Two girls laughing on exchange

Student exchange program – How it works

Learn for life!

Embarking on a student exchange program will assist you in your education and life in so many amazing ways. Imagine living overseas for 6 weeks, 2/2.5 months, 3 months, an Academic Semester… even an Academic Year.

There is so much to see, experience and learn. Instead of just being a visitor or a tourist, you will become a local and immersed in the culture. You will learn the language and gain invaluable international experience. You learn about yourself and become a more knowledgeable and understanding global citizen with connections around the world.

Student exchange is many things: fun, rewarding, educational and challenging. Exchange isn’t a year in your life, but a new life in a year. Future employers regard high exchange school students highly, as they have undertaken new challenges and willing to step outside their comfort zone.

Student exchange programs promote tolerance, maturity and independence. Exchange challenge you to look at life and people with an international perspective, something that is beneficial in our world today.

Do you want to live and study abroad on a high school exchange? Exciting – but now what? How do you choose the best program? What type of visa will you need? How do you get from home to host country?

We have put together step-by-step information to guide you from dream to destination, from planning to settling in your new home and school. It is your once-in-a-lifetime journey, but you will not be alone. Our high school exchange experts are here to guide you through every step of the process and answer all your questions.

Step 1: Planning and dreaming

  • Am I eligible?
  • Choosing your destination and program
  • Join an Information Session Webinar

Step 2: Apply Online 

  • Complete your country-specific application
  • Interview with our staff

Step 3: Preparation

  • The placement process
  • Visa application
  • Mandatory: Your pre-departure orientation

Step 4: Your Program

  • Let the exchange begin
  • Soft Landing Camp / Arrival Orientation (if offered in your host country/program)
  • Support throughout your exchange year
  • Become a student reporter

Step 5: After your exchange program 

  • Become an ambassador

Step 1: Planning

Who can go on a high school exchange?

You need to meet a few other requirements to go on a Southern Cross Cultural Exchange program. All our students must:

  • Be between 14–17 years of age*
  • Still be enrolled in high school at the time of application, studying full time
  • An Australian or New Zealand resident
  • Australia: Maintain the equivalent or better than a C grade average for the last two years
  • New Zealand: achieving a National Certificate of Educational Achievement at the appropriate level, or produce a statement from your school about anticipated levels of achievement when the certificate is awarded
  • Be in good physical & mental health
  • Fully vaccinated for COVID19
  • Be mature, flexible, and motivated – important qualities that will set you up for a successful exchange program!

Have questions about the eligibility criteria for a Southern Cross Cultural Exchange program? Contact us today. Our high school exchange experts are here to help.

*The age limit varies from country to country and program to program. For more information, please review the Quick Facts section at the bottom of each destination page.

Enquire now

Choosing your destination and program

Experience life as a high school student in the USA, ski after school in Canada or develop language skills whilst France. Target a school that offers subjects that will help you prepare for university, or where you can play a favourite sport. Whatever your personal and academic dreams, we will match you with the high school exchange that is right for you.

We offer a wide range of destinations and programs to match different goals, needs and budgets. Read more about the countries where we offer exchange programs and the options available.

Enquire now

Apply online

Ready to take the next step? We can’t wait to learn about your personal and academic goals, and what you are hoping to achieve on your high school exchange.

Enquire now

Who can go on a high school exchange?

You need to meet a few other requirements to go on a Southern Cross Cultural Exchange program. All our students must:

  • Be between 14–17 years of age*
  • Still be enrolled in high school at the time of application, studying full time
  • An Australian or New Zealand resident
  • Australia: Maintain the equivalent or better than a C grade average for the last two years
  • New Zealand: achieving a National Certificate of Educational Achievement at the appropriate level, or produce a statement from your school about anticipated levels of achievement when the certificate is awarded
  • Be in good physical & mental health
  • Fully vaccinated for COVID19
  • Be mature, flexible, and motivated – important qualities that will set you up for a successful exchange program!

Have questions about the eligibility criteria for a Southern Cross Cultural Exchange program? Contact us today. Our high school exchange experts are here to help.

*The age limit varies from country to country and program to program. For more information, please review the Quick Facts section at the bottom of each destination page.

