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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Volunteers needed for the first few weeks of school to serve as a welcome family to international students! By being a welcome family, you are contributing to understanding other cultures around the world and helping an international student make the first step of his or her journey in America!
A welcome family:
- provides a home and a warm welcome for a student for approximately 6-12 weeks while SAE identifies a permanent family within the same community
- gives your student an amazing start by letting him or her settle into the community, begin school, and get acclimated to American customs and cultures
- is also a good option if your family has other obligations during the year or simply wants to try out the hosting experience short-term
You can visit our photolisting to see the students eligible to be hosted by a welcome family and submit a short application in order to receive full profiles of students your family can help welcome to the United States!Read More
Each week, we feature student letters that our exchange kids write to their potential host families. However, another neat way to “meet” the kids in our programs is to read their parents’ letter – that’s why we’ve started our new feature Meet the Parents! All of our host families wonder what it’s like as a parent to have your child depart for a school year, and these letters give amazing insight to what it’s like. You can hear the pride, gratitude, and a little bit of nervousness in all of these parents’ voices as they write these letters as their children depart on this life-changing journey.
This week, we’re featuring a letter from our student Mei’s parents! She’s an exchange student from Spain, though she’s originally from China which makes Mei a very global citizen! You can meet Mei and other students like her on our photolisting. If you’re interested in learning more about our students, complete a free host family application in order to receive a full profile!
Letters from Abroad – Meet the Parents!
Dear American host family,
This is a short letter to introduce ourselves. We are Esther and Javier parents of three wonderful kids. Our little daughter Mei is going to spend a very important year for her in your house and that’s why we are really thankful for the opportunity you are giving her to become part of your family and your lives. Thank you for opening your house to her and taking her in as a daughter, thank you for the effort it involves for your family. We are sure it will be worth it because she is very much looking forward to getting to know you.
But let us tell you a little bit about ourselves. We are a family of five. My husband Javier is a Account Manager and I am a midwife at one of the main hospitals in our city. We live in a small city next to the sea which allows us to enjoy the beach in summer, go for walks along the seafront and ride our bikes. We are a family of sport lovers and we like skiing very much. In fact, we have a small apartment four hours from home, where we spend most of our winter weekends. We also play tennis and golf.
Our eldest son Guillermo is 25 years old and lives in the city where he works in the Human Resources Department. Guillermo loves his little sister and they get along really well. Unfortunately we don’t see him as often as we would like but he sometimes joins us at our apartment where he spends some weekends with us enjoying ski, a sport he loves, just like everyone else in the family. Our second son Juan is 23, lives with us and is a senior student studying Computer Science. Juan loves football. In his free time he coach of a football team of 10 yearolds and he plays in the University team, too. He also likes surfing.
Our little daughter Mei is 14 right now. Mei is an easy going girl, quiet, hardworking and very responsible and well organised. Mei loves her brothers. She shares her passion for surf with Juan . When she comes home from school and she finishes her homework, she spend most of her free time drawing. At the weekend, when we are not skiing, she meets her friends and they hang out at the mall, go skating, have dinner at the Burger place or see a movie at the cinema. They are always back home at the agreed time. Mei is a thoughtful, lovable girl with a peaceful character. She is obedient and follows the rules and deadlines we set for her. She has a disciplined behavior and is willing to cooperate with something, she is very set-controlled. She is also a bit shy, but given a certain time, she adapts to all situations. When she has a problem, (for instance last year she broke her leg, and had to rest for several months) she endures the situation with patience without complaining. She has been away from home a number of times. She spend the last two summers at a surf camp for a couple of weeks. She enjoyed it so much that she asked to go the following year!
Thanking you again for this opportunity you are giving our daughter, we are confident it will be a wonderful experience for her. We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Esther and Javier
Interested in learning more about students like Mei? Check back each week for our “Meet the Parents” feature and our “Student Letters.” You can also use the contact form below to have a Program Coordinator get in touch with you about our students!
This year, Student Ambassador Exchange will see approximately 100 students from around the world visiting the United States – most of them for the first time! These are kids with amazing backgrounds, interests, and families of their own, and through hosting, these kids can call another family their own and call the United States home! Meet our students of 2017-2018 by visiting our photolisting or submit an application to receive a full profile of a student you’re interested in hosting!
