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What type of support should students expect during group exchange programs?

Group exchange programs are life-changing experiences where students embark on transformative journeys, broadening their horizons and fostering cross-cultural understanding. But, when you are planning and organizing your program you may wonder, what kind of support should I anticipate along the way? In this article we delve into the essential types of assistance students should expect, to ensure a fulfilling and enriching experience throughout their group exchange adventure.

Pre-departure meetings

Pre-departure meeting or as we like to call them at Alandis Travel, Pre-departure info session, is a meeting with both parents and students, where we go through the itinerary and answer any questions or concerns they may have regarding the trip. Most providers would support you through these meetings since they have more knowledge, experience, and a deeper understanding of the country you are visiting.

Arrival meetings

These are meetings that take place in the destination country as soon as they arrive and are usually led by the provider. In our case, we walk the students through their itinerary, give them tips on how to adjust better to the culture, and let them know of any cultural shocks they may experience, in addition to answering all their questions. We also give them an orientation walk around the area so they feel more comfortable and safer.

24/7 support from staff

Being in a foreign country, situations may have to be managed in a different way than at home, that’s why having support from your provider is key. It offers students a safety net, ensuring immediate assistance in times of need, be it medical emergencies, travel disruptions, or emotional support. This continuous support makes them feel supported, enabling students to fully immerse themselves in their exchange experience with peace of mind.

Alandis students in Plaza de España, Seville
Alandis students in Plaza de España, Seville

Opportunities to contact home

Ensuring students can stay connected with their loved ones is principal during their time abroad. At Alandis Travel, we prioritize this need by equipping students with comprehensive information on obtaining a new SIM card, where to purchase one, and details about available Wi-Fi options. We also provide guidance on popular communication apps used in the countries they visit, facilitating seamless communication throughout their program.

Students may have the opportunity to exchange phone numbers and create a chat group with other students 

An often-overlooked aspect of student support is building early relationships between students. Creating opportunities for students to meet and connect with others who are navigating similar complex emotional, cultural, and educational challenges can significantly contribute to their overall well-being. By sharing their experiences, students can provide each other with valuable support, offering insights into the various obstacles they encounter in their daily lives and sharing strategies they have employed to overcome them. In addition, interactions with other exchange student groups serve as a bridge connecting students to their home cultures.

Host families are chosen very carefully to provide supportive families to international students far from home.

The selection process for host families is meticulous, aiming to match international students with supportive households when they are far from home. At Alandis Travel, we know every family, and with the help of the accommodation form that we send to the students, we can match them based on compatibility and the student’s needs. 

Host families can help students feel less homesick by spending time with them and participating in local customs and attractions 

Living with a host family students are in an environment where they are supported and they are provided with guidance and assistance whenever needed. Spending time with the family makes students feel like they belong and that they are integrated into the culture, ultimately this alleviates homesickness and enriches the student’s exchange experience. In addition, building close relationships with the members of the host family can lead to great insight into the country and potential life-long friendships.

Students may report any incident or concern to the program staff 

In any exchange program, students have the means to report incidents or concerns to program staff. We always have an open channel of communication and we encourage them to seek assistance whether it’s regarding safety, well-being, or any other issue. Our staff is dedicated to addressing and resolving concerns, ensuring a supportive and secure environment for all students.

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