High School FAQs

High School Exchange FAQs

We hope you will find the answers to the questions that we are most often asked, but if not, please contact the office.

Application and eligibility

There are a few steps you need to take to be accepted on the program:

  1. Complete our online pre-application form so we can assess your eligibility.
  2. Join one of our online and free information sessions to learn more about an exchange.
  3. Tell our office that you would like to complete a full application form.
  4. Complete an online or at home interview with one of our staff.
  5. Complete the full application for your destination country.
  6. If you meet all of the eligibility criteria then we hopefully can accept you on the program and your application will be sent to our partner organisation for processing and final acceptance.

To learn more about the eligibility criteria for the exchange program please consult our application requirements page.

For any applicant with a medical condition that may preclude them from applying, we ask that you contact our office before completing a pre-application form. For some conditions we may need to receive further medical information from your GP or specialist. Some conditions may prevent you from applying. Some destinations are more amenable than others to considering applicants with health concerns.

 

For students with a psychological issue it is very difficult / impossible to find host families who are willing to host. There is a risk that you may relapse during your stay. Exchange is a huge mental strain and can be very challenging so the risk of relapse is high. We cannot ask host families to take on a student that might need significant medical assistance/emotional support while on exchange.

Depending on what you are allergic to, allergies can be a problem.

 

We cannot accommodate you if you have a severe/life-threatening food allergy. It will be very difficult to find a host family that will take on the extra responsibility and expense involved in having to take your dietary requirements into consideration. We cannot expect the host family to change their diet for the particular needs of a student. It is also for the sake of your health and safety.

 

Some destinations, including the USA, are unable to accept students who are allergic to domestic pets. If you have a pet allergy, please contact us before completing an application.

 

Some of our partners will accept you ‘conditionally’ onto the program and would only fully accept you as a participant once they have found you a host family. If they are unable to find you a host family by the placement deadline then you would not be able to travel and you would be fully refunded.

Generally, yes. Our partners are very able to work with applicants who are vegetarian or pescetarian. If you are vegan or gluten-free then they would only accept you conditionally onto the program. This means that they would work to place you with a host family, but would only accept you fully if they were able to find a family. If they cannot find you a family before the placement deadline then you would not be able to travel. If you have a strict diet then we recommend you apply early.

 

Please note that Japan will not accept any student who follows a special diet. Applicants will have to consider if they are willing to adjust their diet in order to participate on the program.

The program fee is paid in 4 instalments by bank transfer. All fees must be paid before departure:

  1. 10% of fee due after successful interview with staff member.
  2. 10% of fee due once application is complete and before your application is sent to the partner.
  3. 40% of fee due April 1st (programs departing in August/September) or October 1st (programs departing January-March.)
  4. 40% of fee + insurance fee + any additional fees due 1st July or December 15th.

We will happily discuss a payment plan that suits you if you need assistance.

We do not publish our prices for the year until July/August of the year before as this is when our partners release their fees. If you want to apply early you might be eligible for our Early Bird Discount.

We offer an Early Bird Discount for applicants. If you apply and are accepted after interview before August 15th or March 15th then you will only pay the program fee for the previous year. Read more here.

Some of our destinations will accept students who will be 18 on departure and possibly turn 19 while on exchange. However, many will not. You will need to contact the office to discuss your eligibility as your date of birth may also affect your eligibility for some destinations.

As an older applicant you need to consider the following:

  • You will have to attend school as a full time student and will be expected to work hard. You may not want to do this after finishing school in the UK.
  • You will not be treated like a typical 18 year old while on the program. You will have to follow the rules, which include no alcohol or driving or independent travel. You will be treated more like a 16 year old, which might not be appealing.

As an alternative to our High School Exchange, you should consider available destinations for our GAP year options. If you want to travel as an adult, you should consider our Language Travel programs.

Preparing for departure

Our host families are located across the whole of the country. You cannot choose where exactly your host family is situated. You must have a completely open mind about where you spend your exchange. Most of our families are based in suburban or rural areas. It is very rare that a family is based in a large city.

In the USA, you can pay an additional fee to request a region or state of your choice. Placement in these areas is not guaranteed but you can state a preference. You only pay the fee if you are placed in the area you have requested.

Alternatively, on our Preferred programs in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, you can choose where exactly you will live as you can choose your school or school district.

Host families come in all shapes and sizes. There is no set idea of what a family will look like. You must have an open mind. Some families have children of your age or younger. Some have children who have grown up and moved away. Others have not had children. Some are single parent or single person families. Some families have same-sex parents.

We ask that a host family provides a safe and caring environment for a young person to live in. Whatever your family looks like, they will welcome you as part of their family.

