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Reflection on a Summer Immersion Program in Spain

This was by far one of the most unforgettable experiences I have ever had.

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The first few days I remember were the most exciting yet nerve wracking. Departure day was the most exciting day of all because although saying goodbye to our families for nearly a month was not easy, starting an adventure for which you have been planning and preparing for so long is so exciting. Traveling for two days on your own seems scary to think about but you’re really not just on your own, but with a wonderful group of people who are feeling the same things as you are. The first two travel days there were numerous thoughts going through my head and having a good group of people to talk to about it was extremely comforting. The travel days were amazing, filled with nothing but anticipation and thrilling curiosity.

When we arrived in Spain the airport was flooded with what seemed like a million smiling faces waiting to greet us. My family took me in immediately, making me feel like a true member as if it we…
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Spanish Camp in Costa Rica

My experience in Costa Rica can be described in 3 words: lively, beautiful, and friendship. 
When I first arrived in Costa Rica I was so nervous to stay with a host family and meet new people. Right when I stepped out of the airport I was met with a smiling face holding a sign with my name on it. I was also so happy and relieved that she spoke some English. On the drive to our host family I noticed they had lots of American fast food places which made me sad, but it was also funny at the same time. I was expecting to see all of these Costa Rican restaurants and the first thing I saw was a McDonalds.

The next day at school I met some of the greatest people. Right from the start I made some amazing friends. Everyone was so welcoming and amazing. I am so happy I met the people I did. We still are talking and I hope we stay in touch! We are already planning a reunion. It is a truly amazing experience to be with amazing people from different places for two weeks. The staff were also amazing …

Jessica's Homestay in Mexico

Wow, all I have to say is wow.

On the day of departure I ate breakfast with one of my best friends and she asked me if I was excited to go and I replied “Ummm yes… yes I think so… no yes, I am excited… I think.” So as you can tell I was unsure if I was excited mainly due to the fact that before going to Mexico I had no idea what to expect. I knew everything ANDEO told me and I knew probably about as much about Mexico as anyone could without traveling there myself, but even with all that information when I got there and saw Mexico with my own eyes it was completely different.

I took a red eye to Mexico and I’m the type of person who can’t sleep on planes. So I got to Mexico 7am their time after not sleeping at all the night before, but for some reason I wasn’t tired at all. So after picking up the checked bags and going through customs my group finally made it to the exit and it was time for us to go join our host families. I saw mine right away. I walked towards them and from the very…

Summer Immersion in Costa Rica

A trip to Costa Rica had been on my bucket list for years, although I always envisioned it would be in the form of a family vacation. I never saw myself as a study abroad student, but I dreamed about meeting new people, trying different foods, and exploring the unknown. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and see the country from a local perspective, so a homestay program became my ticket to Costa Rica. However, the weight of what I had signed up for didn’t register until I was alone in the airport. The nerves kicked in and I worried about communication, safety, and travel. Customs and immigration were a bit nerve-wracking, I’ll have to admit, but my anxieties wore off in a matter of minutes as I took in the new country and was introduced to my host family.

The next two weeks were a whirlwind of adventures and emotions. As soon as I stepped out of the airport, I was greeted by two friendly chaperones and a driver. They spoke English and immediately made me feel comfortable…

How to Write a Fundraising Proposal for Your Summer Abroad Trip

You may have thought of asking family and friends to help fund your homestay adventure abroad, but have you considered appealing to complete strangers? As Blake Boles, author of The Unschool Adventures Guide to Online Travel Fundraising points out, “Donors aren’t just paying for the rewards offered; they’re paying to bolster a cause, support an individual they admire, or participate in something bigger than themselves.” In other words, a lot of people believe that studying abroad matters. Many people you know probably studied abroad when they were young and would like to help other young people have a similar experience. Giving small donations to individual students through online crowdfunding platforms like indiegogo or fundmytravel is a great way to do this. So, how will your personal experience abroad benefit our larger community? State your case! Here are some tips to help you write a winning proposal:Step 1: Make a plan Figure out how much you might earn from scholarships, how m…

5 Reasons to Host an Exchange Student

There are many benefits to hosting a student from abroad, even for just a couple of weeks. Here are five reasons why people love hosting! 1. Make International Friends and Form a Global Family International friends make the world feel smaller and more connected. Even if you speak different languages, it’s rewarding to discover common ground. We often hear that exchange students start to feel like family in only a short time as hosts include them in their daily activities. Story time! Peter, a host dad in Portland, says that he hosts because “it brings new life from other cultures into our house, breaking down borders to create an extended family. We love the fact that in two weeks a relationship is formed that will last for years. One adult teacher from Japan last year still refers to me as her Papa.” Peter and his wife with their pair of Japanese exchange students and a friend Karen, a host in Washington, has hosted a few French students. She says her family’s last exchange student, C…

5 Unique Northwest Experiences Your Exchange Student Will Write Home About

If you find yourself wanting to do something special with your exchange student in Oregon or Washington, these ideas will have you covered!

1. Beaches Sure, there are beaches all over the world, but the Pacific Northwest coastline has its own twist. It’s not everywhere you can see waterfalls tumbling into the ocean over rugged cliffs, or the forest backing up to the sea. Your exchange student will want to take lots of photos of the gorgeous coastline—especially if there’s a colorful sunset to boot. 2. Waterfalls Sometimes it feels as if every hike in the Northwest comes with an amazing waterfall. They’re everywhere, and it’s a beautiful thing. Show your international visitor some of the landscapes and natural features that make this area unique. Even if he or she is more of a city slicker, everyone can appreciate the majesty of a waterfall and enjoy the feeling of mist on their skin. 3. Food Carts These tiny, portable restaurants that are ubiquitous throughout the Northwest can be a m…