Exchange students meet their host families.

Exchange student and host family at a beach welcome party.

Short Term Exchange Student Programs can last anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks. They usually revolve around one common interest or purpose such as learning a language, sports camp, music camp, or theatrical arts. They usually include fun side activities such as sports activities or sightseeing trips that are organized by the agency.

When would a short term program be right for you?

If it addresses a specific interest of yours, you should consider a short term exchange student program.
If you want to learn about a specific country or part of a country, but don’t have time to spend a full academic year you should consider a short term program.  If you want to get to know the people from a country, but don’t have a lot of time you should consider a short term homestay program. If you want to have a lot of fun compressed into just a few weeks, you definitely should consider a short term exchange student program.

What to expect?

A short term exhange student program will often be more intense than any other type of program with your days tightly scheduled in order to get the most out of your time. If you book with an agency in your home country You will travel with a group from your home country, if you book directly with the host agency you may need to make your own travel  arrangements.

Your host family should be kind and accommodating, but don’t take advantage of them. Help out with the chores around the house and be polite. They are not hotel staff! Your host family will want to spend time with you. They may have a busy schedule, but the reason they are hosting is so they can get to know someone from outside their country.

What to look for?

When choosing an exchange student program, be sure to check out their reviews and recommendations. How long have they been in business? Are they willing to give references? Do they serve the area you would like to visit? How involved is the staff in the program?

In these days of Facebook, Yelp, and Twitter, there are more tools than ever for discovering what others who have participated in a student exchange program think of it. Once you have narrowed down your choices to your interests, use these tools to do your own research. It’s well worth the effort.

Our Recommendations

There are literally hundreds of short term exchange student programs to choose from with varying interests and time frames. Our current favorite is San Diego Coastal Homestays. They offer a choice of surfing or ESL classes with a variety of full day and half day excursions to Southern California’s favorite attractions. They intentionally keep groups small in order to give personalized service to everyone, and have been producing programs that students rave about since 1989.

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