Studying German language at high school, you have probably heard about the opportunity to go on an exchange in the Australian summer holidays before. There are many different factors you need to consider before enrolling, and we want you to know what to expect before you book.
See below an overview of the German Exchange Program, and find out what sets Exchange Me apart.
Living with a German family is the best way to understand the culture, improve your language skills and make friendships that last a lifetime. We carefully choose your host brother or sister based on your age, gender, similar interests and after school activities.
Each morning, you will go to school with your host brother or sister and attend class with them. This allows you to meet locals your age and understand the everyday life of young Germans and their families. School usually starts at 7.45 am and finishes around 2 pm, depending on your host’s timetable. On weekends, spend time with your host family or join group activities such as visiting the Christmas Markets, bowling or ice skating. These can be organised by our team.
While in Germany, you will also have two weeks of school holidays, starting on the 23rd of December. This is a very special time for German families, as they celebrate Christmas from the 24th until the 26th of December and usually spend a lot of time with relatives during the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The holidays will be a wonderful opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the family culture, see other parts of the country and experience a White Christmas.
Your ability to understand and speak the German language will vastly improve during the 6 weeks of your exchange. To help you to become more confident and work on your Grammar while you are there, we also include 15 hours of German lessons at school. These will be conducted by a professional and licensed teacher of German for foreigners.
Once a week during school time, your chaperone will take you and your fellow exchange students out on a field trip. Destinations include Cologne with its beautiful old town and famous cathedral, Bonn and the German National Museum of Contemporary History and the Beethoven House, Dortmund’s Christmas Markets and Berlin.
Staying in a foreign country can be difficult when you’re on your own. This is why you and your fellow exchange students will be accompanied by a bilingual Exchange Me chaperone, who will fly with the group departing from Sydney. The chaperone is available 24/7 throughout the program, accompany the tours and activities and is never more than 10 minutes away. You will meet your chaperone when you enroll in the exchange.
When you spend 6 weeks in a country, a visit to the capital is a MUST. Berlin is Germany’s largest and most important city, with an extremely rich and relevant history. The 3-day trip will be professionally guided, and accompanied by your chaperone as well as some of the local English teachers. The trip will be on a weekend after the end of school holidays, so your host brother or sister can join, too. During the trip, you will see the cities’ main sights on a bus tour and visit the Bundestag Building, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Checkpoint Charlie including the remains of the Berlin wall and the Topography of Terror.
The 6-weeks’ German exchange is a very inclusive program, meaning you do not need much spending money to get around and do the day tours mentioned above. The following items are included in the price:
AUD 6,250 per student*
*valid for departures from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The price may increase for departures from Perth and Adelaide.
$150 OFF WHEN YOU BOOK BEFORE 30 APRIL 2017
To book, we require a completed booking form and a deposit of AU$800. If you book before the 30th of April 2017, you receive an early bird discount of AU$150. The final balance is due by 25 September 2017. You can make installment payments towards the trip, and we are happy to set up an individual payment plan for you.
How do I enroll my child?
To enroll your child, you need to fill in and submit the Exchange Me booking form and pay a deposit of AU$ 800. We will also ask for a scanned copy of your child’s passport to make sure that we have the correct details. Closer to the departure date, there are a couple of more forms that you and your child need to complete, including an ‘All About Me’ form to choose the right host family and a signed ‘Code of Conduct’ that will inform you of the expected behaviour during the home stay.
What are the host families like?
Our host families have children who are at a similar age to the Australian students. We carefully choose them based on their interest, age, gender and after school activities. All families are carefully selected and screened by the principals and teachers of the schools and we make sure that all exchange students have an appropriate room. The German families we work with host your child because they are interested in meeting Australians, getting to know the culture and genuinely want to invite you to their houses – they are not paid. They are very hospitable, treat your child like their own and most of the time the students become life-long friends.
How do I make payments?
There are several options to make a payment:
Am I able to make installment payments towards this trip?
Absolutely, installment payments are an option and we will work out an individual payment plan for you, if needed.
How long does my child’s passport need to be valid for at time of travel?
We require your child to carry a passport with at least six months’ validity beyond their planned stay. As part of the booking process we will ask for a scanned copy of your child’s passport to make sure that we have the correct details.
If my child has to cancel, will i get a refund?
We sincerely hope your child can travel with us, but if he/she can’t for some reason, please notify our office as soon as possible and we will work with your individual situation. Cancellation of your booking must be in writing to Exchange Me. When written notification has been received by us, a fee will be levied to cover the costs incurred. The amount of the cancellation fee will be dependent on the number of days prior to the departure date of the tour. The deposit of $800 is always non-refundable.
We have our own travel insurance. Can my child use it instead of the policy Exchange Me offers?
It is a condition of participating in our exchange program that students are fully covered by comprehensive travel insurance. If you want to opt out of the protection we include, please notify us in writing. You need to send us a copy of your son/daughter’s own comprehensive travel insurance at the time of your booking.
Can I organise for my child to stay with my friends or relatives in Germany?
Participants wishing to deviate from the original travel arrangements of the group must inform Exchange Me in writing at time of booking. We may need to charge an extra cost for this, depending on the departure time, departure city and airfares.
What airline will the group fly?
We work with premium airlines for the route from Australia to Dusseldorf, including Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Emirates and Etihad Airways. To make the trip as comfortable as possible, we always book the smoothest connection with only one transfer in either Singapore or the UAE.
This is the first time my son/daughter will go overseas. Will he/she be alright?
Students going on an exchange with us receive a very extensive pre-departure brief as well as a travel booklet including information about the country. Your child will travel with a group of Aussie kids, and our chaperone will be staying in the same town – less than 10 minutes away from all host families. In case there is a problem, we will look after your child immediately and be in touch with you as soon as possible.
If you have any other questions at this stage, please contact Exchange Me!