of the world. As exchange students continue to come to the United States to learn firsthand about our culture, we will continue to be grateful to the families, teachers, and individuals who take it upon themselves to show them what it means to be American.
For more information on how to get involved, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our photolisting and get to know our students!Read More
June is always a bittersweet time in the office. As we get excited for our new students to arrive, we also have to say goodbye to the students who have made the US their home over the last 10 months. It’s hard to believe that only last year they were preparing for this experience. We thought it would be fun to read the letters they wrote before arriving and see how they changed and grew through the experience. We’ve highlighted three students below:
Elaine thoroughly enjoyed learning about American culture over the year – ESPECIALLY celebrating holidays the American way! She dressed up for Halloween with her siblings and wrote her host parents and grandparents thank you notes at Thanksgiving. She even wrapped presents for her host family for Christmas and filmed the whole process!
Irati hoped for a little sister and wound up spending the school year with two little sisters AND a little brother! She thoroughly enjoyed all the time she spent with them. From watching sporting events together to traveling across the country on family vacations, she’s fully embraced her host family and gets to count them as members of her extended family!
While we are sad to say goodbye, we are excited for our new students to arrive! In a few months, they’ll have the chance to live out everything they wrote about before arrival. We can’t wait to hear about them watching their first football game, picking out Halloween costumes, and teaching their host families about where they’re from.
If you are interested in joining one of our students on the adventure of a lifetime, visit our photolisting and learn about the students who are still available to be hosted! Reach out to email@example.com with any questions!Read More
Participating in exchange programs carries many benefits, such as learning about a new culture and acquiring or improving a new language. Working with our students from around the world, we have seen this firsthand. While one of the more obvious goals is for students to learn about a new culture, they also wind up learning so much about themselves. It has been such an honor to play a small role in this personal growth for students coming to the US, and we look forward to doing so for years to come. However, we’re also passionate about giving that opportunity to students in America who are curious to learn more about themselves and world around them. That’s why we are so excited to be launching ACE – our very first outbound exchange program!
What is ACE?
We are thrilled to be returning to our roots for ACE, which stands for Adoptee Cultural Exchange. Alongside our parent company, Great Wall China Adoption, we have partnered with a leading international adoption agency in Spain to create an exchange opportunity between Chinese adoptees living in the United States and Spain.
The exchange will take place this summer. First, American children will travel to enjoy 3 weeks in Spain. They will live with a family who has also adopted from China. Then, children from both countries will return to the United States to share another 3 weeks of vacation together. Through 6 weeks of summer fun, each child has the opportunity to share feelings and experiences with another child who has traveled the same journey as them. The children will be hosted in homes where adoption and everything it entails is treated as normal.
International adoption can involve confusion in identity and belonging for the child. Experiencing a new culture will allow the adoptees to better internalize that difference is positive and enriching. In their daily lives, they are accustomed to experiencing cultural similarity and physical differences. With ACE, the similarities will be physical and the differences cultural. It is our hope that this will aid the children in their process of cultural and ethnic identification.
This program is open to any Chinese adoptee between the ages of 14 and 19. The American children will travel to Spain on July 2, 2018. They’ll return to the US with their Spanish counterpart on July 23. The Spanish children will remain until August 12.
Families will pay a fee of $2,500. This includes program facilitation, insurance, flights, room and board for the child while in Spain, and 24/7 support from GWCA and ACI.
Questions? Click here for more information or to receive a copy of our info packet. We are so excited to be starting this journey and hope that you will join us!Read More
It’s getting hot outside, and that can only mean one thing: we are getting close to summer break! Soon, kids all over the world will be trading homework for fun in the sun. Everyone has a favorite summer activity, whether it’s swimming, sports, watermelon eating contests, or enjoying a good book inside with AC! And just like American kids, our exchange students have their preferred ways to enjoy the summer.
