You now have made necessary changes to your itinerary and are completely happy with the tour, inclusions and price. Now it’s time to go back to your school board and get confirmation to go ahead and invite students and parents for an info event.
There are a few extra things you should be aware of and questions you should be prepared for, including
Are the hotels in safe areas and suitable for student groups?
For government school overseas excursions, the travel agency must be a registered Australian company. You may want to ask for references from other schools or print off some reviews and testimonials from previous clients.
Have evidence that the travel company uses reputable airlines, guides and drivers, who can provide a proper standard of care for the group.
DFAT Travel advice (www.smartraveller.gov.au)
Host family details (if you include a home stay)
I have used Exchange Me with my students. Laura and her team are thorough and very supportive. Each time we have worked with Laura, everything has run smoothly, they make the huge task of organising school trips and exchanges much easier. Best in the business!
Cathy Gazzola, PLC Croydon
Firstly, to our Italian ‘host’ Fausto Ferazzoli. Your warmth and hospitality has made our time in Italy truly memorable. Your care and organisation, particulary with the ‘homestays’ ensured an unforgettable experience for our language students. You have treated us like family. Mille grazie per tutti!
To Laura Kostouros and the Exchange Me team, sincere thanks for all your hard work and attention to detail in putting our trip together. Your choice of accommodation for our group was suberb. Your flexible approach and patience with our countless requests and questions was very much appreciated. You ensured that our trip was an experience of a lifetime.
Anthony Burke, Marcellin College, Randwick
Our trip took student learning beyond the classroom, linguistically, culturally and spiritually, We were able to see first-hand experience of the many characteristics of Italian society. Such as, school life, the importance of the piazza, how religion and culture are intrinsic, how everything revolves around food, the coffee culture, and visits to many historic and religious sacred shrines and tourist attractions. Special thanks to Laura from Exchange Me and our tour manager Fausto for their expert organization and advice.
Michael Timpano, St Mary’s Star of the Sea College
Our family would like to let every person or organization that are thinking of wanting to experience a cultural immersion / School Exchange in Europe to put their total trust in Exchange Me. Their profound knowledge through experience, of the different aspects of travelling in Italy to achieve a holistic cultural experience is second to none. Meticulous care was taken with the welfare of the children. Our daughter’s host sister was perfect and a happy friendship was forged in the 11 days she spent in Gualdo Tadino. Her host family cared for her beautifully taking her to a Circus at night and the annual festival of Saint Michele Arcangelo and Donkey Palio in Gualdo Tadino. The hotels we stayed in were amazing! Clean and comfortable. Food Incredible. Transfers and transport throughout Italy for our group were well organised and efficient. The sites visited in Italy were wonderful and well-co-ordinated to get the most out of visiting. We would highly recommend Exchange ME to everyone!
Sandy O Connor, Sophie O Connor and family.
My daughter returned from an Exchange Me trip to Italy a few weeks ago. While she was away with her school friends, I received constant messages from my daughter detailing what a wonderful time she was having. Very soon all our fears and doubts about allowing our teenager to travel across to the other side of the world vanished as we looked forward to receiving her daily messages describing that days events. She has no issues as the trip was well planned and thought out. Olivia became very fond of the host family she stayed with and they became fond of Olivia too. Not just the host parents and sisters, but aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins. Olivia’s host sister is coming to Australia with her school next year and she will stay with us where she can then become fond of us and our extended family and we can become fond of her. The host family drove 4 hours each way from their home to my family in Latina so Olivia could meet my extended family. I could not believe how accommodating this generous family were and they gave Olivia more than she ever thought she would get out of the trip. Her host family also lived the true Italian life and Olivia said it allowed her to truly identify with her Italian heritage. Just like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the host family took up the street. My daughter loved that! You can’t get more Italian than that! We had so many reservations about sending our daughter so far away, but now I can say are glad we did and would do it again. It was a gift to read my daughters daily messages and know that her dad and I enabled her to have this amazing experience. She dreamt of this and was living her dream! Many thanks to Exchange Me for the careful and thoughtful planning and having the patience to answer my many questions and hear all my reservations. Have to give it 5 stars because I can’t think of anything I wasn’t happy with.
Vanessa Theo and family.
In the next post, we will go through the preparation for an information evening with all interested students and parents. For more information, feel free to download our FREE 23-page Ultimate Guide to Planning a Successful Overseas School Tour.