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Connor's Impressions from France


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How to Write a Letter to Your Host Family

The letter to your host family is one of the most important pieces of your program abroad application; it’s the host family’s first impression of you. Exchange programs take many factors into account when matching you with a host family, but ultimately it’s up to the host family to decide whether to host you or not. Here are a few helpful tips to writing a great letter to your future host family: Use a positive tone. “The main reason a student’s dossier is passed over by families is unintentional negativity,” explains Rebecca Gundle, Program Coordinator for ANDEO International Homestays. A student might be trying to explain her preferences, but when she devotes equal attention to describing her dislikes, she comes across as negative or picky. A family wants to know that the student they host will be adaptable and willing to try new things. Keep your tone upbeat and positive. Go deeper than the application form. Try to avoid simply reiterating what is on the form. This is a c

Tips for Teens Traveling Independently

Many of our programs allow you to choose your own program dates, flights, and length. Some advantages to this are that families have control over booking flights and are able to use frequent flyer miles. One challenge, however, is that students must travel independently to their program destinations. Some teens are understandably nervous about flying alone.  Here are some tips to help teens and parents feel more at ease about traveling internationally without a chaperone or flight leader. Before booking your ticket Check with us before booking your ticket to see if anyone else from your area will be attending your program at the same time. We can put you in contact with one another. Booking your ticket Whenever possible, choose a direct flight. Fewer fights mean fewer opportunities for flights to be delayed or for other problems to arise. If a direct fight is not possible, choose a flight that stops or makes connections in the United States. Whenever possible, stick with t

Tackling the Dust Bunnies (and other surprising benefits of hosting an exchange student)

By Elizabeth Markleson, host mom You could say I'm a relaxed housekeeper. Our kitchen table is covered with piles of papers "to be dealt with later", our sink is often full of dishes, and you can be sure there is a whole family of dust bunnies living under the furniture. When my kids were little and they would see me go into my cleaning mode, they would always ask, "Who is coming to visit?" Not much changes over the years! When it comes to housework, a guest is a great motivator. The days were ticking down before our Spanish student arrived and my to-do list was getting longer and longer. “Don’t stress too much about it,” my sister said. “Isn’t your student just supposed to blend into your family as it is? This is an exchange student, not a visiting dignitary, after all.” True, but I am a strong believer in the power of first impressions. When my daughter went to Spain a few years ago, her host family added some really nice touches to make her feel welcome..