Travel Blog

September 23, 2022

5 Misconceptions about student exchange programs

Student exchange programs come in all shapes and sizes. There is no such thing as the ‘typical exchange’, because there are way too many options – which country you visit, how long you’re going for, during which season, etc. We find that many students and parents have reservations when it comes to deciding the right program. Is it too far away? Are the students too young to be sent so far away on their own? Am I going to be on my own during the exchange? Concerns are normal, but we have done our best to explain the most common misconceptions to make you feel more comfortable.


Not all exchange programs are during the school period. There are short-term options, often called ‘language immersion programs’, which take place during the Australian summer school holidays. With our programs to Italy and Germany, you will depart on the second weekend of December (this year the 9th of December) and return home six weeks later. Schools throughout Australia begin their school holidays at different times. If you attend a public school, you may have to ask permission to depart on the 9th of December, as you might miss classes or assessments. If you do have to finish anything during the first week away, don’t worry. You will have more than enough time to work on it during the flight and the first couple of days at school.


Whilst it can be most beneficial for your language learning to be on your own during the exchange, we find that there are many more benefits when travelling with a group of Aussie students. You will be living with a host family on your own – not with another Australian student – but you will see your fellow travellers during school and excursions. Having people to relate to while on exchange can help understand and overcome cultural differences and any communication problems that may arise. Remember, that there will also be a bilingual chaperone in the same town as you, who can always be contacted in case of an emergency.


A language immersion or short-term exchange is very different to a family trip. Rather than just seeing places and doing the usual ‘tourist’ activities, you get to LIVE the destination. Your host families and chaperones will show you the city and sights through the eyes of a local. You will attend high school like a local, eat food like the locals and become part of the family. By going abroad without your family, you will also learn more about yourself and become more independent, confident and mature.


The main thing about a language immersion trip is that you actually STUDY abroad. Of course, the trip is a fun experience, but do not underestimate the educational focus. Even though our exchange programs only go for six weeks, we have a proven record of students returning with drastically improved language and communication skills. Many teachers we work with, especially on IB schools, see huge differences in the students’ ability to write, listen and most importantly speak the language they study. We have also seen improved exam results and enhanced motivation from returned students.


If you return from your exchange beginning year 11 or 12, you still have at least one year to go before you complete high school. You may think that by the time you are ready to apply for a job, your exchange experience will not be valued. Even if the language you studied while abroad is not required for the position, we can guarantee you that most employees will see a point of difference in someone who has proven to learn, grow and succeed in a foreign environment. You will have experienced a different culture and have learnt to communicate with the locals in a foreign language. You will also have a record of being independent and confident, which is a great benefit to every employee.

If you are interested in our 6-week language immersion to Germany or Italy, please get in touch. We have an early bird discount until the end of April, so don’t wait any longer! For any questions, don’t hesitate to call 02 9556 1932.

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