Frequently Asked Questions about Studying Abroad
1. I’ve been interested in this program for a while. My only concern is that I don’t know any of the host country’s language. Can I apply?
Good news! You do not have to possess foreign language skills to fulfill your dream of studying abroad. As you embark on your adventure, you will learn the language and culture of your host country and will find yourself dreaming in that language after a few short months abroad.
2. I know I can choose the country I wish to spend my exchange year, but can I also choose where I am located in that country?
You could be placed anywhere in the country you have chosen. It is unlikely that you will be placed in or near a major city as smaller communities generally have host families and schools most willing to host young people from abroad. The experience of living and becoming a part of the culture and lifestyle is easier outside of major cities. There are many lovely friends to meet and awesome things to discover. It is your host family, their friends and neighbours, your school friends, as well as teachers, which make your year abroad the experience of a lifetime!
3. Do I need to get a visa before I apply, or do I do that only if selected?
Visas are necessary for most countries and may require a personal interview in a consulate. You do not apply for a visa until your host family and school placement is confirmed. ASSE provides details and guidance in how to obtain a visa after acceptance into the program.
4. What do you look for in applicants, and what makes an applicant stand out to be selected for the program?
Exchange Students should be motivated, hard-working, flexible and open-minded.
You need to have good academic grades, good recommendations from teachers and community members, good physical and mental health, outgoing and social personality, as well as a respectful, open, optimistic attitude towards your family, school and other cultures.
5. Can I apply for Financial Aid or Scholarships?
How so?Yes! ASSE offers several scholarships each year for academic year programs! Check out the opportunities here.
If you do not wish to apply for a scholarship, we do encourage you to submit the fully completed application and your full program fee payment by these dates to receive a 10% discount on applications for semester or academic year programs:
i. January 15th – August/September departures
ii. May 15th – January through May departures
6. Will I receive academic credit for the time I spend abroad?
That is a great question! ASSE recommends that you speak to your guidance counselor/academic advisor at your high school about your plans to study abroad and see what you may need to arrange in order to receive credits towards your graduation requirements. Only your school is able to advise you about credit opportunity from your study abroad program. Regardless of academic credit allowed by your high school, having spent a semester, or (even better) an academic year abroad, is a real plus for university admission. Admission’s officers look very favorable upon applicants who have successfully spent a year abroad, especially when learning a language and culture while studying full time at a secondary school in the host country.
7. My parents are hesitant to allow me to go abroad. What should they know about your programs?
Of course your parents only want the best for you and may have many questions. First and foremost, let your parents know that you will be living with a family who will welcome you into their home as a son or daughter. Any other specific questions they have can be answered by an ASSE Area Representative, we are happy to assist.
Another great way for both you and your parents to learn more about high school student exchange and what it takes to be an exchange student is to open your own home to a foreign exchange student and decide to become a host family. You and your parents will learn first-hand experiences about what it means to be a student abroad.
8. What are important deadlines?
Easy and simple! Details can be found here, or in the ASSE Outbound Programs brochure!
9. When will I learn about my host family and school?
Once your final application packet has been screened and approved, it will be sent overseas and the search for a host family and school will begin. This process will require your patience – the program works hard to confirm your host family and school early but it may take a bit of time to find the very best family for you. The majority of host families are found in the month or two prior to your departure month.
10. I want to explore the country as much as possible and want to travel. Can I do so?
As a participant in the ASSE International High School programs, you will be experiencing living in a foreign culture by living with a volunteer host family and attending a public school. That is really exciting and a lot of students your age do not get to do this! Beyond any trips or excursion which your host family might include you in, the ASSE organizations abroad will organize at least one major optional trip at a time convenient for your school schedule to ensure that you (and the other students) have the chance to gather during the year and enjoy other areas and sights of interest outside your communities. While you may have opportunities to travel and explore your host country beyond your local host community, be reminded that the main focus is that you go to school, do well academically and integrate fully into your host family. Independent travels without your host family, school or local representative are not permitted.