Yes, you can. But first consider if you are confident and mature enough to undertake this program. If you can't fly and negotiate airports by yourself maybe you are not ready for this program.
Great care is taken to ensure suitability! All families are interviewed in the family home. Parents are also reference checked. Criminal history checks are conducted in all countries except in Japan, where wider reference checks are carried out instead.
Yes, the staff at WEP Australia are available to you and your parents 24 hours a day for emergencies. We are more than happy to discuss your progress during office hours. In some host countries, in accordance with the culture, your parents will receive written reports on your progress.
We pride ourselves on our personal approach so jump on the phone to 1300 884 733 or email us at email@example.com. Alternatively, click here to request a non-binding information pack including a FREE application form.
Generally, for programs of three months or less in length no student visa is required. For longer programs you will need to get a student visa. WEP Australia will assist you with this process. Note: visa costs are not included in the program fee.
After having thought carefully about why you want to be an exchange student, convinced your parents of the idea, spoken to your teachers and completed our application form, you should be assured that your chances of being accepted are high! Provided you meet the academic, health and broad personality requirements of your chosen program, there is usually little reason for us to prevent you from following your ambition and becoming an exchange student.
In order to be accepted into the program, you need at least a C grade average at school. If applying for an English speaking country you are required to maintain these grades whilst overseas. However, in non-English speaking countries you are simply expected to display a concerted, conscientious approach to your schoolwork while you master the language. Irrespective of language skills, students are expected to participate in all assessments (exams, tests, etc).
Generally, students must be between the ages of 15 and 18 when they begin their program. However, some countries have different age restrictions and accept students over the age of 18 or under the age of 14. Mature 14 year olds may apply for limited destinations (contact WEP for further information). Year 12 students may apply for a year 13 (gap year) program and go overseas for either a short-term, semester or year program. It is important that students apply while still at secondary school.
Students possessing all manners of different personality traits successfully become WEP exchange students. Whilst all of them share a common curiosity and tolerance of other peoples and cultures, our students can be outgoing or reserved, quiet or loud, imaginative or productive, or just a bit of everything!
You should have access to at least AU$300 – AU$350 a month to pay for your personal items, transport to and from school, any lunches purchased at school, books, entertainment, phone calls, school trips etc. Additionally you should take $AU500 for initial purchases on arrival in your exchange country such as school books, a winter jacket etc.
The insurance policy, the cost of which is included in your program fee, is comprehensive and covers your medical, accident and hospital cover as well as repatriation, public liability and travel insurance. The policy caters for the visit of a member of your immediate family should you be hospitalised and has no deductibles.
Relatives and friends are not permitted to visit you while on exchange. Our experience shows that such visits unsettle students and interrupt schooling. Remember, this is an educational program and you must attend school full time. Your parents can meet and travel with you at the end of your program.
WEP Australia and the receiving organisation need to ensure that you are suitable for the program, that you have the support of your parents and school, and that your expectations are realistic. The application form is integral in finding a match between the student and the host family, to assist in solving any problems while you are away and to ensure you are in agreement with the legal requirements of the program.
Yes, if you are really unhappy, you can return home early. However, WEP Australia and our overseas partner organisation will work very hard to prevent this from happening. Most problems can be solved, and our experience tells us that students who insist on returning early to Australia regret their decision. Hopefully you will have thought long and hard about going on exchange. It will take determination, courage and your best efforts to make it work.
Yes, the program fee covers all flight costs from designated departure airports on quality international airlines.
All students change while on exchange and you may have some problems resettling back into your family and school. However, these problems will pass and WEP Australia is here to help you with reorientation assistance and a friendly voice over the phone.
Aside from your host family, local coordinator and our international partner organisation, we will also be available to provide support if need be. In the case of an emergency, both you and your family will be able to call our 24-hour emergency phone, the personal mobile of our CEO Carleen Wheeler.
Normally you will be advised of your host family well before you leave Australia. In some countries however, such as Spain, Japan and the USA, this advice can be very late. If you do not like the idea of receiving a late placement you should choose another country. You will not be sent overseas until you have a confirmed, permanent host family and school.
WEP Australia is a registered non-profit organisation that works with independent international partners to organise exchange programs. The program fee is allocated between the overseas organization and WEP Australia. The portion of the fee going to the overseas partner subsidises the location, screening, appointment and orientation of the host family, organising school enrolment, supervising your program and providing 24-hour support while you are in your host country. The portion of the fee going to WEP Australia subsidises the organisation of your program from the Australian end, ensuring you are prepared and supported for your program, your domestic and international airfares to and from your final destination, your comprehensive insurance policy, orientations, handbooks, and support 24 hours/day in Australia and in your exchange country.
