Winter Wonder

Winter is finally here! It’s getting chilly outside, and it’s the perfect time for host families and exchange students to enjoy fun winter activities together! Our students might be new to American winter traditions, so here is a list of 10 ideas of how you can have a blast together this winter:

1. Decorate a Christmas Tree

Whether or not you purchase a Christmas tree from a store or a Christmas tree farm, it’s fun to decorate it with ornaments, Christmas lights, and more! Try making homemade decorations as a fun craft to do together.

2. Go Ice Skating

Ice skating is a classic winter activity that can be done indoors and outdoors! If you or your student are new to ice skating, you can try taking ice lessons together.

3. Give Gifts

In America, it’s typical to give gifts to friends and family for the holidays. You can exchange gifts on Christmas or play fun gift games like White Elephant or Secret Santa!

4. Build a Snowman

If it’s snowing in your area, building a snowman is a fun winter tradition! You can decorate your snowman with materials like sticks, vegetables, and more.

5. Have a Snowball Fight

Have a ball battling with each other in a snowball fight using real snowballs or “indoor” snowballs!

6. Drink Hot Chocolate

When it’s cold outside, it’s the perfect time to stay indoors and drink hot chocolate by the fire to stay warm and cozy.

7. Make a Gingerbread House

It’s fun to build a gingerbread house with candy and icing! Be creative with how you assemble and decorate your gingerbread house.

8. See a Christmas Light Show

You can drive around together to see neighborhoods decorated with Christmas lights or watch professional Christmas light displays!

9. Watch Holiday Movies Together

Winter is a great time to watch classic holiday movies like A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and more.

10. Share the Story of Santa Claus

In America, Santa Claus is thought of as the jolly man wearing a red suit who delivers toys to children on Christmas, but Santa is portrayed differently in other countries. You can share the American story of Santa Claus with your student and ask about their country’s Santa traditions!

We hope that our host families and students have an great time together this winter. If you’d like to share your stories and pictures with us, please send them to info@saeglobal.org.

If you aren’t hosting a student currently and are interested, it’s not too late! We are currently matching students for the Spring 2018 semester and 2018-2019 school year, and you have the chance to share new experiences with them too. Visit our photo listing to meet our students and check back regularly to meet any new students added. Contact us today to find out how you can change one student’s life through education and cultural exchange!

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Thanksgiving

SAE Gives Back

In November, our host families and exchange students celebrated International Education Week and Thanksgiving by showing appreciation and giving back to the community. For many students, it was their first time experiencing American fall traditions like eating Thanksgiving dinner and going Black Friday shopping.

Check out some of the fun activities our students and families shared below! We hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and look forward to enjoying winter activities together. Stay tuned for highlights from our December SAE event!

Student exchange is a fantastic way to share American traditions like Thanksgiving with a student and learn about how they celebrate traditions in their home country. If you aren’t hosting a student currently and are interested, now is the time to sign up! We are currently matching students for the Spring 2018 semester and 2018-2019 school year! You can have the chance to share new experiences with them too. Visit our photo listing to meet our waiting students and check back regularly to meet any new students added. You can also sign up to be a backup host family or submit a FREE application now to host a student in the future! Contact us today to find out how you can change one student’s life through education and cultural exchange!

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exchange Students

Announcing Our 2018-2019 Students!

We are looking forward to welcoming more exchange students to the United States this upcoming fall semester! We are currently seeking host families for students who will be attending high school during the 2018-2019 school year. These are kids with amazing backgrounds and interests. Through hosting, they can call another family their own and call the United States home! This is the perfect opportunity for your family to participate in cultural exchange!

Meet our newest students seeking host families

Rebecca is a 14-year-old girl whose smile and cheerful personality will leave a lasting impression on you! Her hobbies include playing violin, gardening, and badminton. She also enjoys volunteering at her local museum. She would love to listen to an outdoor concert with her host family!

For photos and more information about our students, visit our photo listing or contact us at info@saeglobal.org! Check out our photo listing regularly, as we’ll be adding new students. Spots for host families are limited, so click here to submit a FREE application today! Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to learn about another culture, share new experiences, and create a lifelong connection.

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Life as a Local Coordinator

Today we interview Jane, one of our Local Coordinators, about her experience helping connect exchange students with host families!

