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Introducing filmclip

Click here for the introducing filmmclip:






One of the most interesting aspects of internationalisation is to organise a real physical exchange with students abroad. Not only for them to do some sightseeing, but most importantly to experience a new way of life. Students will visit school, stay in hostfamilies, so they are really immersed in a new culture.

If you are interested, you can read in this module which steps you have to take to have a succesfull exchange.

First make sure that the school board, parents and the students support the idea. Form a workgroup of teachers who will carry out the project.  Insure that there is a clear and appropriate division of tasks within the workgroup. Once that is taken care of you can search for partner schools.


 2008, St. Canisius, Almelo, the Netherlands visits the Liceo Classico e Linguistico Statale Aristofane in Rome, Italy 




Finding a partner school

There are different ways to find a partner school:

  • through your own network

Or in Europe:

  • through European platform
  • through e-twinning


If you have found a partner school you will first have to put down some common goals and expectations of the exchange. This can be done by email/ videoconferencing. For example, if the goal of the trip is to improve the english language of the participants, then the hosts should provide as many opportunities as possible for the exchange students to practice speaking english.

Secondly, it is very important to meet your future partners during a preparatory visit. Not only to make sure that the project is supported but also to make solid and clear arrangements. During this visit you will see the school, meet the hostfamilies, make common goals about the exchange or project, the number of students, etc. This visit will help you to ease your concerns and make you feel more comfortable sending your students over. But also will make the hostfamilies familiar with you.  


Select participating students

  • When you have found a school and if necessary applied for financial aid (see module on Funding and finances), you can start selecting your pupils. It is important to look at the age and grade level of the students.  Students should be approximately the same age at both locations. 
  • There are different ways to involve students. You can participate with one class or select students individually based on interest. 
  • You can invite pupils for an information meeting by means of a poster, letter, mail, bulletin board, or by visiting different classes.
  • There must be information about what pupils can expect: finances, dates, provisional program, insurance, how pupils can apply, etcetera. (So make a proper presentation.) 
  •  After the information meeting students can apply for the exchange within a certain timelimit, if necessary by writing a letter of motivation.
  • Once the students are selected, you can let them fill in a personal passport where they have to write down their address, hobbies, etc. This is not only useful information for yourself, but also for linking students with host families.  Both schools should fill in these personal passports.



  • Most of the prepatory work happens when planning and arranging the activites for the visiting students.  
  • In most cases the program will be taken care of by the host school. Consultation with the visiting school is important when arranging activities to ensure common goals.  The program depends on the arrangements and aims that have been made together.
  • Make sure that you make good arrangements with your colleagues on who organises what and who is responsible for certain parts of the exchange.
  • When the program is ready you can make a program booklet. This booklet is meant as an information booklet for the participants as well as the people who stay at home. Information in the booklet  must include name/ address/ phone number of participating teachers and pupils, information on host family/ guesthouse.  Usually there is additional information on school insurance, luggage and expenses, country and city, survey of dayreports, diary, useful words/phrases, etcetera.



It is very important to arrange some preliminary information meetings with your students to make clear arrangements about the rules, the program and what students can expect from the program. But also what will be expected from them. 

  • Organisation: set date, place, mak a diary
  • Content: timelimit, program, trip, rules, (room arrangements), webbased report, cultural differences, etc.


It is also important to organise an information meeting for the parents. Parents will then know exactly what their son/daughter is going to do and they will have the opportunity to ask questions.

  • Organisation: date, place, rules, cost (Prepare a proper presentation and some hand outs.)


Trip and Organisation

  • transportation (travel agency): order your (plane) tickets on time/ travel by bus
  • check passports and let students make a copy of their passport
  • medical information
  • travel insurance 
  • stay at host family/ guesthouse
  • excursions
  • spending money abroad (how much money students need) 




Exchange 2006, St. Canisius, Almelo, The Netherlands and Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch, South-Africa 


PR and communication 

PR and communication is of great importance when you want to make sure that there is sufficient support within the school. More can be read about this in de module PR and communication. 


Before the exchange:

  • posters in staff room and school building
  • school newspaper
  • publicity in the press e.g. regional newspaper
  • weekly bulletin for teachers


During the exchange:

  • web based report/ website/blog 


After the exchange:

  • posters
  • school newspaper
  • publicity in the press e.g. regional newspaper
  • weekly bulletin teachers 


Evaluation trip

Of course the exchange has to be evaluated by pupils, partners, and the workgroup. This way you can make sure that the next exchange and especially the organisation will be easier. For more information you can go to the module Project done … what’s next? 



www.Etwinning.net (Partners)

www.europeesplatform.nl  (BIOS for European Funding)

www.canisius.nl (St. Canisius High School website for examples of exchanges and web based reports)


Do's and Don'ts


  • Apply for the Financial aid for the exchange a year in advance

  • It is highly recommended to visit the partner school before hand to make good judgements about your partner school.

  •  It is best to make a memorandum of understanding between your school and the partner school. In that case, both school have an obligation to fulfill the common goals.

  • Don’t forget to notify the administration and the teachers that you and your pupils will be absent.

  • When organizing the programme, take into account that the guests also want some spare time.

  • Put a programme booklet in the staffroom / advertise on the school website

  • Students can be provided with a certificate of participation in the exchange that they can keep in their portfolios.

  • Be prepared for the possibility of an exchange student/hostfamily situation not working out. In that case, you can easily solve this problem without hurting the feelings of the hostfamily, by telling them, the student is homesick. Normally the student can easily be placed together with one of his/her friends.



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