Penny from China loves to swim when it’s hot outside. In addition to being able to cool off, she says it’s a great way to stay strong. You’re more likely to find Federico from Spain inside during the summer, where he’s reading books, watching films (his favorite genre is horror) or listening to The Beatles and Bob Dylan. Amos enjoys playing soccer in his home country of China, but he says he’s hoping to learn basketball in the US. When it gets too hot outside at home, you might find him practicing calligraphy that his grandfather taught him. Maybe he could teach you a thing or two! Ana from Spain spends her summer traveling and playing as many sports as possible – her favorites are basketball and tennis.
While our students have different interests, they all have the same dream of spending a year in the United States with a loving host family. They can’t wait to go for a hike with you, learn your favorite sport, and just become another member of the family. SAE is recruiting host families all summer long – reach out today to keep the fun continuing all throughout the 2018/19 school year!
To learn more about our students and all of their diverse interests, check out our photolisting here!
Or, if you’re ready to host one of these awesome students, fill out a free host family application here.Read More
As summer draws to an end, our exchange students are getting so excited to come to the United States! While many of our students are matched with families who will be hosting them for the entire school year, we understand that some families are not able to commit for the full 10 month program. If your family has prior obligations during the school year or if you’re not quite sure you’re ready to host for a full year, SAE always welcomes short term host families!
Hosting a student as a welcome family is just one way to get involved in cultural exchange. As a welcome family, you serve as the bridge between a student’s culture and the United States. Welcome families host for 1-2 months and play an important role in helping students adapt to life in the United States! At the end of this period, the student moves in with a host family who will host them for the remainder of the school year. Most of the time, that permanent family will be located in the same school district as you, so you are still able to keep in touch with that student and be a part of their journey in America.
The best way to meet the students participating is by visiting our photolisting! If you’re interested in learning how to become a welcome family or a host family, inquire about one of our students or contact our Program Coordinators today!Read More
It’s time this week for SAE’s student letters featuring one of our Chinese students – Nicole! Nicole sent in probably our staff’s favorite photo album, showing her growing up alongside Flora (her golden retriever!) since she was very young. She even threw Flora a 13th birthday party recently. What a sweet kid! Every week, we feature one or two student letters of kids applying to our program for the upcoming school year. It’s a great way to learn more about a student and find out if he or she is a good fit for your family! You can meet all of our students on our photolisting and submit a FREE application to receive a photo album and video for any of the kids in the program.
Student Letters: Meet Nicole!
Dear Host Family:
I’m Nicole a 15-year-old student. It’s really a great honor for me to be an exchange student. I’m so excited about this project. First of all, please let me sincerely introduce myself to you.
Differing from other traditional Chinese family, we have so many family members, including a golden retriever whose name is Flora. She is 2 years younger than me; An African grey parrot, he is 1 year old ,can repeat his name very well; Two lovely cats and three turtles. I can get along well with them and they bring me happiness and joy. I have good relationships with my parents, they support me and help me when I’m in trouble. They’re sometimes strict with me, but I still understand and respect them. After all, they consider everything for my future.
Among all my hobbies, I love reading the best. There is a bookshelf in my bedroom. I’m interested in psychology and history, I hope I can learn more about these during my study in US. I love US culture indeed. In fact, I’m a Brony and a crazy fan of Star Wars. As you see, I love watching movies and animation cartoons. And these help me improve my English speaking and listening skills a lot. I often take an active part in community activities, For example, I joined 10 Km Marathon Race. That was really tiring but hones my will.
I used to be an average student, And I was always upset about my bad scores in school .Through my efforts, I dealt with all the difficulties day and night. After a long time, I finally became the outstanding one. I won respect and attention from my teachers and schoolmates. I am an active and optimistic girl, sometimes a bit naughty. I’m good at teamworks and know the importance of team spirit. Because of my sense of humor and innovation ideas, I’m popular among my friends. We all had a very good time. And I believe I’ll bring laughter and gaiety to your family.
My parents and I often travel abroad, We visited many countries such as Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and US. The culture and customs in US had left me a deep impression, The Yellow Stone National Park was the best attraction I have ever seen. I really enjoyed myself during the journey in US.
