The following is a list of considerations when choosing an exchange organisation.
- Registered with the Education Department in your state.
- Incorporated as a not for profit student exchange organisation.
- Promotes the ethos and ideals of student exchange.
- Has a good reputation with the Education Departments.
- Membership with relevant and professional organisations and associations.
- An Australian organisation that understands Australian education and Australian students.
- An Australian organisation that makes the decisions in Australia.
- An Australian organisation that can evaluate and independently select international partner organisations (not a branch office).
- Has discreet Australian marketing materials and does not use international materials.
- Treats the student as an individual – biggest is not necessarily best.
- Is available to meet with students and parents in their office at any time.
- Does not expect reciprocal hosting.
- Has procedures in place for emergencies.
- Is not a travel agency.
Management and Staff
- Experienced management.
- The director is available to speak with you when you have questions and concerns.
- Individual staff members have relevant and rich experience as exchange students, host families, coordinators, parents of exchange students, etc.
- Guaranteed country of choice – when you have a passion for a country, culture and possibly language, that is where you want to go.
- Full length programs – check program lengths.
- Variable and flexible starting dates.
- Students are enrolled in school and not just as visitors.
- All-inclusive prices – is comprehensive insurance included? Is the policy written for the vagaries of student exchange? Is it a top quality policy? Are you expected to ‘top up’ the insurance? Is there a deductible?
- Free application forms – no pre-application fee which adds to the overall program price.
- Extras offered in the host country – some countries offer language and culture weeks or camps on arrival, and activities and trips during the year.
- Trips and activities – some countries offer trips and activities as inclusions in the program fee.
- Realistic language requirements.
- Optional intensive language study courses in the host country.
Overseas Partner Organisation
- The organisation will identify the overseas partner.
- They have confidence in their partners.
- They have the ability to change partners (not branch of an international company).
- They can explain how the host families are chosen and screened.
- They are confirmed by government registration or a quality assurance procedure.
- They provide a comprehensive post arrival orientation.
- They provide 24-hour support.
- They care about each and every student and treat him or her as an individual.
Selection and Preparation
- The application is comprehensive and detailed so that the best match of student to host family is possible.
- Detailed information on the educational and medical history is obtained so that assistance can be quickly offered.
- Clearly defined program rules and the consequences of transgression are stated.
- Offers information evenings/gatherings and open days, where questions can be asked.
- Referrals from past participants and their parents are provided.
- Where possible, the student is interviewed in their home.
- Visa assistance is provided.
- A comprehensive pre-departure orientation is conducted.
- Check in assistance at the gateway airport is provided.
- Cross-cultural training is provided.
- A parent orientation is provided.
- Preparation assistance in the form of lending library, newsletters and handbooks for students and natural parents is provided.
- Flexibility in departure dates.
- All transport costs from the designated gateway airport to the host family and return are included.
- Quality airlines are used.
- Ability to access travel assistance 24 hours.
- No mandatory fuel or other surcharges not published in the program price.
- All students are met at their final destination.
- Support in Australia - a staff member personally answers the emergency phone, and that staff member has the power to make the necessary decisions.
- Support overseas – 24-hour support is necessary.
- Provision of regular feedback while the student is on program.
- Availability for support to returned students.
- Provision of prompt follow up to parents of students on program.
- In compliance with education department regulations, WEP has a Grievance Procedure that is available upon request.
- The CEO is available to students and parents 24 hours.