The excitement of participating on our Language Immersion programs can start really high but some students can start to experience homesickness in the first few days. Which is completely normal for the students to experience this even if the students are well travelled. The emotions of missing family and friends can be trigged by a message from back home. The time of year can also play a factor too. 

Please don't worry too much as we find it can only last a couple of days into the program. Once the students have settled into their host families and the environment their program schedules will keep them super busy! 

To help ease the homesickness emotions we have put together our top 4 tips for our students: 

1) Keep in touch – We live in a world now where WIFI is everywhere and easily accessible. Along with our mobile phone technology. Which makes keeping in touch with family and friends a lot easier. We encourage our students to make contact with their families as soon as they have landed at their homestay destination. Also to touch base regularly throughout the program, especially with platforms like Facetime or Skype. We believe seeing familiar faces in the first few days allows the students to feel connected back home and not so far away.  

2 ) Meet host family before travelling – We aim for at least 3 weeks prior to the students departing to share their host family details. This is a great way to get to know the host brother/sister and their family before getting there. The friendship bond can start to develop and all those initial nerves can be avoided. Which will of course avoid those homesickness emotions on arrival.  

3) Embrace the culture and language – The biggest reason for our Immersion programs is to better the student's language skills in preparing for the final years of School and life beyond school. As we know learning a language can open up more employment opportunities and life benefits. Make sure to read our blog all about the benefits of learning a language. It is a good idea for the students to start getting familiar with what is happening in the country they will be travelling to. Watch a local TV show (YouTube is great for this) as well as listen to the top charting songs of the city. Not only will this get the students practicing the language but it will also keep the students up to date with the current pop culture which can then be a great conversation starter with their host brother/sister.  

4) Group Support – Each Language Immersion program will have a group of Australian students travelling together. They can be from the same School or different. We strongly encourage these students to form a group chat together either via What's App or similar. Before the Immersion students leave we arrange a pre - departure night to run through the program together and hand out important documents. It is a great opportunity for the students who don't each other to meet and exchange details. Having other students in the same position will certainly help tackle any homesickness emotions.  

Remember all these emotions are completely normal for everybody. We are always here to help in any way we can to ensure the students get the most out of their Immersion program.  

We would love to hear from any students who have experience some type of homesickness and how they tackled it. Leave a comment below.

Happy travelling 😊

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Did you know we are the exclusive Australian and New Zealand partners of the wonderful AIL Espanol Language School in Spain? We are extremely proud that AIL Espanol choose us for this role recently. We thought we would share how this all came about.

As we noticed the rise in popularity of learning Spanish in Australia, it came quickly to our attention that our Spanish Immersion Program was going to skyrocket. We really wanted to create a memorable experience for our students as well as the sole purpose of our programs to improve their language skills dramatically.

We recently sat down with Laura our CEO and Director of Exchange Me to learn how this working relationship began.

1) How did you find this language school ? 

In Australia, we identified a demand among students for Spanish language programs. Both I and our Operations Supervisor, Vicki Vogiatzis, conducted research and were highly impressed by the favourable feedback from students who had attended AIL MADRID. Consequently, I journeyed to Madrid to personally meet with the staff and owner, a standard practice for us when initiating collaborations with new schools. 

2) When and who was your first group that went to AIL Espanol ?

The initial group we arranged to send to AIL MADRID consisted of 16 students from Newington College in Sydney during the December/January period of 2018. The feedback we received was positive, prompting us to organize a second group from Newington the following year, in addition to involving students from other schools. 

3) What did you like the most about this language school? 

I observed their team to be attentive, professional, and deeply passionate about their work. Their ability to effectively communicate with students of various levels and age groups left a strong impression on me, as I consider this a crucial factor in ensuring the success and positivity of such exchanges. 

4) How has your relationship grown since you started working with AIL Espanol ?

The partnership exhibited positivity from the outset and continues to develop both professionally and personally. Both organizations share the same objectives and align on ethical work practices and a strong commitment to student well-being. 

We are so grateful for Laura's time as she is a busy bee. We thought this would give an insight into our working relationship with our Spanish school partners.

Discover our Facebook clip of the AIL Espanol Language School. Look into what the language school offers.

Free download of our Spanish Immersion Program Flyer for our Travel Blog readers

2022 Exchange Me wrap up

We have had such a busy year this year, which we are beyond grateful for post-Covid. We open our computers to work each morning smiling, filled with such joy that we can continue doing what we love the most. That is creating student exchange experiences all around the world. We are a small team although our favourite part of any tour and program we do is to see the students at the end of each experience. If we see lots of tears between the host families, we know it was successful and truly warms our hearts.

