Student Demographics

Ever wondered where our students come from? We have a whopping 25 countries represented this year!

Pumpkin Contest Reminder

Remember, the deadline for submitting your photo for the Halloween jack-o'-lantern contest is Tuesday, November 1! The pumpkin must be carved by you, the exchange student, and you must be in the photo with your pumpkin.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! There has been a change in the available prizes! As some of our students already own an NWSE t-shirt, we will now be giving the second place winner an option to choose between a t-shirt and a hooded sweatshirt.

Please email all photo entries to

Visit our contest page for complete contest rules.

Meet Our NWSE Staff!
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Leah Zoller is the International Program Coordinator for students from East and Southeast Asia, the Japan outbound program coordinator, and one of the coordinators for our Swiss students at NWSE. Ze is originally from Ohio and settled in Seattle after working in Japan for four years. Leah is bilingual in English and Japanese and earned a Master of Arts in Japanese Studies. As a former exchange student and JET Program participant, ze loves seeing students get involved in grassroots internationalization, especially cooking!
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Tessa Christensen is NWSE's International Program Manager and coordinates programs for students from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, as well as American students going abroad to France. She was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, and speaks French. While earning her B.A. in French and Global Studies at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, Tessa completed a summer practicum in France. During the practicum, she lived with a French host family, which was an incredible opportunity and solidified the importance of complete cultural and language immersion. After college, Tessa moved to Seattle, Washington, and joined the NWSE team in February 2015. She loves being surrounded by others who share the same passion of international education, cross-cultural exchange, and bringing people together from all cultures and backgrounds.

Q: I've been feeling really homesick lately. I don't want my host family to think I don't like it here, but I need someone to talk to. Is there anyone out there who can help me?

A: It's very important that all of our students know that they are not alone. If you have a problem or just want someone to talk to, there are several people you can turn to. Your host family, friends, teachers, and school counselors are the people you see almost every day, and they can be of great help when you need it most. Don't forget that you can always talk to your NWSE Area Coordinator. Every student has an Area Coordinator (AC) who lives nearby. You should have received information on your representative before you left on your exchange, and their contact information is on your NWSE student ID card. Your AC is there for you if you ever have a problem or concern. You should be hearing from your AC at least once per month, either by phone, by e-mail, or meeting in person for an activity. When your AC asks you how things are going, be open and honest with them. That way, even if you have a small problem, they can help you solve it quickly.

Holidays and Cultural Events

October 31 marks a popular American celebration: Halloween! Halloween is a contemporary holiday that developed out of ancient Celtic, Druidic, and Christian traditions. Many American kids go trick-or-treating and dress in scary or funny costumes. If you have younger host siblings, it might be fun to take them trick-or-treating! Many Americans also make jack-o'-lanterns. These are pumpkins that are carved with faces or other designs and lit up by putting a candle inside them. Jack-o'-lanterns serve to guide trick-or-treaters from house to house on this dark and spooky night.

DID YOU KNOW? It was once believed that on Halloween night, the veil between our world and the spirit world was at its thinnest so that spirits could pass through it and visit the living. The spirits would go to each house door and ask for food or money, and they would curse anyone who refused them. This is where the tradition of "trick-or-treating" was created, although now we ask for candy instead! People also believed that if you dressed up like one of the spirits, they would mistake you as one of their own and would not bother you on this night.

We always welcome your program questions and suggestions. Please email us at 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
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NorthWest Student Exchange
4530 Union Bay Pl NE
Suite 214
Seattle, Washington 98105

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