At least two years prior language study is mandatory for France, Japan, China, Austria and German speaking Switzerland. Language experience is desirable, but not necessary, for other countries. An intensive language course before you leave Australia will be of enormous benefit in assisting you to quickly adapt to your new family, school and life.
WEP Australia is unable to say whether you will have to repeat school upon your return. You should discuss your plans with your school before deciding to go on exchange. In most cases students in years 9 and 10 are able to go away for a semester or a year and fit back into the same year level as their peers upon return. For older students this is less likely to be the case and quite often students must repeat the year of Australian schooling that they have missed. If you are concerned about this, jump on the phone! We can provide lots of helpful tips and advice.
In some countries this is possible, however, it is usually only a ceremonial achievement and may have little bearing on gaining entry into a tertiary institution in Australia.
Provided you are under the age of 18, you may still be eligible! Year 13 programs give you the opportunity to take a break between school and tertiary studies, and more time to assess your future goals and options. Alternatively, if you are over 18, why not consider going on a volunteer or work and travel program to some of the amazing locations on offer throughout Asia, Africa or South America! See more at www.volunteerabroad.com.au
Independent travel is not permissible while on exchange. However, you will be able to travel with your host family, school, receiving organisation and other community groups such as sporting teams or scouts. Again, the foremost aim of the program is educational and your priority for any holidays must be your host family who will be investing a lot of time, energy and money into your program.
In the beginning it is rare that students are not homesick and experience no problems. However, managing these situations by yourself, along with our support, is one of the great benefits of going on exchange. It builds self-confidence, maturity and a sense of perspective.
Host families come in all shapes and sizes. They represent a complete cross-section of each host community and the richness of family diversity in today's world. Families can be "nuclear" (mum, dad plus children), "empty-nesters" (older couples or singles who now have grown children), couples (de facto or married) of any age with or without children, blended families, same-sex couples with children, single parents with children, single adults and more. Most importantly, all families are volunteers, eager to host students and are carefully interviewed and screened to ensure that they will make an appropriate host family. Host families in Canada, UK and Ireland require a government-mandated stipend to assist with the costs of hosting.
No, your family will not be required to host an exchange student in return. However, naturally we would be extremely grateful if your family did consider offering another student the same hospitality and care that you will receive.
You will have a local coordinator to assist you in coping with any difficulties you may have while overseas, and includes any problems with your host family. Most of the problems experienced by students are due to miscommunication and culture shock so an independent mediator is often all that is required. If problems persist you will be able to contact WEP’s international partner organisation who will be available to help you solve the problem.
It may be possible to live with a family that you already know. However, the family will have to be screened and approved, prepared and supported by our partner organisation in the same manner as any other host family. School enrolment must also be available. Placement with relatives is generally not approved.
This is rarely a possibility. The most important aspect of your exchange is the match of student to family. Your flexibility is important in making your exchange a success.
Yes. However, you should check the age and language requirements to ensure you will qualify for your chosen country.
Click Here to enquire about hosting or call 1300 884 733 to request a free information pack, application form and profiles of prospective students.
All students are covered by the Australian Government’s mandatory health insurance – Overseas Student Health Cover – the equivalent of Medicare. Many students also have additional insurance. Host families are not expected to include exchange students on their own insurance policies.
Host families have an extensive, experienced support network to call upon should they experience routine or more serious problems during a student’s program.
Your main source of support will be a local WEP coordinator. The coordinator is also a volunteer and is expected to get to know both your family and the student in order to ensure a pleasant experience for both parties. Most of the problems experienced by students and host families are due to miscommunication and culture shock, so an independent mediator is often all that is required.
If an issue persists you will be able to contact us directly at our office. In the case of an emergency, both you and the student will be able to call our 24-hour emergency phone, the personal mobile of our CEO Carleen Wheeler.
Generally speaking, students arrive in late January and early July. If staying for a semester, students will leave in June or the end of November; if staying for a year, they will leave in November or the end of May/June.
The majority of students are from European countries, with some coming from North and South America as well as Japan. Host families are able to indicate their preference on the Host Family Contact Form and are encouraged to choose a student who they believe will best fit into their way of life.
Government regulations prevent the remuneration of host families, so families generously volunteer to host.
The student is responsible for any costs incurred through telephone usage, school uniforms, school materials, local transportation, personal items and any other general expenses that do not fall under the family’s usual outlay.
Students pay a program fee to the organisation in their home country, which finances their application, interview & acceptance process, screening of suitable host family, program materials, flights, health insurance, orientation programs and 24 hour support for both themselves and the host family.