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2

While you live the typical daily life of an-

other culture, you are learning every minute

of every day. You might live in a French city

meant for walking, with cobblestone streets

so narrow you can touch the walls of build-

ings with outstretched arms on both sides.

Or you may live in a Spanish village where

the remains of an entire castle lie. Perhaps

you’ll find yourself in Sweden living in a

walled city dating back to medieval days,

or that your homestay town in Germany

includes a “living castle,” an actual private

residence still being used today. These are

the sorts of discoveries you will make as you

learn firsthand about what you have only

studied in the classroom until now.

You’ll also find that the school systems are

among the best in the world, and that the

teenagers are much the same as they are at

home. They work hard at their studies, play

sports, love parties and cinema, and pursue

hobbies just like you. A few will become

your friends for life.

The best way to truly become involved

in the culture of a foreign country is to

live among its people as a member of

a family. Every ASSE exchange student

does just that. Host families are care-

fully screened by ASSE and consider it a

privilege to welcome students like you

into their home. Host families feel they

benefit from the experience as much

as you do! They want to learn about

your culture and introduce you to theirs.

Many families have children your age,

and you may find that a family member

speaks English, even if it’s only a little.

And every ASSE exchange student

has a local ASSE representative who

is conversant in English and who will

plan some social activities and be

available to help you during your stay.

With

ASSE

you’re

not just part of a program,

you’re part of a

Family.

Speaking a

Foreign Language

While someone in your host family

may speak some English (except in the

European Summer Language programs),

you’ll quickly realize that it’s not of much

concern. In fact, you’ll probably find that

after a few weeks you’ll be asking them

to speak in their native tongue.

This may be hard for you to believe. You

might be wondering how you’ll express

yourself; how you’ll communi-

cate with store clerks, teach-

ers, classmates and your host

family. Even if you’ve studied a

foreign language in school, you

won’t feel ready to live in that

language. But when you’re surrounded

by that language from morning till night,

you learn the fastest way possible. It’s

like a month of classes in a single day!

And in non–English speaking countries,

you’ll either spend 6 to 14 days receiv-

ing instruction within your host country

at an ASSE Language and Cultural En-

richment Program or be provided with

remedial language instruction / training

(included in the program fee), during

your initial few weeks.

With that initial preparation, plus the

constant exposure you’ll have to the

language, you’ll be talking comfortably

with your host family in just a few weeks.

Within four months, exchange students

should speak the host country language

fluently. You’ll tell jokes and gossip with

friends, even dream and speak to pets

in the foreign language. And the fluency

you develop will give you a great advan-

tage in your future schooling and career.