Student Videos: Meet Raphael!

Every year, Student Ambassador Exchange receives countless applications to our year-long high school exchange student program. It’s an amazing opportunity for these kids – they get the chance to learn about America, improve their English skills, and bring just a little piece of their own culture here to an area of the United States. For our host families, it’s an equally exciting experience. After submitting a free application, host families receive student videos, student photos, and really start to understand what a student is like. Student videos help really paint a picture of what a kid is like! This gives families the chance to say – YES! I am excited about hosting this student, and I want to support his or her journey here in the United States through this life-changing experience.

SAE’s new feature will focus on the student’s participating in our programs so host families interested in participating can get an idea of what our students are really like. After watching the videos, we encourage you to visit our current Student Photolisting to see the students waiting for their host families for next school year. You could be the family that makes all the difference for their experience – bring a little bit of foreign culture into your community and your family, and make the world just a little bit smaller for one student.

Student Videos: Meet Raphael

Raphael applied as a 15 year old student from China, and he struck us immediately as an outgoing and all-around FUN kid – he told us he chose his English name, Raphael, because that was his favorite Ninja Turtle! We were immediately excited and knew he’d have a blast here in the US. He told us he loved to learn new things and described himself as a cheerful kid.

What stood out about Raphael was his love of the country – many students from larger cities don’t immediately mention the countryside, but Raphael told us about his love for the blue skies and flocks of sheep in his area of China. He also spoke of his love for his family and credited his father for giving him a love for reading.

Raphael was matched with a family here in the United States early on, and he began his journey as an exchange student in Michigan. His host family were thrilled about his arrival – reading books to learn more about Chinese culture and planning ways to help Raphael transition from “academic” English to spoken English. It’s one of the biggest things we encourage our families to do…if you’ve ever learned a foreign language, you know how different it can be from speaking it in a classroom to traveling to a whole new country and speaking it all the time!

Now, nearing the end of the school year, the host family thinks of Raphael in many ways like a member of the family. He’s participated in the family Christmas traditions, and he even taught them about some of his own customs and traditions in China. Raphael has told his Local Coordinator and his host family he can’t believe the experience is going by so fast, and he’s not sure if he’s ready for it to end!

student videos

Students like Raphael are the amazing reason SAE hosts exchange students every year – sharing, learning, and truly caring about another culture helps make the world a more welcoming place for everyone, and we are honored to have Raphael hosted through our organization.

You can get involved in a journey like Raphael’s by hosting a student next year! Every year, kids just like Raphael begin their journey in cultural exchange, and you could be the family who helps them every step of the way. Visit our photolisting, submit a free host family application, or contact us at to find out more about how YOU can be a part of the experience of a lifetime!

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