Willkommen! ¡Bienvenido! Youkoso!
30 years NWSE

Message from our Executive Director

Welcome to NWSE's 2017-18 program, marking our 30th anniversary year!

It takes dedicated and mature students as well as caring and attentive host families to ensure successful and enjoyable exchanges - and, if you are reading this newsletter as an NWSE participant, I believe those adjectives describe you!

Here are some questions you might consider as you start your adventure: What do you hope to gain from this experience? How do you want to grow as a person? Are you letting yourself be open to seeing things in a new way? Are your expectations realistic and reasonable? In what ways can you contribute to your American and home communities? And what can (and will) you do to accomplish these goals?

I suggest asking (and answering) these questions at least once per quarter during your exchange, write them down in a journal, and see how your answers may change over time - and see how you change and grow during this program.

Another important question I would like participants to ask themselves is whether they are being fully present and open to their intercultural experiences in the U.S., or whether they are isolating themselves (students in particular) by communicating too often with family and friends back home or spending too much time on the phone, in social media drama, or on the Internet instead of connecting with real people in real time in person.

If students are feeling homesick, or host families, host schools or host communities experience problems, remember to do the following:

  1. Communicate often and openly with your host family about everything - directly and not via electronic means!
  2. Communicate openly and often with your NWSE Area Coordinator
  3. Make your relationship with your host family your first priority
  4. Sign up for activities and hobbies in your host community and school
  5. Limit/eliminate the time spent communicating with family and friends back home
  6. Put your phone away and talk to the people around you face-to-face!

We assume that you, as exchange students, are aware of the many different perceptions that people may make of you. As you develop new relationships with people in the U.S., remember that how you choose to communicate with the people around you is the most important thing that will affect the success of your exchange. Be present, be communicative, be considerate, be respectful, be open-minded, be flexible - and, above all, be ready to have a great exchange!

Jeff Laband
Executive Director, NorthWest Student Exchange

Reminders to Students and Host Families

Attention students and host families! Here are a few quick "housekeeping" reminders as you begin your exchange:

  1. Host Families: Host families are responsible for helping their exchange student with their class registration process at the high school. If you run into any problems or complications, please contact your NWSE Area Coordinator right away.
  2. Students: Although public schools do not charge tuition, be prepared to pay around $250 per semester for fees for registration, sports, textbooks, school supplies, bus transportation, etc., depending on your school.
  3. Host Families and Students: If you have not already done so, please schedule an appointment with your NWSE Area Coordinator for your host family and student post-arrival orientation. These orientations are required for all high school J-1 visa holders and their host families.

Five Tips from an NWSE Alumna

Louise, one of our favorite former NWSE students, shares her advice on how to make your exchange a success:

Hello, new students! My name is Shigeng Shang, you can call me Louise. I'm from China and I was an exchange student with NWSE in 2006. After that, I went to college in Massachusetts, and I have been living and working in the U.S. ever since. I'm very honored to have this opportunity to share my experience with you. Looking back, there were some things that stood out to me that either made my year successful or that I wish I could have done differently. By telling my story, maybe it will be helpful to you.

  1. Show appreciation to your host family and everyone who helps and is nice to you.
    Most important thing first. Every day, I feel enormous gratitude when I think about how generous the host families are for opening up their homes and how many people work so hard together to make all of our exchange programs possible. They deserve to know you appreciate them. I still keep in touch with my host family and my coordinator. It's a friendship I'll forever cherish.
  2. Make friends. Don't sit alone in the cafeteria. My wonderful host dad taught me this. Being the new kid in high school is tough. But remember you have something unique to offer. People are curious about other countries and cultures just like you. Start "small talk," shake hands and introduce yourself, join a club. You will slowly make friends once you take those little steps outside of your comfort zone.
  3. Pick classes that fit your level. Originally, I had all junior (11th grade) classes, but I was struggling with English and History. After talking to the school counselor, I was switched to a 9th grade English-as-a-second-language (ESL) class with only three students. I also switched to 10th grade History and 12th grade Calculus. By adjusting the difficulty of my classes, I was able to focus on growing my language skills while still challenging myself in school.
  4. Stay away from your phone and computer. I truly regret all the time I wasted on the internet in my room alone. I was not spending quality time with my amazing host family, nor was I studying or socializing. Learn from my mistake!
  5. You will be fine. This is not a tip, but an assurance. Look how far you've come! And you have the potential to go further. You have people all around you who are ready to help. Don't worry about getting everything right the first time. Enjoy the adventure!

