Befriending an Exchange Student

My Firsthand Experience with an Exchange Student

By: Nicole Springer – SAE Summer Intern 2017

I grew up in a suburb in Minneapolis, Minnesota, our high school was one of the largest in the area and we had so many diverse cultures and traditions at our school. However, most of my friends and I had never met someone from a different country.

During my sophomore year of high school a new exchange student from Iceland named Ben came to our school he also came with his older sister. He started to hang out with my same group of friends and eventually we got to know each other a lot better because he was in the same after school activities as me.  When my friends and I would hang out with Ben we always had so much fun, he could make almost everyone laugh because of his easy going care free attitude. Whenever Ben meet a new friend  every time he would try to convince people that in Iceland there are  penguins walking around everywhere and you can play with them and have them as pets, strangely enough he could actually really convince people that this was true.

The more my friends and I got to know Ben and his family the more we enjoyed his company and learning more about Icelandic culture and traditions. Ben was leaving back to Iceland around the same time that his birthday was, so all of us decided to throw him a huge surprise birthday/going away party. We all hid downstairs at the house he was living in and when he came down we threw confetti and sprayed him with silly string. Till this day I can honestly say that’s one of the most fun parties I’ve been to.

Looking back at the time my friends and I spent with Ben I can honestly say that all of our worldviews expanded immensely and all of us really valued the time we got to spend with someone who seemed so different than us at first but once we got to know him we realized that he was just like any other high school kid our age, he enjoyed the same kind of stuff and was  happy to hang out with the new friends he was making while being different than us at first but once we got to know him we realized that he was just like any other high school kid our age, he enjoyed the same kind of stuff and was  happy to hang out with the new friends he was making while being abroad.


To learn how to open your family to an Exchange Student contact our team today. Registration ends soon, you don’t want to miss out!

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Meet Ethan!


Meet Ethan!

Ethan is an adventurous, caring and curious 17 year old boy from Lanzhou, China.  Just this last year Ethan’s family was able to host their own exchange student from a program called AFS. During this year long experience Ethan was able to learn more about American culture and was also able to teach the other boy about Chinese culture. During their year together their relationship became very close and at the end Ethan considered the exchange student like a brother.

In his free time Ethan likes to play basketball and badminton. Most of all Ethan enjoys traveling so far he has been to Malaysia, Thailand, America, Korea and Japan. In the future he would like to backpack more around the world, in his own words Ethan says “I enjoy the feeling of being on the road. The destination is not the purpose of a trip; the purpose is to embrace different cultures, learn thing and find out more about yourself.


Ethan is looking forward to meeting his new family, he hopes that his year abroad can be another amazing traveling experience where he will be able to learn more about American culture and also improve his English language skills.

Check out Ethan’s profile on our photolisting to 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 and ask us about hosting Ethan!

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Meet Ignacio!

Ignacio is a respectful, outgoing and kind 16 year old boy from Bilbao, Spain. He has a very close relationship with his family, he often helps out around the house by cooking and cleaning. Ignacio and his brother have an extremely close relationship, even his mother says “his younger brother literally adores Ignacio and will miss him very much next year.” Outside of his immediate family Ignacio also enjoys spending time with his grandparents, he often helps them with yardwork because they have a large country side home so there is a lot of yardwork to do.

Ignacio has a good group of close friends. The 5 of his closest friends and himself are almost inseparable. Every other weekend they spend time at each other’s houses, like most teenage boys their age they enjoy playing sports and video games. Ignacio is extremely grateful for his relationships with his friends because they are always there to help and support him.

In his free time he loves to play basketball, the training schedule he is on is a little bit strict but he knows it will make him a better player. Other than basketball Ignacio enjoys outdoor activities like canoeing, skiing, paddle surfing and fishing.

In the future Ignacio would like to go to college for business administration. He thinks this might be a good career path because it is such a broad area of work, so he is more likely to find a job.


Ignacio is looking forward to visiting the United States for the first time next year, he wants to discover more about American culture and landscape.


