Student Exchange - Tell me more PDF Print E-mail

Where to go?

We offer the following destinations. Remember different countries have different application deadlines, requirements and program lengths so please check with us for more information. A long program varies from 6 - 10 months and a short program varies from 1 - 3 months.

1France - Long and short programs available

2Italy - Long and short programs available

3Portugal - Long and short programs available

4USA - Long program only

5Mexico - Long program only

6Canada (French or English Speaking) - Long program only

7New Zealand - Long program only

8China - Long program only

9 Scandinavia- Long and short programs available


Best time to go

15 - 18 years old is the ideal time to go on an exchange program.This is when you change from a child to an adult, when you long for independance but when you still need structure and support. At this age, you are able to take in a 2nd language and adapt to new surroundings fairly easily. More importantly, re-integration into your home and school life at the end of the program is easily done at this time of your life. Although it could be possible in grades 10-12, Grade 10 is a really good time to go abroad as an exchange student.

The Host Family

No host family is the same so it is impossible to explain what your host family might be like. Families are usually interested in young people and different cultures and that is why they wish to host. Some families may have teenagers or children at home, some may not.Hosting is open to all families who have the means to share their home and their everyday life with a young person. Host families are carefully selected and screened by an area representative in the host country. All families are required to have an interview in their home and to supply references to ensure that they are warm, enthusiastic and balanced. The family meets with the area representative to choose which student they would like to host. Families and students are strongly encouraged to make contact before the start of the program. Your host family will welcome you into their life. You will not be treated as a guest or a tourist, so you must get involved and help with the house chores as your host brothers and sisters do. Remember,your family is not expected to adapt to you, you will adapt to their way of life, respecting any differences so you will learn to observe, apprecaite and in a way to imitate.


Each school system is different and the objective is to reinforce your education by learning from a different system,never to contradict one type of learning. No matter which school you attend, you will find that it is through school life that you will integrate into your host country. This is your opportunty to blossom! Join clubs, societies, sports and any other groups that are available.


If you decide to choose a host country where you will be speaking a new language, this section is for you! As long as you prepare before your departure, the language barrier will soon be overcome! You are guaranteed to be exhausted for the first few weeks because your brain will be full of new information. It won't take long and you will master the new language. After a few months, you may even find yourself dreaming in your new language! However, please note that an insufficient knowledge of the basics could be a handicap. You are advised to take lessons from the time that you apply until your departure so that you have basic conversation skills.

During the course of the year there is regular communication between Calvin-Thomas, you and your parents.

This is a function of:

  • A network of area representatives abroad who are passionate about exchanges. They have often taken part in exchanges themselves. They can help, during your year, to create long lasting links with your host family. They are able to support and guide you if there are any problems. They know the country, the region and the family where you will be staying.
  • Calvin-Thomas's foreign partner. During the year, he or she will offer the possibility to participate in visits and get-togethers.
  • Area representative and Calvin-Thomas head office in South Africa.