Exchange Year 101

Words from the Wise

Words to the Wise

Spending a year in America as a high schooler is a big decision. There are ups and downs, friends to make and cultural differences to navigate. Some of the best resources during your exchange year can be the other international students who have come before you! We’ve compiled some nuggets of wisdom for anyone considering going on exchange, from the international students who have seen and done it all.



Think about what you really want to achieve during your exchange year and what the real reasons are why you want to do this!”

“Before you leave your home country write down or make a video where you tell yourself why you wanted to take a year abroad.”

“Start writing a diary. “Nothing changes day by day but when you turn around and look at it form a bigger perspective – big changes have happened.”

“DO IT! But don’t think it will be easy. It’s not like one year of vacation, it’s a year of life.”

“Don’t go in with expectations. Things will be different than you could ever expect.”



“Do sports! Especially if they start before school, because then you have time to get a few friends before school starts, and they can give you a few advices of what to do and what not to do.”

“Be open and talk to everybody even when you think you would never be friends with them in your home country. They could be different then they look like.”

“People are just as curious to hear what you have to say as you are about what they have to say.”

“Don’t be afraid to go up and start talking to someone. Don’t wait for friends to just come to you!” 

“You should get involved maybe in one of the school sport teams or a play or musical because then you’ll find friends a lot easier and those are friends for life.”



“ALWAYS do your homework!!” 

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help to teacher, counselors, other students.”

“At the beginning school is hard. It is important to stay concentrate and motivated because every week it is getting easier!”


“Be open to new things and don’t get scared if something unexpected happened. Everybody can help you and can figure out a solution.”

“In hard times you should try to spend time with your host family instead of hiding in your room!”

“Sign up for school activities or clubs to stay busy.”

“And most importantly – remember that it’s gonna be what you make it, so never let negative thoughts get to you.”


“Both exchange students and families share almost the same experience – facing different cultures, traditions, people, and we need to be grateful and thankful for every family, every student. It is a great opportunity to learn how to communicate.”

“Be open to everything, even though it seems weird. It is not wrong, just different.”

“Remember to be yourself”


“Do everything, don’t hold back! Say yes to every chance to do something you have never done before. The year passes by way too fast to let a day go by where you could have said yes!”

“An exchange year is not the best year of your life because of living like in a movie. An exchange year is the best year of your life, because you learn SO MUCH and it’s an experience that is not comparable to anything else.”

“Cherish every memory, love every moment, embrace every possibility”

“Exchange changes everything. It changes your environment, your experience with school, with people, with sport. It also changes the people around you and especially: it changes you. Your style, your view of things, your personality in a way. And the best part, it never ends.”