Term ONE

We opened our latest Language Immersion program in Singapore. The feedback to study the language Mandarin became overwhelming this year. We noticed many more schools are broadening their language offerings, which is great. We built a great relationship with a local language School in Singapore that we are so excited to be working with and our students to experience a great time this December. We can’t wait to hear about their experiences. If you are studying or teaching Mandarin, learn more about our Immersion programs here. Remember to take the learning outside the classroom!

Term TWO

We watched our first exchange student make her way to a city called Pomezie in Rome! This was our first international exchange since Covid. We were beyond excited. Grace took part in an individual 4-week program, living with two different host families over her time. Grace attended the local School Blaise Pascale, our friends 😊. Grace had a wonderful and fulfilling experience that she and her parents couldn’t speak highly about.

My 14-year-old daughter, Grace, recently participated in a homestay program organised through Exchange Me. This was her first time being overseas without her family, and her first time doing a homestay. From the moment we contacted Exchange Me, as her parents, we felt confident in the organisation of the program and could see that all aspects of the trip were covered. The professionalism of Exchange Me was very comforting and impressive; everything was perfectly organised, from flights, transfers, and insurance, to SIM cards for use in Italy and necessary COVID documentation for flights. Since arriving back in Australia, Grace has been ‘homesick’ for Italy and misses her family there. They have stayed in contact, and she is looking forward to returning to Italy at the next opportunity. This wonderful experience is to the credit of Exchange Me, and we are grateful that Grace came away from this with a greater passion for all things Italy and that the experience has made her determined to learn more Italian and, indeed, see more of the world. We cannot thank Exchange Me enough, and highly recommend this homestay program!”

Term THREE

This term we were staying in Australia and welcoming our dearest friends from Blaise Pascale in Pomezia Rome! It has been a long time since we welcomed our Italian students back to Australia, so we had to make their experience extra special this year. Their Australian journey started in Melbourne with lots of site seeing famous churches and prisons. We quickly learnt their cool Italian pose for any and every group shot they took. Check it out!

It soon became their trademark. We couldn’t get enough! Once they had discovered what Melbourne had to offer, they made their way up to Canberra. Learning all things, politics and more of their trademark pose! We finally met the group here in Sydney where they met their Australian host families for the first time. The Italian students begin to live like their Australian host brother or sister. They attend School together where they truly immerse themselves in Australian School life. Friendships and bonds were quickly formed between the group. This became evident when it was time to say goodbye. There was not a dry eye in sight! Check out how it all went below

Term FOUR

This term we are preparing our students for their long-term Immersion programs. The countries students are travelling to are: Spain, Singapore, Italy and France! This marks our first Immersion program since Covid. There are a lot of smiles from our end things are starting to go back to normal for travelling. The students participate in a 4-week program through December attending a local school in Italy and language schools in other countries. They also are assigned host families to live the culture. This experience allows the students to truly immerse themselves into not only the language they study to better their studies but also the culture. Opening their eyes to how students of similar ages live and learn around the world. Beautiful friendships are made, which is personally my favourite part. We can’t wait to see pictures on their return. Learn more about our Immersion programs here.

And that is a WRAP of 2022! We want to say a huge thank you to all we have worked with this year. To our returning Teachers and associates who believe in our business. We are truly grateful for all the support you have shown us. We wouldn’t be here today without the support, so thank you. We are so excited for 2023. With already school tours locked in and many more to come. We always said during the pandemic after the storm there will be sun and here, we are 😊 Keep shining, Merry Christmas and Happy New year.

There is something unique about learning a second language. Especially if you like to travel around the world! Imagine applying for the job of your dreams and you are the only one that has on your resume that you speak a second language out of 10 other applicants. Your confidence in securing your dream job has shot to the roof. That is only one of the reasons why I personally love being able to speak a second language. Speaking a second language will allow you to view the world through other cultures. Below are my top reasons why you should go ahead and learn a second language. If taking this step has been on your mind for a while and it’s crunch time to make your choice, keep reading to help you say YES!

1) Employment Prospects It is a great to be able to include on your resume you speak a second language as many large corporations expand their business overseas. Wouldn’t be a great opportunity to travel and earn money as well? Set yourself apart from other applicants that are after the same job as you. You will be recognised with more skills and a higher level of learning.

2) Boost your Brain Study after study demonstrate the cognitive benefits of learning a second language. Going between reading, writing, and listening in different languages will make you a better multi tasker, improve your memory and attention span. Which by the way are great skills to have! The cognitive benefits also have long term greatness. Decreasing your chances of many of those ugly brain deceases.