Who are SAE’s students? They are volunteers – Nancy above is volunteering teaching dance classes in orphanages in Tibet. They are little brothers – Unai from Spain tells us he loves his big brother and can’t wait to meet his “new” family in the US. They are engineers – Emerald built her very own robot and led her team to win in competition…all at the age of 14!
Our students connect the world – with your family, these kids become a part of the global community in a way that lasts a lifetime. You are there to help them call the USA home. Become a host family TODAY – meet your student!
Many of our students just celebrated Chinese New Year with their host families, and we wanted to join everyone in wishing our students and their families a very Happy New Year! We like to remind all of our families, no matter where their students are from, the importance of recognizing their exchange student’s holiday and celebrating with him or her. Imagine being in a foreign country at Christmas…but no one is celebrating! It is a comfort and a true sign of cultural welcome to do something, even it is small, with your exchange student. Here are some ways you can traditionally celebrate Chinese New Year every year:
- Just like Christmas or Thanksgiving here in the United States, families in China celebrate the New Year by having a reunion dinner. It’s a time to give thanks for family, come together to celebrate the year that has passed, and look forward to a prosperous New Year! It’s traditional to sit at round tables all together.
- Decorating: It’s a time of year for decorating buildings, houses, and businesses! It’s also a fun way of incorporating the new zodiac symbol for the year, so this year, many families welcomed the year of the rooster by including roosters in their decoration. Red decorations are the most commonly seen, with hints of gold or yellow!
- Activities all around: Every area of China will hold different festivities, from dragon dances to fireworks! Firecrackers are a way to say good bye to the old year…and hello to the new!
- Lucky Foods: There are foods you can eat to help you receive good luck in the new year. Fish is a must in everyone Chinese New Year celebration – in Chinese, the word for fish sounds very similar to the word for surplus! Other “lucky” foods include dumplings, spring rolls, and rice cakes.
With the combination of a little bit of luck, tradition, and celebrations with your family, we think all of our students, whether they are Chinese, Spanish, or Brazilian, will have an amazing year ahead!
Find out more about how YOUR family can celebrate next year with an exchange student by contacting us at email@example.com!
Here at Student Ambassador Exchange, we look forward to each one of our student’s study abroad experiences. It’s a life-changing opportunity: visiting a new country, really beginning to become “fluent” in another language, tasting new foods, making new friends. Students often ask our interview team: what’s it really like, though? What should I expect? What should I prepare for? We’re so lucky that many of our own staff have been through foreign exchange experiences themselves to be able to answer those questions. So we’ve whittled it down to a list of five things to expect on your exchange journey based on previous exchange student experiences.
- Language, language, language: It’s one thing to think that you’ll be improving your foreign language skills when you go to your study abroad program; it’s quite another to realize that your WHOLE day will be in English or French or Chinese or German. From asking to go to the bathroom to how a complicated calculus problem works, the idea of speaking only a foreign language for months on end can be daunting. However, the rewards are so great – by the time you finish, you’ll achieve language skills that would never have developed without that commitment.
- Classes: One of our staff credits her previous exchange student experience for actually helping her understand subjects she had difficulty with at home. Because the language gap forced her early on to really focus on what the teacher and her books were saying, she also had the opportunity to really focus on the subject at hand!
- New friends (and family!): Of course committing to a study abroad experience is about your education and your language skills, but you’ll also make friends from across the world, and you may even find yourself a little bit scared to leave your “foreign family.” All of our staff who have studied abroad have incredibly fond memories of the friends they made, and many still keep in touch and have an open offer to visit a foreign country any time they can!
- New perspective: Being a part of a different culture asks you to think differently. This doesn’t mean that the way any country thinks or acts is better than another, but it gives previous exchange students an appreciation that there are many ways of achieving a goal. You’ll also get a perspective on how you do things and gain an appreciation for your own culture when you return home!
- Courage: Above all, previous exchange students tell us that their study abroad experience gave them a sense of courage – there’s nothing scarier than leaving your home for a country you may have never visited to stay with a family you’ve probably never met to speak a language you don’t fully know yet! After that, you’ll be ready to take on your future and the world!
