© WEP 2019
I embarked on my exchange experience wide-eyed and bushy-tailed at age 15 in November 2015. I was to spend three glorious and mind-boggling months in the snowy magnificence of eastern Canada. I had never travelled on a plane before, never been away from my family and never pushed myself so far out of my comfort zone. If I could say something to my younger self, it’d be “wise choice kiddo,” it is one of the proudest decisions of my life. Now, at age 18 and a new University student, I can’t imagine the person I would have become instead. The nostalgic fondness I possess is thanks to the gifts my exchange program snuck me under the table; independence, persistence, spontaneity, vision. I learnt to discard my introverted tendencies which held me back and to say yes to more. Passport documents, visas, forms galore, bring it on, I’ve seen it all now. I felt snow for the first time, I found comfort and happiness in a new home, I found out what it’s like to miss someone, what French sounds like. If I didn’t appreciate these things back then, I sure do now. My day-to-day in Canada included attending school, which played a massive role in making new friends and discovering what it’s like living as a Canadian teen. I was picked up by one of those big yellow school buses and loved every second of it, I even made friends with the bus driver, Ricki, as I was first on the route. My subjects included advanced science (I was a total klutz and asked to be moved to gym class). Ohhh good old gym class...when it was below freezing outside we ran laps in the corridors until we were trained enough to run 5km on the track outside. To be fair I’m not the most physically privileged but my suffering was worth the bragging rights. I attended the school semi-formal and had a blast listening to country music and learning how to line dance, which I never quite got the hang of honestly. Country music is still not my preferred genre but that’s one of the things I learnt to appreciate about the culture I was immersed in. The food, oh my gosh the food! Beaver tails make me salivate just thinking about them, pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, maple syrup frozen on snow, poutine! The list goes on and on and I was in food heaven. I had the opportunity to go skiing for the first time ever and I may or may not have taken a black diamond course and caused excruciating internal bruising on my knee, leaving me on crutches. Another life lesson: to know your limits and to be responsible. I could go on and on about my experiences but I feel they’re of greater value to my nostalgia than to potential exchange students. Hence, I’m giving advice to those who are considering becoming future exchange students, and maybe in particular those wanting to travel to the Great White North!
- Have a strong mental mindset. Travelling across the world on your own personal journey is not for the faint of heart, ask me, the 15 year old who broke down and cried in the middle of Vancouver Airport because she couldn’t find her ticket. Even if you’re timid and unsure, always know that if you reach out, someone will help you.
- Communication is key and you’ll find this is true in many aspects of life, being able to talk openly and freely with someone is quite cathartic and will most likely leave you feeling better. If you’re feeling isolated and alone, you’re only perpetuating it by wallowing in your sorrows, wishing you were somewhere else. Your host family has opened their arms to accept you like one of their own, take advantage of their kindness and talk to them!
- Push yourself! I cannot begin to express how worse off you’d be if you were too shy to introduce yourself to new people! Students at your school may be unaware of how to approach you too, so be that icebreaker! Australians have a cool aura about them that foreigners like, there’s something about being Australian that makes people think we’re mega cool, so take advantage of that too!
- Have photos of your home and memories in Australia to show your fellow classmates and host family. There’s nothing more interesting than learning about the new exchange kid from exotic Australia. I was asked if Australia was all beach, if we had Xbox here, are kangaroos just roaming the streets, do we have cities? The people around me were super intrigued to hear about me and my home. Also, bring some Australian money just to show too!
- Bring small gifts for your host family. It shows good etiquette to give your host family Australian gifts upon arrival. I didn’t buy much or go too out of my way, just simple novelties like an Aussie rules footy, a eucalyptus candle, Vegemite and other small souvenirs.
Dreaming of living overseas? Us too!
Get your full WEP student exchange application to us by 31 May 2019 and score WEP's Early Bird Special saving you $500 and bringing your dream that little bit closer!
That's $500 you can hang onto for extra gelato!
Our Early Bird Special is open to students in years 9 to 12 in Queensland and students in years 9 to 11 in Victoria and New South Wales. The discount applies to semester and year programs departing between January and March 2020 to any of the following countries:
Simply submit your full application online before midnight on 31 Mar 2019. To get your application in on time, get started ASAP by clicking here.
Don't miss out!
*WEP's Early Bird Special is not available in conjunction with any other offer or scholarship.
Got questions about a WEP student exchange? With (almost) monthly online information sessions now available, we'll have them all answered and you on your way to the adventure of a lifetime!
WEP's new online info sessions are super easy to tune into, all you need to do is click here and register.
At each online information session you'll be able to send through your questions while we cover everything you and your parents need to know about a WEP student exchange, from choosing your destination to getting on the plane!
Click here to register and we'll see you online!
Apply for WEP’s Impact Scholarship and you could win a $2,000 discount on your semester or year student exchange departing between January and March 2020!
With two scholarships available, you’ve got double the chances of a win!
