Guidelines To a Successful Exchange

What you need to do when hosting an exchange child :

Before the trip :

  • Make contact with your exchange family and try to get to know them a little. Also encourage your child to do the same—by emailing or telephoning the exchange child.
  • With your exchange family decide on dates. We recommend that you do not make the initial visits longer than ten days.
  • Let your exchange know who will meet their child at the airport or station.
  • Remind your child about good manners and how they should behave towards a foreign guest.
  • You will of course ensure that the guest child has a comfortable bed either in a room of their own, or sharing with their exchange child.
  • You might want to make up a provisional timetable of activities and excursions for the duration of your guest child’s stay. For example :
  • We suggest that you could even go so far as to write down a list of family rules regarding bedtimes, meals, the locking of doors and so forth.
  • Please also see that the child takes any medical treatments stipulated by their family.

During the stay :

  • You are responsible for the day to day costs of any activities or expeditions for your guest child. Should you wish to send the exchange child on a longer cultural or sports course we recommend that you gain the approval of the exchange family and to ask for them to defray the costs.
  • We recommend that, while the guest child is staying with you, you send your exchange family photographs of their son or daughter doing whatever activities you have laid on for them. Families always like to get pictures of their children and it will reassure them that all is going well.
  • Treat the guest child like you would a member of your own family.
  • Especially with regards to adolescents, you should give clear guidelines to your exchange family about your rules concerning bedtimes and whether the children are allowed out in the evenings, and under what circumstances.
  • Please ensure that whatever activities and outings you arrange are undertaken as safely as possible.
  • Make sure that the exchange child is eating three proper, healthy meals a day. If need be also follow other nutritional requirements as requested by the exchange family.

What you should do when sending your own child abroad on exchange :

Before the trip :

  • Make contact with your exchange family and try to get to know them a little. Also encourage your child to do the same—by emailing or telephoning the exchange child.
  • With your exchange family decide on dates. We recommend that you do not make the initial visits longer than ten days.
  • Book your ticket and inform your exchange family of the place and time of arrival and departure.
  • Please obtain travel insurance for your child. This should cover medical treatment and repatriation, loss of luggage and other typical eventualities.
  • Find out who will be meeting your child at the train station or airport. Do likewise for the return leg of the trip.
  • Remind your child of the rules of good manners and how to behave while in a foreign country. You might think of consulting guidebooks about the country your child is visiting—sometimes there are sections on customs and traditions.
  • Help your child to pack and ensure they include adequate changes of clothes and take into account climate/season.
  • Provide your child with pocket money for his or her expenses and keep them abreast with the exchange rate.
  • Give your child a gift to take to the exchange family. Ideally it should be something typical of your country or region (bearing in mind suitability for travel and customs regulations)

During the stay :

  • Shortly before departure, we suggest you write all the relevant information about your child (travel details, medicines etc) in one document that you send to the exchange family, or place in your child’s suitcase. It is the best way not to forget anything.
  • Once your child has arrived at his or her exchange family, do telephone to make sure that everything is okay.
  • After the first couple of days we recommend that you do not call your child too regularly—it can make them more prone to homesickness. Instead encourage your child to call home if he wishes to, or to send you emails.
  • It is of paramount importance that the exchange family has all the medical information necessary concerning your child : allergies, health problems, medical treatments, orthodontic plates, spectacles, contact lenses, prosthetics etcetera.
  • If your child has specific dietary requirements, please inform the exchange family.

April InternationalWe recommend you take out insurance directly with April International. Our international partner to ensure you when you travel abroad.