Message from our Executive Director
Welcome, everyone to NWSE's 31st year of cultural exchanges - and congratulations on beginning your long-awaited journey!
It takes dedicated and mature students to embark on an international exchange, not to mention your caring and welcoming host families who ultimately make this experience possible. With this letter I want to express our appreciation for all of you having chosen NWSE for your cultural exchange. We are honored that you are beginning this life-changing adventure together with us!
Though the new and challenging first few weeks of school may prove to be a little stressful, adjusting to a new school, and a new (host) family, language, and culture is a challenge, we are confident that you will successfully meet, as your predecessors did! Here are a few tips that successful former exchange students want to share with you, to help you succeed:
- Introduce yourself - don't wait for someone else to say hello.
- Get involved in a school sport or other activity - that's the best way to make friends
- Keep trying - you may not meet your new best friend on the first day of school, but with time, you will eventually find your circle.
In case you ever feel homesick, and just to guarantee great personal relationships, here are some more tried-and-true tips to help:
- Communicate openly and often with your host family and NWSE Area Coordinator.
- Limit your communication with family and friends at home to one hour per week.
- Participate actively in your host family's daily life and get involved in your school community.
- Talk to people in person, not just over your electronic devices!
Building new relationships takes some work (...see 7 points above). But this work really pays off when you commit to it and do it. This "work," that YOU do, is the core of making your exchange a success.
Send us your pictures and videos via our Facebook page, Instagram, or email. Your positive experiences, images and impressions motivate other students and families to participate in student exchange - the best international diplomacy on the planet! Plan ahead for our picture and video contests this year. Use your phones for something culturally constructive and valuable - and be eligible to win great prizes!
Re-read and follow the NWSE rules in your application and handbook. Remember: Successful students follow those rules closely. We want each student to successfully complete the exchange.
Congratulations again on your arrival and beginning your exchange. Remember that there is a great network of people here at NWSE to contact at any time for anything (...and, yes, we also absolutely LOVE getting good news of your activities and accomplishments as the exchange progresses)!
Executive Director, NorthWest Student Exchange