Check out Ignacio’s profile on our photolisting to 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 and ask us about hosting Ignacio!

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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!





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 and ask us about hosting Nicole!

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Share Your American Culture

Today, July 4th is a sacred day in American culture. It’s a day we celebrate the freedoms and wonders of our country. Just like us other countries  are proud of their heritage and are eager to share it. Hosting a student provides your family an opportunity like the no other. You get to bring the world into your home. Student’s love learning how Americans live and want to share their country cultures with you as well.

Many students still need host families for the upcoming school year – please contact us today to learn how you can open your home to the world!

SAE offices are closed Tuesday July 4th to observe Independence Day.

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Meet Diego

Diego is an adventurous, easy going, hardworking 15 year old boy from Madrid, Spain. He has a very close relationship with his family and often seeks advice from his older siblings and parents. Diego usually goes to his mom for advice on cooking and he goes to his dad when he needs advice on improving a certain soccer skill.

Soccer has become more and more difficult for Diego. It is a very competitive sport so if you don’t work hard then you won’t be able to play in the game and will just end up sitting on the bench. Diego realized he didn’t want to just sit on the sidelines so he worked very hard for two years and is now one of the best starting players on the team.

Besides soccer, Diego also enjoys going to boy scouts. He likes going on new adventures and spending time outside learning about important skills. Another thing he likes about boy scouts is that he is able to connect with the community. Being involved in boy scouts has taught him to be more respectful, dedicated and motivated.

In the future Diego believes a good career path for him would be a sports journalist, because he loves sports and he also loves meeting new people. He knows it will talk a lot of work to be able to attain this career, but he believes the best way to get there is to explore the world, which is why he is deciding to study in America for a year.

Diego can’t wait to meet his new family and is very grateful for this amazing opportunity!

Check out Diego’s profile on our photolisting to 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 and ask us about hosting Diego!

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Meet Mei

Mei is a caring, curious and courageous 14 year old girl from Getxo, Spain. She is originally from China, but her parents adopted her when she was just a baby. Since then she has been living in Spain and enjoying life with her parents and two older brothers.

Mei loves to try new things and meet new people. Ever since she was a young girl she has enjoyed being creative and using her imagination to paint and draw. She also enjoys reading and watching movies. She especially enjoys movies that are in a series. Her favorite sports are skiing in the winter and surfing in the summer.

As of right now Mei can speak four languages, French, Basque, Spanish and English. In terms of cultural exchange between her and her host family Mei would like to learn more about American culture and lifestyle while at the same time sharing her own Spanish culture and lifestyle.

Mei is looking forward to meeting her new family and learning as much as she can while she is in the United States.

Check out Mei’s profile on our photolisting to 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 and ask us about hosting Mei!

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Meet Pablo















Pablo is an adventurous, friendly and athletic 17 year old boy from Pamplona, Spain. He is the oldest of three children, he has a close relationship with both his younger brother and a younger sister. All of them often go and visit a small city called Pyrenees on the weekends and even more often in the summer time.

In his free time Pablo enjoys playing sports. He plays for his schools soccer team and has realized the hard work and dedication it takes to become good player. Recently, he has become a soccer coach for younger children, since he started coaching he has learned to become more patient. In addition to soccer he also plays a Basque sport called Pala which he says “is similar to paddle”, in fact Pablo is so good he plays on one of the Spanish Pala national teams.

Pablo loves going to school his two favorite subjects are P.E and Economics.  A dream of Pablo’s in the future is to become a teacher because he really loves children. However he is still unsure if this is the right path for him because he also enjoys economics so much and can also see himself running a business similar to his father.

Whatever the future holds Pablo is extremely excited to study in the United States, he wants to know more about American culture.

Check out Pablo’s profile on our photolisting to 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 and ask us about hosting Pablo!