To be frank, being an exchange student in US is totally challenging and a new beginning for me. If I am lucky enough, I want to attend the US college entrance examination. However, I still have a few habits that need to be corrected. For example, my attention to other things causes great distractions in my daily life. I’ll try my best to get rid of it.
In the end, thank you very much indeed for reading this letter, if you want someone who is good at taking care of pets and easygoing, please consider me as a member of your family.
May the force be with you!
Check out Nicole’s profile on our photolisting to read a letter from his parents and meet all of our students from abroad. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a host family, reach out to one of our Program Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us about hosting Nicole!
We interview students to tell us about why student exchange was so important – from what it’s like, to what they miss, to what they loved. It gives an inside peek to the student’s mentality and helps families understand how amazing it is to be a part of this journey with the student!
Tell us why you wanted to study abroad:
I wanted to learn another language, experience another culture, and open myself up to new ideas. Growing up in a small town, I was always curious about the world around me, and student exchange seemed like an amazing way to really become a part of the world.
Do you keep in touch with anyone you met studying abroad?
Yes!! I’m actually meeting up with a friend I met from study abroad tomorrow – we are still close years later and keep in touch. I have a few great friends that I made out of studying abroad, and it really helps me stay connected to all of the things I learned and love while living there.
What did you miss most from home?
I’ll never tell them this…but my parents! I cried at first and definitely missed my mom, but the more I got used to being away, the easier it became to be excited to share my new experiences with her rather than spend my time missing home. I also never thought about how easy it is to get around when everyone speaks the same language as you. Trying to navigate my new town the first few weeks was terrifying – but it forced me to use my language skills! I came out so much strong because of this.
What was the coolest thing you did or saw when you studied abroad?
Seeing all of the history of this place I had never been to before was so amazing. You learn the history of your own country, and you know about the history of others, but once you really see it you begin to understand how other cultures and countries came to be the way they are.
If you could give one piece of advice to another exchange student, what would it be?
Be open to anything – it will all seem scary until you try it. Studying abroad is the perfect time to try things you might be too timid or scared to do at home. Make a new friend, say a new word, whatever it is – just do it!
Want to tell us why student exchange was important to you? Send us your stories! Email us at email@example.com to send us a story or if you’re interested in being a part of a student’s life through hosting! Visit our photolisting to meet the students waiting for their life to change with the journey of student exchange.Read More
We are so excited to welcome one of our Spanish students, Unai, to the United States this year! Unai made
an amazing video to introduce himself to his host family before he arrives. Watch the video below to “Meet Unai” to find out what students in our hosting program are like, visit our photolisting to meet all of our students, submit a short application to receive videos of students still waiting for their host families, or contact one of our Program Coordinators to find out how you can get matched with a student today!
One of the hardest transitions for some of our foreign exchange students is choosing a name. For students from cultures with languages very different from English in the United States, many students choose an “English” name to identify by at first, later teaching their host families and new friends their name in their own language. Some students even love the opportunity to pick out a name for themselves, naming themselves after favorite sports stars or important figures in history. This year, we’re excited to welcome three Jacks (Jack, Jacky, and Jackie!) to the program. Each one of these kids offers something special to whichever host family he ends up staying with. Read below to “Meet the Jacks,” and submit a FREE host family application to receive a video of Jack introducing himself in person!
Meet the Jacks
MY dear host family：
Here I am always eagerly looking forward to attain an opportunity to stay with you! Primarily, please allow me to make a brief self-introduction to you before we meet in America.
My English name is Jack. I’m from China. I am a 15-year-old boy who is always outgoing, optimistic, talkative and kind-hearted but also a little bit nervous and unconfident while encounter with a lot of people. Besides, I am always ready to help others in need, so I have a multitude of lifelong friends!
As for my hobbies, I love playing basketball and listening to music, drawing, riding bike and I wonder if you have a pet like dogs that will be wonderful, because I dogs are my favorite animal. So if you have a dog too, I will be agog to meet her/him.