1. What inspired you to become a Local Coordinator?

“My friend and his wife wanted to host an exchange student. They asked me to be their Local Coordinator, and I said yes! Also, I taught ESL for bilingual students at an elementary school for 15 years, and I love interacting with kids. Just talking to them is fun. This is my second year being a Local Coordinator, and I’m currently helping two students from China. Being a Local Coordinator is tremendously different than what I expected because I had never thought about working with exchange students before. However, now I’m thinking of hosting a student myself in the future!”

2. What do you find rewarding about the position? Have you experienced any challenges?

“The best part about this position is watching the kids grow emotionally and gain confidence in their English. By the end of the year, they can talk like typical teenagers. Also, I’ve learned about other cultures by spending time with the students and talking about their family and life back home. I learn based on what the kids share with me.

Last year I didn’t experience any challenges, but this year one of the students has been pushing more rules. It’s nothing major though, and this is typical high school age behavior, especially for kids who are away from their parents. They’re all good kids!”

3. Do you have any funny or interesting stories to share from working with families and students?

“One of my students right now had never seen a bonfire before, and he was initially horrified when his host family set up a campfire in their backyard. He didn’t understand why setting a yard on fire was considered entertainment, since there are no fireplaces or grills where he lives in China. Once his host family explained the purpose of a campfire though, he had a great time sitting around it roasting marshmallows.

Another one of my students went to IHOP for the first time and had never used coffee creamer before. She actually drank the creamer straight from the container! These are all customs we take for granted living in America but are new for exchange students.”

4. If you could give advice to someone considering to be a Local Coordinator, what would it be?

“I would advise them to be patient. The challenge is getting students here and helping them settle in with their families. You have to go with the flow and roll with it when things change very quickly, such as when their arrival times are delayed. Also, you have to be able to let parents vent to you. A lot of the time, they just want someone to listen to them and not necessarily give advice.

I’ve had a great experience as a Local Coordinator though, and I love meeting families and students and making new connections. Hosting is a great experience for everyone!”

Are you interested in becoming a Local Coordinator? Student Ambassador Exchange is now hiring Local Coordinators across the US to place exchange students with host families and serve as a liaison between them! This is an amazing opportunity to make new connections and learn about other cultures. For more details about the position, visit our website or contact LC@saeglobal.org today!

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Halloween Happenings

For many of our exchange students, it was their first time carving pumpkins, wearing costumes, and trick-or-treating with their host families. Our staff also carved pumpkins with our students and host families in Austin for SAE Halloween Week. Check out our gallery of Halloween happenings below! We hope everyone had a spooktacular time and look forward to enjoying more fall activities together. Stay tuned for highlights from other upcoming SAE events!

Student exchange is a fantastic way to share American traditions like Halloween with a student and learn about how they celebrate traditions in their home country. If you aren’t hosting a student currently and are interested, it’s not too late to sign up! We are currently matching students for the Spring 2018 semester, and you have the chance to share new experiences with them too. Visit our photo listing to meet our Spring students and check back regularly to meet any new students added. You can also sign up to be a backup host family or submit a FREE application now to host a student in the future! Contact us today to find out how you can change one student’s life through education and cultural exchange!

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Halloween Around the World

Dressing up in costumes, going trick-or-treating, and carving pumpkins are fun activities that many Americans do for Halloween. Have you wondered if Halloween is celebrated in the countries where our exchange students come from?

China

The Chinese celebrate the Hungry Ghost Month in July or August, where they honor their ancestors and appease ghosts. During this time, they perform ceremonies to prevent the wrath of ghosts, such as lighting incense, burning fake paper money to “give” to ghosts who need it, and “feeding” hungry ghosts by leaving food for them.

The Ghost Month tradition is linked to Taoism, a religion in China. According to Taoism, the gates of the underworld are opened at the start of Ghost Month, and hungry ghosts roam around finding food or getting revenge. On the last day of  Ghost Month, many people float river lanterns, since ghosts are thought to follow the lanterns away.

Spain

In Spain, Halloween is a three-day celebration that starts of on October 31st with “Dia de las Brujas” (Day of the Witches) and ends with “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) on November 2nd. The Spanish version of Halloween focuses on honoring the dead, rather than being a commercial holiday. Customs and rituals are performed during this time, including visiting the grave of lost loved ones.

Around Spain, you’ll see other activities like Halloween fiestas, festivals, pumpkin carving, costume parties, and more!