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Community Hosting

Connecting Cultures in Your Community
This year we have families in communities signing up to host students all in the same community. This is like a built in support system for everyone involved! There are also some really awesome added financial benefits that you don’t want to miss out on!
Contact us today learn about the benefits of hosting together with your bestie, your cousin, your brother or sister, or whoever it is you want to team up with! Time is running out you don’t want to miss out! We will need a completed application in order to see full profiles of the available students. The application is FREE – Click here to get started!
Meet the Jacks
Host families are joining forces to make this next year’s program the best that is yet to come.
Visit our photolisting to meet all of the students participating, with new students added weekly. You can also contact one of our Program Coordinators to speak about a specific student or country program!
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A Letter From Tony






Dear Host Family:
Hello, how are you? I think that as you are reading this letter you must be imagining what I look
like. To be honest, I am doing the exactly the same thing. Well, I think now I should introduce
myself to you. My English name is Tony Lee, so you can just call me Tony. I
am 17 now and was really excited for my birthday in March.
I am a young man who is very willing to see and experience new things. I am always excited
about new things. Because I love changes, sometimes there will be good changes, sometimes
there will be bad changes. I think it Is fantastic when things are constantly changing. It means it is
still fresh and alive! I think I will be happy to experience American culture and if you like I can
also introduce some of the Chinese culture to you. I am very outgoing {I think), I love to make
friends. I usually get along well with others. I am also a big fan of music; I can play the flute and
the guitar. Although, not very well! I also love E-music! It makes me full of energy! When I was in
middle school, I loved singing and I was a member of the school choir. I am also a big fan of
computers and computer games; I love to learn more about IT and computers. I love animals very
much, especially dogs. I love dogs but more importantly, dogs love me.
When I was young, my parents and I spent a lot of time together. We all love each other very
much, although we sometimes argue. I think arguing is also a part of life and love, although too
much arguing is never a good thing. My family lives in a very small but attractive house, we all
love cooking for each other. My dad is Adjunct Professor & Deputy Chief Physician. I think he is a
very nice person, people all go to him if they have problems. He works very hard. I love him very
much and he is a cool person but best of all is that he loves dogs too! I love him very much
although he is sometimes very strict with me. I guess that is a dad’s job. My mom works in a hotel;
she used to work for the bank. She is very kind, she is our families cook, and she cooks for us very
day. I believe that my parents are also my friends and I can talk to them at any t ime if I have any
problems. They also give me useful advice when I need it, but they will never try to control my
life. So I feel very free around them.
In school and in my class I am always the diplomat. I am I always happy to work for my class. My
classmates will always come to me if they have problems. For example, if they have any problems
with our foreign teacher’s lesson, they will come to me first, because most of them do not speak
very good English. I am always there for my classmates. Although my class is not the best in our
school, and we have some bad boys in my class, but luckily they are bad in a good way. So, all in
all they are very kind people.
I think my life is very satisfactory, but I am still trying to make it better.
The last time I felt very successful was in Beijing. I won the National First Prize of the CCTV
Primary and Middle School Students’ English TV Competition. I was N0.8 in China, I do not really
think I was that successful, although I did try that hard to get it. I was very surprised to learn that
I was 8th in China for I did not expect it .

Well, in China we all get very excited when we talk about our dream university and dream career.
I think I will finish my undergraduate education in China first, then I will try to study in other
countries. My dream university in China is the University of International Business and Economics.
I think I will do my PHO In UK or USA. To be honest, I have many dreams, when I was young, I
wanted to be a firefighter or a soldier or a police officer. As I grew up, I changed my mind, I decided that I
want to be a diplomat ,because I really like to work with foreigners, and I love talking to them. I
love to work for my country and our people, I will be very proud of myself if I can stand for China
in the world. By the way, I love to do Model United Nations; it is of my favorite things. I always
get the Best Delegate or Outstanding Delegate, and then I realized that working for the
government for the rest of my life is also not such a good idea either. Now, I want to become a
veterinarian. I love animals and I think working with animals may be just what I need.
I hope you enjoyed this letter and I am looking forward to meeting you soon!


Check out Tony’s profile on our photolisting to 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 and ask us about hosting Tony!

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