Why should you support your child’s desire to take part in an international exchange program? Is the time right for this type of program? Is student exchange suitable for your child? Is it safe to study at school in another country? What can be learnt overseas that can’t be learnt here at home?
These are all valid concerns that parents have held for generations – for as long as student exchange has existed and young people have yearned to travel. We have the experience and knowledge to assist you in making an informed decision. We understand your concerns... we have sent our children overseas and we have welcomed someone else’s most prized possession, their child, into our homes.
In 1993 Professor Gavin Andrews, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of NSW, undertook a study of 500 Australian adolescents who went overseas on exchange and said:
"Most of them went to foreign speaking countries so they were away from their families and operating in a foreign language and they were having to cope and we know it was stressful. For most of them very enjoyable – a great challenge. We compared them with their peers who were carefully matched on the sorts of things we are talking about – personality and maturity – but who stayed at home. And the exchange students went away 17, came back 18, but were actually 27 year olds inside their heads. Emotionally they made a nine year gain in personality and maturity. And that's really exciting because it means that those people, because of this controlled stressor, because they were safe the whole time, just had a lot of challenge, because of the controlled stressor they are going to come back advantaged over all their peers. As undergraduates at university they are not going to wipe themselves out with alcohol and they are not going to play with paper darts. They are going to know how to have fun, but they are also going to keep their eyes on the target, work hard and they are not going to be upset when there are tragedies, threats and reversals. Their maturity will let them cope with it."
(Excerpt from ABC television program, "Stepping Forward, Looking Back" produced by David Flatman Productions).
Our world is getting smaller, faster and more complicated. Methods of teaching and learning are changing. To succeed in tomorrow’s world, young people need the skills necessary for an ever increasing number of industry, government and private sector career pathways: knowledge of another culture, the ability to communicate with people from different linguistic backgrounds, flexibility, tolerance and understanding of alternate points of view and the maturity to make wise choices and decisions. Never before has the ability to speak a second language been so important. It is essential to make the right decisions, and now is the time to consider the opportunities.
There will never be another time when your child can travel overseas, study, immerse themselves in the culture and have fun... all with the support of a host family, school and the resources of our International Partner and WEP Australia. Not every student is suitable for an exchange program, but on this website and in our brochure we have provided information and advice to help you evaluate the options open to your child.
If you have any queries, we welcome your calls or a visit to our office.
Good luck and best wishes
CARLEEN WHEELER, CEO