Three Benefits of Hosting Foreign Exchange Students

Has your high school hosted exchanges with other schools, or would your high school would be interested in hosting students from another country for the first time? EdOdyssey works with schools from around the world. For schools wanting to travel, we facilitate short-term immersion programs tending to last 7-10 days. For schools that want to host students from abroad, we've had students stay short term for 2-5 days and we can also arrange longer stays.

Over the last five years and counting, we’ve built strong connections/relationships between schools in the US, China, Peru, Spain and more. Our program wants to empower young people taking classroom knowledge and applying it to real world settings abroad.

At EdOdyssey, we value opening doors to new cultures through home stays with local families in conjunction with a host school to build and develop a deeper ties between local schools, their communities and visiting schools.

Why do we believe so strongly in the importance and value of immersion program exchanges between schools from different countries?

Here are three major benefits to hosting foreign students for a short-term immersion program:

1. Show The Best of Your Local Culture

The best part about people visiting is that you get to show them the highlights of your city and the surrounding area! In our daily lives, we get too busy or tied up with our day-to-day activities that we sometimes don’t enjoy the beauty of our local places and spaces.

When was the last time you saw a local show or went to a nearby museum? Wouldn’t it be fun to meet a new friend from another part of the world and give him or her a look into your daily life at home, at school, and in your community?

When we collaborate with schools from around the world, we look to build an educational program that’s mutually beneficial for both host and visiting schools. For our visiting schools, we build our home stays around 3-5 days in the host city so the visiting students can visit the school, get a sense of the school day, and participate in classes to see what a day in the life of a local student looks like in another country. For both host and visiting schools, we find activities that are both educational and fun with local musicians, artists, athletes and notable local personalities. 

We take the time for our host brothers and sisters, and their visitors, to visit a local famous place of interest. You have an opportunity to reflect on the beauty of your own home and culture, and you get the chance to show a new friend how great your hometown is as well. 

2. Make Life-Long Connections

We see the importance in bridging culture gaps through hand matching our host students with their visiting brother or sister based on their mutual interests. Despite each homestay lasting for only a few days, their connections and the lessons learned during this period can last a lifetime!

From the start, we ask both host students and visiting students to complete a survey. After they submit questionnaires with their likes and interests to EdOdyssey, they are matched and put in contact through us so they can connect through email with the option to share their social media and phone number!

These short and intense experiences allow both schools to see the beauty in differences and the importance of mutual respect!

In the past, we’ve worked at a local food bank organizing food donations!

In the past, we’ve worked at a local food bank organizing food donations!

3. Share School Communities & Missions

In both visiting and host schools, we like to organize different events in the community. In our past programs, we’ve focused on developing four aspects of the exchange involving (1) a service opportunity (2) a local visit, (3) a local event (4) a big dinner with host families and their visiting brother or sister.

For service, we’ve organized an event with a local non-profit, charity or organization, such as a food bank in Spain, providing value to the local community. We set up these events out of solidarity - ultimately both locals and visitors gain a better appreciation for programs that provide assistance to an underserved part of the community.

In our past local visits, we’ve found a museum, or a local event, that meets and matches the respective missions and objectives of both of our schools.  When we continue speak and collaborate with both host schools and visiting schools, we want to align their missions and objectives.  When we’ve created events, such as flamenco shows in Spain or volunteer events in Peru, we coordinate with both schools to create a cohesive and coherent plan for all of us to learn from each other. If the visiting school wants to focus on a specific classroom subject, or a specific topic (like history or art) we work with host schools to coordinate events that mutually benefit both schools and communities.

In the past, our local event has brought in local artists and musicians that highlight an aspect of local culture and community. We’ve hosted local musicians and artists to come and put on a show at the local school.

During our previous immersion programs, we’ve worked to create a cultural event in conjunction with the host school to provide a big finale for host families and the visiting students and teachers.

Ready to see if your school is the right fit for our homestay program? We’re open to your ideas and we want to hear them! If your school has volunteer centers, local museums, or businesses, we want to facilitate sharing your community with a visiting school from abroad!

Please send us an email at info@edodyssey.com for more information and we’ll be in touch with next steps on planning your unique journey.