Experience the difference! Your new school will definitely be different, whatever you may have been used to from before. And it is so exciting to take part in the school system of another country. Soon, you will get used to different routines, like how you greet your teacher and how you find your way to your next class. It’s important to respect the rules at school and to arrive to your classes on time. At most schools, you wear your regular clothes, but in some cases you may have to wear a school uniform. This depends entirely on what school you end up in. As an exchange student, it’s especially fun to share things about your home country. Your teachers and classmates are curious.
It is fun and exciting to learn a new language in a new environment and often, you will speak the language completely fluently by the time you go home. This knowledge will be valuable for you throughout your life.
But your life is going to be so much more than just school. You will have plenty of time for activities, exercise and excursions, which will allow you to grow even more during your year abroad. Your high school year will open a lot of new doors; there is no doubt about that.
During your free time, you have the chance to discover your new host country. You can go on excursions, take walks, or hang out with your new friends. Join a soccer team, try a new sport, play an instrument in a band, practice with a dance crew, get involved and help out as a volunteer, or hang out with friends at a café. The main thing is that you spend time with people, reach out, and really take advantage of your free time.
In many countries, schools offer activities, giving you the chance to play your favorite sport or try new hobbies. Of course, you will also get help from your host family, classmates and area representative, who will show your local gems in the area where you live.
There are also often opportunities to go on trips and other excursions intended specifically for exchange students. Ask your local representative once you’re there for more information.
STS recommends having USD 400/EUR 300 per month as pocket money while you are abroad. Remember that your costs may be slightly higher at the beginning of your stay, when it’s time to buy textbooks, pay membership fees and maybe buy a bus pass or other necessities. (In the US, the school bus is free.) Your host family is not responsible for paying for your leisure activities, travel, clothing, or hygiene products, for example.
Remember to never borrow or lend money to anyone during your stay, not to friends or to your host family. It could easily lead to a misunderstanding.