1. How much does this program costs?
The High School Exchange Program in America is a very complex program. Our overseas partners will search for host school and host family for the applicant. Our company, the sending organization will provide the necessary paperwork, guidance and assistance throughout the whole school year, helping the student from the very beginning. Unfortunately it is not a scholarship program so the parents of the applicant must be able to pay the program fee, health and accident insurance fee (11 months insurance – MANDATORY), Visa and SEVIS fee (for more info on Sevis and why you have to pay that go to www.fmjfee.com), airplane ticket and pocket money. The exact amounts (depending on the program you choose) we discuss with the parents of the potential applicant on the phone, e-mail or personal meeting. We will send complete brochures containing amounts to the parents. So if you are interested, please ask the parents to contact us!
2. Are my studies recognized in my country?
In Romania, your high school year spent in the United States is recognized by the Ministry of Education through the ordinance issued in 1994. After the students returns home he/she MUST bring the transcript of records and diplomas received in the States. With the help of our company, the process of recognizing the year it is easy and it is included in our commission fee. In Hungary, the system is a bit different. The school principals have the authority to decide if they will accept the school year spent abroad or not. We encourage applicants from Hungary to check with their school principal prior applying for the program. In case of students from Hungary they have to solve the recognition process on their own!
3. Where will I stay during the program?
During the High School exchange program, you will stay with a host family! These families are carefully selected by the overseas sponsor organization. Not just any family can be a host family. These families must meet some strict requirements! You will be part of their family and their life for an entire school year, semester or for a few months and you will become friends for a lifetime!! They SHARE their heart and home and in exchange they want to learn about your culture. It is important to remember that host families don’t get paid for hosting an exchange student
4. Can I work during the exchange program?
Absolutely NOT! During the exchange program you are not allowed to be employed! However, small “favor” jobs are allowed: like walking the dog or babysitting for your family or maybe the neighbor. If you do it for your own host family we discourage you to accept money because they took you into their homes and you are part of their family. You will see that a lot of high school students work after school…but in your case, try to fill up your time with extracurricular activities after school (play sports, participate in band, in science clubs, etc.)
5. Can I stay in the U.S. after the program?
After you have completed the school year/semester, you are allowed to stay another 7-14 days in the States. This is the time when you say goodbye to your host family and friends and invite them to your country. After that you MUST return to your home country, because your Visa will expire and you will become an illegal immigrant! After returning home if your parents have the financial resources they can try to send you back in the states for another high school (must be a private school) year or university. When you return, you must bring you J1 form to our company, because this proves that you have returned.
6. Can I select the location where to go?
There is two possibilities of choosing a specific place. The first is called the direct placement. In this case the applicant must indicate a family in the United States as a host family. This family can be friends with the bio family but they cannot have the same native language as the applicant. If the indicated family will meet all the requirements set by the organization and a nearby school will accept exchange students, then you will be able to use this option, however in this case some extra fees may apply.
The second option is to participate in private school program. In this way you will be given a list of schools and you can decide which one is more suitable for You and for the budget of your parents.
7. What are the materials that I will study?
The American educational system is very different from the Easter European one. In the States high school students get to choose their subjects every year. So you will have the opportunity to choose your own subjects. Depending on the grade you are going to, you might have some mandatory subjects like English, Math or U.S. History, but the rest of the subjects you can choose.
8. Can I participate for only 1 semester?
YES you can! However we encourage applicants to apply for a full academic year because the costs of the program for a year or a semester are not that different. It is worth to apply for a full year because you will have twice of the fun, you will be able to experience more and learn the language on a more advanced level.
9. Can I come home during the program?
While you are enrolled in the exchange program, you can not travel back home (of course there are some exceptions: e.g. death of a family member). This program is all about learning a new culture and learning the English language and it can be done so by staying during the program’s time in the U.S.
10. What are the benefits of participating in this program?
You will speak English like an American / You will be a member of an American host family / You will make lifetime friendships / You will learn to appreciate other cultures / You can be a member of an American high school sports team / You will participate at events organized by ERDT / You will live like a typical American youngster / You will experience something that will change your life / You will see another world in another part of the world.
11. Can the organization send me home during the year?
YES! Our partner organization has the authority to send home the students in the following conditions (not limited to): if the student is caught smoking, drinking or taking drugs, if the student cannot keep up at least a C average in school, if student has inappropriate behavior, if student do not comply with the rules of the program or the host family or the school. All fees paid for the program are non-refundable! Being an exchange student is a privilege, and while you are there you are an ambassador and you represent your school, your community, your country and our company! It is a once in a lifetime opportunity!
12. Can relatives or friends from my home country visit me or can I visit them if they live in the States?
The rules and regulation of the program allow these visits only after the first 6 months. All visits must be preauthorized by the sponsor organization, the bio family and the host family!
13. What if I paid all the fees and I don't receive my Visa?
Fortunately, since the establishment of our company in 1994 we had only 3 students who got refused at the visa interview. However if it happens, all fees paid are subject to refund, except the commission for our company, the SEVIS fee and the Visa application fee.
14. Can anyone participate?
Participation conditions are mentioned for each program individually. You must meet all requirements in order to be able to participate the programs organized by us. For more information on the requirements, please check each of our programs and see in which one you fit in.