Thailand

Halloween in Thailand is usually overshadowed by their annual Loi Krathong Festival, but Halloween celebrations are brought to Thailand in areas where Western expats and tourists spend time. Thailand does have a culture of ghosts and supernatural legends. In Thailand, you may see miniature spirit houses, which provide shelter for spirits. People will light incense and place offerings such as food or flowers to ghosts in the spirit houses, so the spirit will protect their home and bring good blessings.

If you’re looking to celebrate a Western-style Halloween in Thailand, Bangkok is known for its Halloween festivities and parties!

Vietnam

Like in Thailand, Western-style Halloween is sometimes celebrated in big cities or where tourists and expats brought the tradition. Traditionally, Vietnamese people believe that when someone dies, their soul goes to the afterlife where it is judged. Souls in the afterlife are able to be released when the living prays for them.

They celebrate a festival called Vu Lan, where they perform these prayer rituals, so hungry souls will return to their home and gather with family. Incense is burned and meals are provided for souls of family members and wandering souls, so they can rest in peace.

Student exchange is a great way to share Western-style Halloween traditions with a student and learn about how Halloween is celebrated in their home country. If you aren’t hosting a student currently and are interested, it’s not too late! We are currently matching students for the Spring 2018 semester, and you have the chance to share new experiences with them too. Visit our photo listing to meet our Spring students and check back regularly to meet any new students added. Contact us today to find out how you can change one student’s life through education and cultural exchange!

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Fall Firsts


Happy fall, y’all! We’re excited for cooler weather, trees changing color, and fun fall activities. Our exchange students may be new to American fall traditions, and now is the perfect time to create new experiences and memories with them. Here is a list of activities and events you can enjoy together this fall:

Watch a football game

Cheer for your favorite team together at a football game! Get in the spirit by wearing your team colors and going tailgating. Tailgating is a tradition where fans get together, eat food, and have fun before the game.

Attend a state fair

There’s something for everyone at a state fair. Eat funnel cake, go on carnival rides, win prizes playing games, and more!

Go to a fall festival

Fall festivals are fun for family members of all ages. Go to a pumpkin patch, walk through a corn maze, and eat kettle corn.

Pick apples at an orchard

Visiting an orchard is a great way to spend time together outdoors. You get to pick your own apples and learn how they’re grown!

High School Homecoming

Students can get in the school spirit by going to the homecoming dance, attending the pep rally, and watching the football game.

Halloween activities

Have a spooktacular time with your exchange student! Carve pumpkins, dress up in costumes, and go trick-or-treating together.

Thanksgiving

Spend time with family members, give thanks, and eat tons of delicious food!

We hope that our exchange students and host families have an amazing time together this fall. If you’d like to share your stories and pictures with us, please send them to info@saeglobal.org.

If you aren’t hosting a student currently and are interested, it’s not too late! We are currently matching students for the Spring 2018 semester, and you have the chance to share new experiences with them too. Visit our photo listing to meet our Spring students and check back regularly to meet any new students added. Contact us today to find out how you can change one student’s life through education and cultural exchange!

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Meet Vietnamese Student Dave!

Meet Dave

Dave is an amazing 16-year-old Vietnamese student! He’s currently staying with a welcome family temporarily in Katy, TX, but we’re looking for a new family to host him from now until May 2018.

Dave attends Cypress Lakes High School in Katy. He is a very kind, respectful, and quiet kid who speaks Vietnamese and great English. Dave’s favorite things to do in his free time are swimming, singing, drawing, and reading. He has a brother that lives in Houston, so we’d love to find him a family nearby his current school so he can stay close to his brother. Since his arrival in Texas, he’s really enjoyed being here and cannot wait to meet his new host family!

If you or someone you know in the local area is interested in hosting Dave, please contact us at info@saeglobal.org for more information about him!

Are you interested in being a host family, but you’re not located in the Katy, TX area? You might be the perfect fit for another student! Visit our photo listing to view available students or email one of our Program Coordinators and ask us about hosting!

*Due to the US Department of State’s privacy regulations, the student’s photo is not allowed to be posted publicly – please contact our team to learn more.

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What are Welcome Families?

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!

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Student Letters: Meet Nicole!

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!

student letters

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!

Sincerely

 

 

Nicole

Feb.25, 2017

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 info@saeglobal.org and ask us about hosting Nicole!

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