Families in every destination are selected by a similar process:

  • Home interview -a staff member/representative of our partner organisation visits the family at home. They discuss what is involved in hosting and ensure they have the right motivation for hosting. They also assess the home for suitability and comfort.
  • References – friends/colleagues of family members are contacted and asked about the family’s ability to host and care for a young person.
  • Police check – all adult members of the home must complete a criminal background check.
    • NB: in Japan it is not possible for a criminal check to be secured due to the stringent bureaucracy preventing adults from getting a check of this nature. Most families are known by the school and the school plays a role in recruiting families.

Our partner organisations aim to notify your placement to you at least one month before departure. We hope that it will be no later than this, but, on occasion, the information does arrive later. Placement details could arrive a few days after you lodge your application or several months later. Whatever the situation, you have to be patient and be ready to contact your host family as soon as you receive the placement information sheet.

Some families choose to host more than one student. If you are placed with another exchange student you might share a room. The other student will not be from the UK and will not be a native English speaker.

Most students really value being placed with another student as you have a companion through the experience. You don’t have to be best friends and you can find your own path through the exchange experience, but the company is always beneficial.

No. An exchange is an individual experience and you cannot request to be placed near your friend or in the same home.

Packing for a year is not easy, but we recommend that you take only one suitcase with you. You can buy toiletries and bulky items after arrival in your host country, so just pack the vital items that you need.

 

For destinations where you need proper protective winter clothing, it is likely to be cheaper and easier to do your shopping when you are overseas as the shops are likely to be much better stocked with winter items. Your host family may also have clothes/wellies that you can  borrow. Talk to your host family about what you need to bring and what you don’t need to bring.

As you prepare for departure MyEducation will provide you with the following support:

  • Information sheets: At intervals you will receive information about your destination and hints and tips to prepare you for departure.
  • Handbook: You and your parents will receive a handbook of information.
  • Returned Student Advisor: We will put you in touch with a student who has returned from an exchange with MyEducation. They will be able to give you advice and support.
  • Pre-departure orientation: We will schedule an orientation with you and other departing students to discuss the exchange and what to expect.
  • Visa assistance: we will guide you through the visa application process and provide you with the necessary forms and documents to apply for your visa. You will have to attend the interview, where needed, and complete the documents.
  • Flight and insurance: we will book your flight with our travel agent and provide you with the insurance ID cards and other documents.
During the exchange

On arrival at your final airport you will be met by your host family or your Area Representative, or a representative from the host organisation. Some destinations have a group arrival orientation so you may first spend a few days with the other arriving students learning about the program and exploring an area of your new country. From there you will travel to your host family home.

 

If you do not have a group arrival orientation you will travel straight to your host family home and you will attend a local orientation with your Area Representative within two weeks of arrival.

While on exchange you are expected to complete all of the work that is assigned to you, to participate in class and to be a good role model for the exchange program.

  • English speaking country: you are expected to achieve at least a C grade average and to participate fully in school.
  • Non-English speaking country: it is not realistic to ask you to achieve a certain grade at school. However, you will be expected to try your best and to show improvement and effort in your language learning. You should participate in class and attempt all homework and over time you will see a definite improvement in your skill and ability with the language.

All students are accepted for free into their host school, so you must work hard and show appreciation for the placement that they have offered you.

We strongly encourage all participants to join as many clubs and extra-curricular activities as possible, because this is how you keep busy and also meet new people. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to follow a specific hobby while on exchange. You need to be open-minded and be ready to  try new things.

When you travel on exchange you leave your natural support network at home and you have to look to a new support network which has been put in place for you by MyEducation and the host organisation. Using your local network allows us to respond to issues more quickly and give appropriate and effective advice for where you are. As a student, you must trust the network in place around you and tell us when there is a problem.

  • Area Representative: This is a local person who volunteers with the host organisation and is there to support you and the host family through the experience. They report back to the host organisation and will contact you at intervals to check on your progress, but you can contact them as often as you need to. Please note that your Area Representative may not speak English, so you will be expected to communicate as best you can in the local language.
  • Host Family: Hopefully, most issues and concerns can be discussed with your host family and they will be able to give care, support and effective advice.
  • Host organisation: If you do not feel able to talk with your Area Representative or host family you can contact staff at the main office and speak with them directly. All staff at the office will speak English.
  • School: Many schools have a support staff member who can address issues arising with your subjects/timetable/fellow pupils. You should speak with them for help with school issues.
  • MyEducation: You can also reach out to us in the UK, but this should be a last resort.
  • Parents: You should not rely on your home support network for advice. Your parents will not know the local area and how things work in your host community. Time differences and emotions can also lead to misunderstandings and parental worry. Parents should always encourage students to speak with their local network, but are welcome to communicate concerns to the MyEducation office.
  • Emergency number: Both MyEducation and the host organisation have a 24 hour emergency number for issues of safety and well being. This should not be used as a general out-of-hours number. Parents should contact the UK number in an emergency and students should contact the host organisation.

