The winter holiday season is in full swing here in the U.S. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or another holiday this month, we hope you enjoy celebrating with friends and family.

We want to hear from you! Exchange students, what winter season traditions do you have in your home country? Host families, in what ways are you sharing your family traditions with your students?

Send your photos and stories to nwse@nwse.com.


Next year, NWSE will be 30 years old! To celebrate this special anniversary, we are asking all student participants from the last three academic years (2014 to 2017) to help us design an anniversary logo to mark the yearlong celebration! For contest details and to see the cool prizes, visit our contest page.



NWSE exchange student Juliette from Switzerland, who is enjoying her exchange year in Fort Worth, Texas, recently interviewed her NWSE area coordinator, Susan Jackubowski, for a school assignment. Here's an excerpt from her wonderful interview:

Doing an exchange year is one of the most amazing experiences you can ever have, and some amazing people help to make it happen. Susan Jackubowski is one of those people. As an area coordinator for NorthWest Student Exchange, Susan helps to partner exchange students with schools and host families and makes sure the students are happy and do well in school.

Susan first became familiar with student exchange as a teenager when her cousin hosted an exchange student from Australia 30 years ago. "I was very excited about it and we spent time together, but it was not for me," she said. At that time, Susan said she was too apprehensive to leave her house to go on an exchange, but if she could now go back in time and do an exchange year, there are many countries she would want to go to. "I would want to go somewhere very different than what I was used to," she said, suggesting somewhere in Asia, maybe Japan.

Susan started working in the exchange student domain four years ago. She began by hosting exchange students after she got an e-mail from her daughter's high school asking for host families. Susan is proud of her country and wants to share her culture—that is why she does this job despite a few intermittent challenges. The best reward for her is spending time with young people, learning about new cultures, and sharing her love of her country. "The best part of my job," she said, "is when a student tells me 'Thank you, you have changed my life.'"

Susan wants everyone to know that an exchange year can be the most exciting year of your life. It changes your outlook on the world, opens your mind to many more possibilities, and helps to shape you as the person you will become in life.

Share your photos and experiences with us by email at nwse@nwse.com.

Give the Gift of Exchange



Placement season for the 2017-18 school year has begun! Help us give the gift of exchange to deserving students in our 30th anniversary year. We've already begun looking for great host families for our students arriving next fall.

Exchange Students and Host Families: Please let us know if your family, friends, or acquaintances would like to consider hosting! Upon request, we'll provide $175 to you, a community organization, or school of your choice for referring a family that hosts one of our students! Unfortunately, regulations prohibit compensating a host family for referring itself.

Students can informally talk with their classmates to see if any of their families might like to host next year. Host families can connect with their network of neighbors, friends, and colleagues.

There's no need to go into great detail with interested hosts. Just send us their contact information, and we'll do the rest. Interested hosts can also visit our website for more detailed information: http://www.nwse.com/host-an-exchange-student/


Searching for a great holiday gift? Surprise your friends, relatives, and host families with an expression of your love for student exchange: an NWSE T-shirt or hoodie! (Shipping is fast and included in the price.)

Order yours now at https://my.nwse.com/shirts/


Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year, when the Northern Hemisphere tilts the farthest way from the sun. This year it is on December 21. In the U.S., as well as in many other cultures, the Winter Solstice marks the official beginning of winter.

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday, also called The Festival of Lights. The holiday celebrates the miracle that occurred when one-night's supply of lamp oil lasted for eight nights. It also commemorates the victory of a small band of Maccabee warriors who won an impossible battle against a huge army. Hanukkah is also celebrated with traditional foods and games, and by lighting a menorah for eight successive nights. The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, and this year Hanukkah will be celebrated from December 24 to December 31.

Christmas, observed as a national holiday in the U.S. on December 25, is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus. In the U.S., Christmas has become a cultural holiday for many non-Christians as well. A large part of the U.S. holiday tradition centers on family gatherings, the exchange of gifts, singing Christmas songs called carols, and decorating homes with lights and evergreen trees.

We always welcome your program questions and suggestions. Please email us at nwse@nwse.com or call our office at 206 527 0917. Questions we include in our newsletter will be published anonymously.
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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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