I hope this helps. Again, welcome to the program. You've made a great decision. Now go and have fun!

2006 NWSE Exchange Student

Louise arrived in the U.S. for the first time back in 2006.
This is her with her new host family at the airport.
Meet the NWSE Staff!

Each newsletter, you will have the opportunity to read about two of our hardworking and dedicated NWSE staff members. Meet Tessa and Alex!

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Tessa Christensen is the Program Manager for students from France, Germany, and Italy, and students going abroad to France. She was born and raised in Fargo, ND. While earning her B.A. in French and Global Studies at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, she completed a summer practicum in France. In France, she lived with a host family where she learned the importance of completing a cultural and language immersion experience. Tessa later moved to Seattle, and joined the NWSE team in February 2015. She loves working with others who are also passionate about international education and cross-cultural exchange.
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Alex Minami is a Program Coordinator for students from Germany and Austria. He also joined the NWSE team in May 2016. He was born and raised on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu and moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, where he completed his bachelor's degree in political science and German cultural studies, as well as a master's degree in Middle East studies. He has previously worked in youth development and international education programs. He speaks German, Arabic, French, and Hawaiian and has studied abroad in Vienna, Austria and Cairo, Egypt.
2017/18 Exchange Student Excursions

NWSE-affiliated organizations are offering great excursions to 2017/18 exchange students! Click the flyer links below for more information.

Please note that the below excursions are offered solely under the auspices of the program providers listed on the linked flyers, which operate and manage their programs independently of NWSE. NWSE assumes no responsibility or liability for program outcome. In previous years, students have enjoyed participating in appropriate, short-term cultural programs outside the auspices of NWSE.

Dates: October 18 - 23, 2017

What's Included: 5 Nights at at a beautiful Southern California Hotel, Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers Studio Tour, Hollywood, Beach, and more. Fully chaperoned by experienced 27 year veteran group coordinators.

View Flyer

Dates: March 5 - 10, 2018

What's Included: 5 Nights at a Beautiful Orlando Hotel, 4 Disney World Theme Parks, Universal Studios Parks, Kennedy Space Center, the Beach! Fully chaperoned by experienced 27 year veteran group coordinators.

View Flyer

Dates: April 2 - 7, 2018

What's Included: 5 nights hotel stays (quad occupancy), Transportation to/from airport, TWO Broadway Shows, Fully chaperoned by experienced 27 year veteran group coordinators

Visits to: Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, 9/11 Memorial, Central Park, Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and MUCH more!

View Flyer

Our Newest Arrivals
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Yurim from South Korea meets her host family at the baggage terminal!
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Ricardo from Mexico gets a warm welcome at the airport!
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Simon from Germany and his host family's huge welcome sign!
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Foix from Spain and her host siblings pose with their creative welcome sign!
Holidays and Cultural Events

Eid al-Adha (Sept. 1) is one of two major festivals in Islam and marks the end of the annual pilgrimage season to Mecca called the Hajj. Muslim Americans, who make up one percent of the U.S. population, celebrate by sharing gifts with family and friends.

Labor Day (Sept. 4), the first Monday in September, honors labor unions and their efforts to improve working conditions for American workers. The day is also marks the unofficial end of summer, with many school years beginning after Labor Day.

The Fall Equinox (Sept. 22) marks the official beginning of the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, the Sun will be exactly above the equator, and the day and night will be the same length.

We want to hear from you!

In each newsletter edition, we want to feature a story, news piece, or profile about you! Send your photos and stories to nwse@nwse.com.

Remember to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram to find program photos, student videos, news articles, contests, NWSE announcements, and more!

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NorthWest Student Exchange
4530 Union Bay Pl NE, Suite 214
Seattle, WA  USA

Phone : (206) 527-0917
Email : nwse@nwse.com
Website : www.nwse.com

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NorthWest Student Exchange
4530 Union Bay Pl NE
Suite 214
Seattle, Washington 98105

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