No. If you join an exchange then you should expect to be away for the duration of the program. On occasion, host organisations have allowed a student to return home and then return to the program, but this is very rare and only for a very significant reason. If you choose to return home then you may not be able to come back onto the program. There is no refund for students who depart the program early.

NoVisits from family and friends are definitely not allowed during the exchange program. Your parents can plan to collect you at the end of the program from your host family home, but otherwise they cannot visit. If they do wish to collect you, they must notify MyEducation so that we can arrange your flight home for the correct date and arrange an extension of your insurance policy where needed. Please note that any additional fees for these changes are not included in the program fee.

No. In most destinations your visa will not allow you to work while on the program. We also discourage students from working as it can prevent you from participating fully in other activities while on exchange. Students can volunteer if they wish.

Yes. Most of our partner organisations offer additional trips or tours that students can join to see more of their host country. The relevant information will be shared with your prior to departure or just after arrival. The cost of the trips or tours is not included in your program fee so if you wish to join them you should budget for the extra expenses.

After the exchange

Some destinations have set arrival and departure dates in place that can be confirmed before you apply. Other destinations determine your program dates by the placement area that you go to and the school term dates. Most students will return in June from a year program departing in August.

No. Even if you go on exchange to an English speaking destination, you will not be able to transfer work across to the UK school system. Students should expect to return home to the UK and start a new year of school having taken a gap year. Most applicants participate in a year program with MyEducation and return to school with the year below on their return. If you participate in a shorter program, your school might be willing to allow you to catch up with missed work so that you can continue in your same school year. All these decisions are made by your school so it is important that you talk with them before applying for the program.

If you join the classic exchange program then it is not possible to graduate from school overseas. If you join the Preferred program then it might be possible to graduate from school overseas, but you would need to discuss this possibility at the time of application.

Fees and insurance

Included in the fee:

  • ​Flight from/to London, Manchester, Glasgow or Edinburgh
  • Domestic travel (flight, bus or train) from arrival point and return
  • All flight taxes and fuel surcharges
  • Staff on departure for groups of minimum of 3 students
  • One checked bag will be booked for you. If you need additional luggage, you will be responsible for the extra fee. NB: on some domestic routes it is not possible to pre-book luggage so students may have to pay this fee at the airport. This will be made clear to you at the time of booking.
  • Airport meeting on arrival by your host family or the host organisation
  • Transport to and from your host family home
  • Host family vetting process, which includes criminal record checks and an at home interview. NB: in Japan a criminal record check cannot be secured, please speak with the office to learn more.
  • Accommodation in a host family home
  • Enrolment in a local school
  • Most school books and teaching materials
  • Information on how to apply for your visa (if required)
  • Arrival orientation in your host country
  • Assistance from staff in your host country and from MyEducation
  • 24 hour emergency phone in the host country and in the UK
  • Information session for students and parents, and interview with student to assess eligibility
  • Pre-Departure orientation meeting for students and parents hosted by MyEducation
  • Preparation material
  • Diploma after completion of exchange
  • MyEducation bag

Not included in the fee:

  • Insurance is compulsory and must be purchased through MyEducation. The price of insurance varies depending on length of program and destination.
  • One checked bag will be booked for you. If you need additional luggage, you will be responsible for the extra fee. NB: on some domestic routes it is not possible to pre-book luggage so students may have to pay this fee at the airport. This will be made clear to you at the time of booking.
  • Lunch at school (if you choose not to bring a packed lunch). NB: in France students must have a lunch at school and an additional fee per day is paid to the school, usually between €3 and €8 per day.
  • Fees for extra-curricular activities and trips
  • Possibly fees for school books and materials. On Preferred programs students should budget for these costs.
  • School uniform where required
  • Transport to and from school. Most students travel by public transport and are rarely driven to and from school. Amounts vary.
  • Visa application fee and any required trip to a Consulate
  • Medical expenses and any required vaccinations
  • Possible overweight baggage fees and any fees for a missed flight
  • Field trips. These are additional trips offered by the host organisation and are completely optional.
  • Regional or State requests for USA. We recommend applying early if you wish to be placed in a certain area.

All students are required to purchase insurance through MyEducation. Applicants to the USA must have the insurance, which includes excellent medical cover, approved by our US partner. Prices for insurance depend on where in the world you are travelling to.