Furthermore, I study in Chengdu No.7 middle school, and because of my poor math, my grades are always in the middle. On the other hand, I think that my P.E is not bad, and I love exercise. Plus my Chinese is actually really good, so if you are interested in Chinese, I am happy to tell you something about it.
First of all, the reason why I want to study in America is that my dream is becoming a basketball player and I think America is the origin of basketball. NBA is the best association in the world, I love its culture, and I want to feel this culture. And plus, I think that American education is more suitable for me ,it can give me plenty of time to do what I want to do , I love freedom that is second reason that I love America. And the most important reason is that the United States is a country that has the most advanced technology. And the education system there encourages origination and creativity. The freedom people enjoy in the U.S. cultivates a culture that is generating millions of new ideas. Being educated in the U.S. will definitely change my life. I will work hard and take every bit of benefit from the opportunity of studying in the United States. I understand there will be difficulties that I have to face. English language is hard for me. There will be culture shock, homesick. However, I feel I am fully charged and ready to face the challenge.
Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to having a wonderful year with you and your family.
Sincerely yours, Jack
My dear host family:
Thank you for considering me as a part of your family.
My English name is Jacky. I am a 16 years old boy desiring knowledge and really excited about this special opportunity of spending a year studying in the U.S. My family and I got to know J-1 cultural exchange program through a friend of my mother. I have never lived in a foreign country before, so I think this would be a very good chance for me to learn US culture and introduce my own culture at the same time. My parents will be very proud of me because I will be the first one in my family and extended family to study abroad. To me, this chance will provide me a wider scene of the world and show me American life style and culture.
I am living in China. Currently I am attending grade 10. My city is a very beautiful tourist city in the province. Thanks to this, I can travel around my city easily and gain such memories of so many nice places. The attractive environment and natural landscapes bolster my city’s reputation as a garden city and a model city of best living environment. It is the third city in the province earning the largest foreign exchange from international tourism, the local government is constantly improving the existing tourist spots and exploring new tourist resources. I was impressed by the long long sea of my area. Over the Ocean Avenue has a large screen and there the children couldn’t stop playing with marine related straight 4D animation. Street lined with tall pillars, each roof is decorated very beautiful, there are numerous color starfish, coral, really let people feel as to the bottom of the sea world. Step over the Ocean Avenue, really into the ocean Kingdom, here are many animal exhibition hall, can watch the dolphins, clever beluga, lovely elephant, manatee, beautiful coral, exquisite small starfish, shells and precious sturgeon. A variety of marine life make people too busy to attend to all a superb collection of beautiful things.
I have various interests. I love science and sports, especially making model planes. In 2014, I participated in the my city’s Teenager Science and Technology Innovation Contest. I ranked the seventh and won the second prize . I was the only one who makes model planes among participants. I was selected a team number to participate in the third province Teenagers’ Science Experience Activity , and won the second prize in physics group in the final . I also have learned Latin dance continuously for 5 years in my childhood and have won prizes in the competitions of provincial and city level for many times . And I also have learned to play the piano and some Chinese traditional musical instruments for a short time. For sports, I like playing ping- pang, badminton, basketball and swimming. In 2012-2013 , I participated in the Audition of the TV show Rong Hong after showing my talent and was selected by the TV crew to play the role of someone in the movie, one of the children sent to study in the U.S. It took 18 days to complete the filming. This is my first contact with the film.
Since my childhood, my mother has paid great attention in my ability to make a speech. I was selected as the outstanding representative to give a speech under the national flag in the school and participated the school speech contest for many times. In Grade 8, I won the first prize in the Dream of See, Journey of Youth Middle School Students Speech Contest with the highest score in my school, and represented my school to participate in the speech contest of city level , and won the excellent award . In addition I have won prizes in writing for several times. I also have an article won the second prize in Moving You and Me, Endless Care Writing Contest held by my city’s Federation of the disabled.