3) Connect Friendships Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to connect to any friendships you made in your last travels on a deeper level? Being able to speak in the same language will allow your friendship to grow and get stronger! If there was ever that language barrier, there will be no more.

4) Connect with Family Roots Imagine being able to understand your family when there are conversing in their native language. Being able to contribute back with your family will deepen your connection and enhance your appreciation for when it was their time to learn English. If you are lucky enough to have family members still in their country it will open an opportunity for you to travel and meet with them with the confidence you will be able to speak the language with ease!

5) Challenge yourself Maybe you enjoy the challenge of learning foreign languages or of learning a particularly difficult language. Learning a language certainly does makes you a better learner.

6) Student Exchange Being a part of a student exchange program is an experience in a life time. You will never get a better learning of a language and a culture unless you completely immerse yourself in that life and country. A lot of Schools present you with this exact opportunity.

So, what have we learnt? Well these are my personal top points into why learning a second language will benefit you in life. From employment prospects, friendships, family roots, a challenge and exchange programs learning a language should not be underestimated. Do you currently study a language and looking to challenge yourself further? Discover our Immersion programs that take place at the end of the year. It is a simple as a click.

You have decided you want to take your students on an educational tour to show them the world and take student learning beyond the classroom. Great! To make things easier for you, we have answered the most common questions asked by teachers about our educational tours. If you can’t find an answer to your question, please contact us for more information.

HOW DO I GET STARTED ON AN EDUCATIONAL TOUR?

If you are thinking of taking your students on an educational tour, the preparation process might seem a bit overwhelming. Where do I start? When is the best time to go? What can I show my students within a limited timeframe? Have a look at our Step By Step Guide To Planning An Educational Tour

HOW DO I ENROLL STUDENTS FOR MY TOUR?

Many teachers take advantage of the captive audience in their classrooms. With your school’s approval, distribute your brochures and set an enrolment deadline. If you organise events, we are more than happy to join you to present the itinerary and answer any questions your students and their parents may have. Contact us if you are having trouble recruiting participants and we’ll help you with creative strategies.

DO I NEED TO HOLD MEETINGS FOR MY STUDENTS AND THEIR PARENTS?

We recommend that all tour leaders hold at least two meetings prior to travel. The first meeting serves as an opportunity to hand out brochures and application cards and generate buzz about your tour. Teaming up with other teachers will make promoting your tour even easier. Once your group has formed, you may hold a second pre-trip meeting to discuss the details of the tour, and answer questions such as “What should I pack?” and “How much spending money should I bring?” Let us know if you need any assistance in preparing for the types of questions parents and travellers often ask.

HOW DO TOUR FINANCES WORK WITH EXCHANGE ME?

If you wish to take on the task of collecting the payments for your student tour, you can – however we are more than happy to do this for you. We usually handle the payments with the parents directly to make the trip preparation as easy as possible for you.

A STUDENT NEEDS TO CANCEL. WHAT DO I TELL THEM?

If a registered participant must cancel, please encourage them or their parents to contact us as soon as possible. Cancellation notice must be received by our office in writing, either by email or standard mail. Refunds are subject to many factors and must be assessed individually. Once we make deposits with airlines, hotels and other partners abroad, it can be difficult to make changes and receive refunds. Time is of the essence, so please have them contact us immediately.

WHEN WILL I KNOW MY FLIGHT DETAILS, HOTEL NAMES AND DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY?

We’ll send you a Day-to-Day itinerary about four to five months prior to departure. This is a calendar format schedule of all daily activities that we are arranging for you. We’re not just sending you this document to dictate how your tour will run – we actually want your approval! When you have looked over your Day-to-Day schedule, please reply with the green light, or tell us what you want to rearrange and we’ll do our best to grant your wishes. We book your airfare up to 11 months in advance (providing the deposit has been received), so we can tell you your flight information at any time. However, airlines have been known to adjust their schedules frequently over the course of a year. Unless a major change occurs, we will hold off on sending your final flight details until closer to departure in order to avoid confusion.

CAN YOU ASSIST WITH RISK ASSESSMENT?

The Exchange Me team has been organising educational tours to destinations all over the world for many years, and is familiar with the safety requirements. We are here should you need any assistance with your risk assessment.

WHAT ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE?

All students going on a student tour with us have to have travel insurance. We usually include it in our package so you don’t have to worry about it.

HOW LONG DOES A PASSPORT NEED TO BE VALID FOR AT TIME OF TRAVEL?

