Marianne at 2016 conference in Venice and Stresa, Italy with Nicky and Sissel and Valeria (Mondo Insieme Italy)
Why do you think your students choose the UK for exchange?
Students who want to go to the UK have for one decided to be fluent in British English. They call it “the real English”. They also have a feeling the UK is a very nice country with a beautiful countryside and kind people who maybe act and think not so different from Danish people. And finally many students have been to London and think it is a great city with a special atmosphere. Many Danish families take a short stay in London over a weekend to shop and watch a musical. So they feel they know already something about the country.
Why is high school exchange such a normal part of life for Danish students and how does the school system enable them to participate?
Students know they have to be skilled in foreign languages to have success. No matter what they want to do in their future life, the English language is inevitable. So with support from schools, counsellors and parents they take a year in another country. Also Danish High Schools are happy to welcome a student who has been on exchange as they have gained other competences than students who stayed in Denmark. Danish students can go on exchange after 9th, 10th or 11th grade as long as they live up to the host country's age requirement. It is no problem for a Danish student to step out of the Danish school system for a year. They just go back and continue where they left.
What kind of relationship do you have with the MyEducation UK office?
We are working very closely from when we get an applicant until the students return home. I cherish the cooperation. From my part I make sure to give the necessary information about our students and make also sure their applications packages are as requested. If there any challenges, we communicate. Finally, we receive reports about our students so we know how they are doing.
From your experience, what do students gain from completing an exchange?
They become fluent in the host country’s language. They grow as a person. They become more independent and more mature. We send a girl or a boy and the parents get a young woman or man back. It is a life changing experience.