I have a warm family. My mother and father are teachers. She takes pride in her career and always tries to make an effort to complete her mission best as she can. She sometimes works until midnight to correct students’ homework. However, no matter how much she has spent on her job, she is a neat and lenient mother to me. Every evening I get home from school, she waits me in the dining room with dinner that she just made. She also teaches me living skills like cooking and washing clothes. We often share what we see and hear every time we spend time together. My father often tells me interesting knowledge in Physics, and that’s how my interest in science and technology developed.
My responsibility in my family is to wash dishes or clothes sometimes after school. Also, I enjoy cooking with my parents in the evening, greatly relaxed after a long day of studying. I’d like to be a help in your house too.We not usually dine out because they like to cook by themselves. When it’s dinner time, my father tells me the global economical and political situations, and I tell him about my school life. Both of us share true feeling to each other. We have been really good friends, even though we argue a few times. Re-logic (in Chinese) is my dog’s name, he has been so close to me that I call him ‘son’. He has become our family member 2 years ago, I still remember how afraid he was when he first came to my family. Now he grows really fast and builds solid relationship between us. Usually I go out for a walk with him on weekends, he rushes to the door and waits for me every time I call ‘come on and play”. The happiness he brought me is the best memories during years of hard-working.
I greatly appreciate for your consideration for hosting me as an exchange student. I wish you could come to China someday, and I will be very happy to take you to my city if you like. I hope to spend a year with you and your family together, and learn American culture. It would be a very unique experience to add to my life. I look forward to meeting you soon.
Dear host family：
My name is Jackie, a male student from China. I’m looking forward to my near future’s study in the US. And this letter is to assure you that I will be an appropriate host student.
I’m 16 now, and I’m in my first year in high school. I’m the only child in my family, so I have a very close tie with my parents, who have been teaching me to be an independent, kind-hearted and hardworking person. Although it is true that my parents have a big influence on my life, I have always wanted to make decisions for my own life, which is why I plan to participate in this student exchange program.
Here in my city, I engage in a variety of social and campus activities. In the school, I am a member of the viola ensemble in the orchestra. We have a weekly rehearsal, and there are about four or five municipal competitions each semester with other schools. Last year, we even had a contest with a school from the US. I’m excited about music instruments, and I can play both the violin and the viola. Sometimes I play the violin to relax myself. In terms of sports, I like playing basketball, tennis and ping-pong. I play basketball every day after school and I am in the school basketball club. I play tennis every week. There’s a tennis field near my house, so it’s pretty convenient.
I am convinced that I can blend well into American family culture. Although I admit that there’s a big room for improvement for my English, communication won’t be a problem. I like making friends, and I’m always considered an easy-going person. I haven’t had any arguments with my friends or parents. So I believe my politeness and calmness are my favorable point as a host student. And when I’m alone, I will not feel bored because I love reading and listening to music. I’m also a very understanding person. To be specific, I always help people in need, and I don’t make a lot of noise in public occasions. So I think I would be a perfect fit into a host family.
Another reason that I want to make change in my life is that I’m disappointed at the way my current life is arranged in China. Basically, study takes up too much of my time and I am overwhelmed by my homework. I am trying to figure out a balance between my school and my off-campus life, but it always drives me crazy. I negotiated with my parents and we agreed that the student exchange program is a good idea. Since I made the decision, I feel more motivated, and I spend more time improving my English skills. I’m now preparing for the TOEFL, and I find it challenging but interesting.
I hope I can make the best of this trip to America. On one hand, I’m looking forward to enhancing my academic capabilities, particularly my English level. On another aspect, I hope from this experience, I will learn to adapt to the American culture, which will be critical for my future study and even work in the US. I expect to be admitted to a top university in the US and hopefully I can figure out what my academic interest is.
At last, thank you very much for your time to read this letter. I hope you can consider me as a member for your family.
Interested in learning more about hosting Jack, Jacky, Jackie, or any of the other students in SAE’s program? Visit our Host Family Page to find out what makes a good host family or contact one of our Local Coordinators using the form below!