Student exchange is the opportunity of a lifetime, and we salute the bravery, intelligence, and keep-at-it attitude of all of our students in the program. Are you a previous exchange student? Tell us what your experience was like at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to learn more about how you can get involved in student exchange and making the world a little bit smaller place, contact us using the form below!
Do you know someone interested in cultural exchange? Are you connected with a family ready to change a student’s life and their own? Ask them if they would be interested in hosting one of our amazing exchange students, and you could receive $100!* Through our Host Family Referral Program, every family that YOU refer who ends up hosting with us will earn you $100!
How It Works
- You let your friends, family, and colleagues know about our hosting program – they are free to call us with questions about the program and get matched with a student. You can also send their information our way – let them know we’re going to be reaching out to them within 24-48 hours, and we’re happy to give them a call or email about the program.
- Your referral submits their host family application – at the top of every application is a space for your name and email, so be sure your referring family has these before submitting their application!
- Once a student is matched with your referred family, you’ll receive $100 just for sending that family our way. You can refer as many families as you wish, and there’s no limit on the number of referrals you can send. It’s a bonus at the beginning of every school year to see a student’s dream of better education come true!
- Your referral must be a new host family to SAE to qualify; your $100 gift is mailed out upon your referral family’s student match; the referral program is only for hosting our exchange programs for the academic year and semester high school students.
Contact us for more details at email@example.com or call (512) 323-9595!
Get to know our students on our full photolisting page – see samples below and click on a student’s name to get more information! Photos of unmatched students are blurred according to DOS regulations, but reach out to a program coordinator to find out how you can receive a full profile! If you think you’d like to host one of our amazing exchange students, complete the form to the right, and an SAE Program Coordinator will get in touch with you!
Meet Ivy – Matched!
The goal of the SAE Homestay Program is to assist international students in identifying quality screened host families to stay with while they are studying in the United States. Many students from abroad send applications to schools, only to find out they cannot attend school without a local address and guardian. Student Ambassador Exchange will help you find a host family excited for your school year and the cultural experiences you bring!
Student Ambassador Exchange also assists schools who would like to have more international students on their campuses but who do not offer host family finding services to their applicants. We can assist your students in finding a local host family in your area that is carefully screened and excited to have an international student in their home.
Student Ambassador Exchange prides itself on providing students with high quality host families during their stay in the United States. The biggest benefit of our program is total language and cultural immersion with an American family. This allows students in our program to progress in their language development at home while being able to focus on academics at school. At the same time, host families get to experience the adventure of sharing a home with someone from a different culture. It is a great way to see the world from a different perspective without ever leaving your home!
Interested in becoming a host family? Use this page to learn more about the process!
While there is no exact formula to determine the perfect host family, here are some common qualities we see in our host families:
- passion for learning about a new culture
- pride for their town and a desire to introduce a student to new customs
- willing to help with school transportation as needed
- ready to step into the parenting role for a student
- space to host a student
- full of ideas on what to show a student
Does any of this sound like you? Contact a program coordinator for more information today!
We do not charge host families any fees for hosting an exchange student! However, host families should be ready to be responsible for the following:
Room & Board
Students can have their own bedroom or share a bedroom with a child of the same sex. However, the student needs to have his or her own bed, and it should be a bed that is neither convertible nor inflatable in nature. In addition, the student should have adequate storage space for clothes and personal belongings, reasonable access to the bathroom, and a place where they can study. We ask all families to go over their emergency plans with the student so that they will know how to exit the home if necessary.
Host families should provide the student with 3 meals a day, except on school days when the student will be provided with lunch at school. Students will bring funds to cover school fees, including school lunch, books, and school events.
In general, students will be able to ride the bus to school. However, in situations where this is not an option, host families will need to arrange transportation for the student. They can either ride with a host parent or carpool with any licensed driver. Students may not, at any point in their stay, operate a vehicle or take driving lessons.
Student Ambassador Exchange guides students through the visa paperwork process and provides them with medical insurance during their time in the United States. In addition, we offer 24/7 support for students and host families. There will be a Local Coordinator in the area to provide host family and student orientations. The Local Coordinator will also check in at least once a month in person or by phone or email to make sure that everything is going well. They will be able to address any conflicts that come up over the exchange program, and they will also help provide cultural opportunities for the student. In the event of an emergency, Student Ambassador Exchange Headquarters maintains an emergency phone that host families can call at any time.