Some foreign governments require visitors to carry passports with at least six months’ validity beyond their planned stay, and you may be refused entry if you do not comply. For more information, contact us.

CAN I STAY IN A SINGLE ROOM?

Yes. We always include at least one teacher per 10 students to travel free of charge. You will be accommodated in a single room unless you wish to share a room with your colleague / tour leader.

WHAT AIRLINE WILL WE FLY?

We work with premium airlines including Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qantas, Qatar and Cathay Pacific. If you prefer a specific airline, we can take this into account, however we always try to offer your group competitive prices for the flights that are most convenient for you.

DO YOU OFFER REWARDS FOR TEACHERS?

If you know someone who would enjoy traveling with us as much as you do, contact us about our referral program. Earn a reward and help a friend – and their students – discover the thrill of overseas educational travel.

We love to provide our students and groups as much useful information as we can, to ensure they get the most out of the exchange experience. Here is a background of the German Language.

Did you know that German is spoken mainly in Central Europe, in the countries of Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. It’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the European Union and in the world, so as you can see, it’s useful to know German!

Pronunciation

If you come across these letters in German, pronounce them this way:

The Basics

Hello = Hallo (Hah-loh)

Good Day = Gutan Tag (Gooh-ten-tak)

Good Bye = Auf Wiedersehen (oufvee-der-zey-en)

Good Evening = (gooh-ten-ah-bent)

Thank you = Danke (Dahn-ke)

Excuse Me = Entschuldigung (ent-school-dee-goong)

No = Nein (nine)

Yes = Ja (ya)

Useful Phrases

My name is ? = Ich heiBe (ih hays-eh)

What’s your name? = Wie heiBen Sei (vee hays-en zee?)

Could you please help me? = Wϋrden Sie mir bitte (veur-den zee meer bi-te)

Where is ? = Wo is? (vo ist?)

Where can I find? = Won finde ich (vo -fin-deh ih?)

How much does ___ cost? = Wie Viel Kostit? (vee feel kos-tet?)

Click the link below to download our German Basic E-Card below to take on your next trip!

German Language E-Card

The Ultimate Packing Guide

Getting ready to travel overseas on a Student exchange program is very exciting time. It truly is a privilege to be able to experience a different culture and learn beyond the classroom. It can also be an overwhelming time preparing for the trip. We have prepared the ultimate packing guide to assist with the planning!

Carry on Bag (This is the bag that you bring on the plane)

Toiletries

Below are for the ladies:

Below are for the fellas:

Clothing –These items will depend on what season you will be traveling into. This is an example for a European Winter for 2-4 weeks.

Miscellaneous

Being prepared for your overseas travel will only make you feel more at ease once you arrive. At Exchange Me we always ensure we provide our groups the best of travel tools.

Download it here!

The Ultimate Packing Guide

At the end of each year, we offer language students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a foreign language and culture. Immersion programs are available to Italy, Germany, France and Spain. These programs are perfect for students looking to improve their language skills and create long lasting friendship during the Australian summer break.

Our long term programs are all inclusive of the below:

Check out this lovely message we received from one of our students from Newington College Sydney .

“Overall, my time spent in France with my host family and at school was one of the best experience of my life. I would 100% recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their French, experience French life and culture and also make some great friends as well”

What are you waiting for, Say YES to new adventures and learn beyond the classroom ! Click the button today to find out more.Contact Us

Exchange Me new team members 

We are super excited to announce two new members to the team!!

Firstly let’s meet Julie Mangos. Julie’s position here is Groups Coordinator. She will be job sharing with Vicki who looks after all the operations of our group tours. As our company is expanding, we would like to announce our be loved Vicki will be relocating to Europe with a new title, Groups Supervisor. This will better facilitate our expansion and Vicki is very happy to be given this opportunity. We will miss her physical presence in our Sydney office, but we know there is always Skype!

We will also be saying good bye to Carina. She has played a huge role in the growth of the business, with her exoccipital professionalism and amazing work ethics. We will certainly to miss her and we wish her all the best!

Next up is Rachela Cavallo, her role is Marketing and Sales Manager, taking over Carina’s roles and responsibilities. Which includes the advertising and promotion for our group tours. Our new team members are excited to be working with our community. Don’t forget we also arrange lots of different Sport Tours! Check our our Sport’s page for more information!

We are so excited to share our new brochure with you!

Here at EXCHANGE ME a lot happened in the past years and we have a whole new range of programs and itineraries available. Click below to view our brochure!

whats new

#exchangeme

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