This scholarship is open to students currently in years 9-11 in QLD/VIC/NSW who meet WEP program eligibility requirements.
Eligible countries are: Argentina, Belgium, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, South Korea and the USA.
So, what do you need to do? To enter, create a three-minute video addressing the scholarship question:
Who do you think has made the greatest impact on the world in the last decade and why?
The Impact Scholarship deadline closes on May 17, 2019! For more information and to apply, click here.
Keen to discover the world this August? Most application deadlines have now closed but don't panic, we are still accepting applications for Estonia and Spain, two of our absolute favourite WEP destinations! But don't delay - get your application underway ASAP by clicking here! Don't miss out!
Ok, so you’re: Adventurous (we know because you’re reading about a WEP student exchange) Looking for the experience of a lifetime Ready to make 2019 a year to remember! So, what's next? Application deadlines for programs departing in August this year are closing VERY SOON, so start your application now by clicking here. August student exchange programs are fantastic because you get to participate in some wonderful included orientation programs! In Italy, there's a four-night orientation in gorgeous Rome, in France there's a three-night orientation in Paris (oui oui) and in the USA there's a three-night mini tour of #NYC (with a speedboat ride on the harbour, shopping on Fifth Avenue and so much more)! Don't miss out, start your application ASAP!
What are your goals for 2019? Add new stamps to your passport, new memories to your heart and new skills to your belt on a WEP student exchange program! WEP is now accepting applications for student exchange programs departing in August and November 2019. August is a super popular time to go on exchange because many WEP programs departing around this time include incredible orientation programs (NYC, Paris, Rome, Brussels + heaps more!). What grade are you in? An August semester exchange program is perfect for students going into year 9 or 10! Why? Because you’ll return in January in time to start the new school year! Let’s take the USA as an example of August program awesomeness: On an August program to the USA, you’ll:
- Participate in WEP’s famous New York City mini tour
- Experience the all-American holiday, Thanksgiving!
- Then Halloween
- Then Xmas (hopefully white!)
- Then NYE!
- Return with memories for life! Apply for a USA program by clicking here!
Would a November program suit me better?November programs are popular with students in year 11 because you'll be on exchange during the Australian summer holidays; departing in November/December and returning in January. The best bit? You'll get to spend the festive season overseas! Imagine sipping hot chocs in snowy Norway or celebrating Christmas with your new Italian family.
These awesome programs are so popular that sports do fill up quickly! Make sure you begin your application ASAP.
Considering becoming a host family in 2019? Great! Each February and July WEP welcomes students from all over the world to Australia. Welcoming a WEP student into your life is a hugely enriching experience and you'll find you've made a friend for life! Here are our top three reasons why you should host an exchange student:
- Travel from the comfort of your own home. Exchange students are eager to share their culture with you and learn all they can about Australia. Imagine trying Italian-made tiramisu or teaching your new family member how to do a Tim Tam slam!
- Create a life-long connection. You'll share memories and moments with your student and together you'll forge a connection that you'll never forget.
- You'll be our hero! You're doing an incredible thing by inviting someone into your heart and home. WEP exchange students and their host families form part of a large network, that through the sharing of experiences, languages and cultures creates a global community.
Save $500 on your WEP student exchange program with WEP's Early Bird Special! Apply now for your semester or year WEP student exchange program departing between July-September 2019 and you'll save $500 when you submit your full application by November 30 2018. Here’s the lowdown Who's eligible? Students currently in years 9-12 in QLD and 9-11 in VIC/NSW When's it for? Semester and year programs departing between July-September 2019 Which WEP countries are participating? Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Chile, China, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, Thailand or the USA. How can I apply? Submit your full application before 30 November 2018! You can start your application here. Got questions about our Early Bird Special? Submit an enquiry here. We can't wait to hear from you!
Everything here, in Norway, is great! I can't believe how fast this year is going and that I only have a month and a half left here. I had an amazing summer and did so many things, like a five day mountain hiking trip, a road trip around the south and west of Norway with my host family and I also visited an exchange friend in Germany for a week. In between all this I relaxed a lot! This year was the hottest summer Norway has had in years, so I did a lot of swimming in lakes and the fjord. I hung out with my friends and host family, played beach handball, explored a lot and also got to celebrate my first birthday in summer! Last weekend I met lots of new exchange students living around the Oslo area which was fun and I got to give them lots of advice. Recently I took part in a obstacle course race with my host sisters, which was challenging but so fun. This weekend I had a sleepover with five of my friends and had a great time. Now I've been back at school for four weeks and it's great to be back into the swing of things, even though I'm really busy with homework. It's so nice to be back at school and socialising everyday, I really love the Norwegian culture and the school system. Autumn is here and it's starting to get colder, but it's really nice and cosy to be inside with candles lit and watching movies with my host family. I absolutely love it here and feel so lucky to have this opportunity. This has been the best year of my life. Alyssa