Enquire now
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Choosing your destination and program

Experience life as a high school student in the USA, ski after school in Canada or develop language skills whilst France. Target a school that offers subjects that will help you prepare for university, or where you can play a favourite sport. Whatever your personal and academic dreams, we will match you with the high school exchange that is right for you.

We offer a wide range of destinations and programs to match different goals, needs and budgets. Read more about the countries where we offer exchange programs and the options available.

Enquire now
banner-img

Apply online

Ready to take the next step? We can’t wait to learn about your personal and academic goals, and what you are hoping to achieve on your high school exchange.

Enquire now
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Step 2: Interview

Book your no-obligation interview

You and your parents must have a hundred questions – probably more – about what it’s like to be a high school exchange student, who we are and how our programs work, where you’ll live and how much your exchange will cost. We have questions for you too, like what do you hope to achieve from an exchange, and what are your personal and academic preferences?

Once you have seen one of our Information Session Webinars online, please book your interview with one of our high school exchange experts. It’s free and there’s no obligation. We ask that you set aside an hour and bring your latest grade report. This interview is important because it will give you and your parents the information you need to advance to the next step while allowing us to determine if you’re ready for an exchange program ahead. Ready to proceed? Please click Apply Now to book your interview!

Join our webinar

Save Your Spot

After the interview, we will decide if you’re a good candidate for a high school exchange based on your grades and our assessment of your attitude and readiness for an exchange abroad. We’ll let you know by email once we’ve accepted you to our program. This email will also outline our program rules, terms and conditions, which you’ll need to accept to secure your spot.*

Congratulations! You’re going on a high school exchange

Once you’ve secured your spot, we’ll assign you a contact person from Southern Cross Cultural Exchange who will guide and support you and your parents throughout the entire application process and for the duration of your exchange year. Your contact person will always be there for you – you can count on that.

*Should you choose to not accept our program rules, terms and conditions, your spot will be given to someone else.

Enquire now

Book your no-obligation interview

You and your parents must have a hundred questions – probably more – about what it’s like to be a high school exchange student, who we are and how our programs work, where you’ll live and how much your exchange will cost. We have questions for you too, like what do you hope to achieve from an exchange, and what are your personal and academic preferences?

Once you have seen one of our Information Session Webinars online, please book your interview with one of our high school exchange experts. It’s free and there’s no obligation. We ask that you set aside an hour and bring your latest grade report. This interview is important because it will give you and your parents the information you need to advance to the next step while allowing us to determine if you’re ready for an exchange program ahead. Ready to proceed? Please click Apply Now to book your interview!

Join our webinar
banner-img

Save Your Spot

After the interview, we will decide if you’re a good candidate for a high school exchange based on your grades and our assessment of your attitude and readiness for an exchange abroad. We’ll let you know by email once we’ve accepted you to our program. This email will also outline our program rules, terms and conditions, which you’ll need to accept to secure your spot.*

Congratulations! You’re going on a high school exchange

Once you’ve secured your spot, we’ll assign you a contact person from Southern Cross Cultural Exchange who will guide and support you and your parents throughout the entire application process and for the duration of your exchange year. Your contact person will always be there for you – you can count on that.

*Should you choose to not accept our program rules, terms and conditions, your spot will be given to someone else.

Enquire now
banner-img

Step 3: Preparation

Complete your program application

Your program application is an important document that will be sent to our organisation and staff in the host country that will soon become your new home. In this application, you get to talk about yourself, your interests, and what you look forward to as an exchange student in your selected country.

Take the time to complete this application thoroughly and honestly. If you are going on a Classic exchange, your application will help our host families decide whether you are a good match for their home. If you are applying to a Select program, this document will be used to evaluate your academic background.

You will receive instructions on how to complete and submit your program application. Remember that your Program Manager will also guide and answer your questions.

Enquire now

The placement process

Your placement process will depend on the program you have enrolled in.

  • Classic: With the Classic program, once your application has been reviewed and approved by our staff in your host country, the search for your future host family begins. You will be placed in a school close to where your host family lives.
  • Select: If you are going on the Select program, your application will first be sent to your chosen school for review and approval. We will let you know as soon as you are accepted and will start looking right away for a caring host family near your school of choice. Your Program Manager will call as soon as we have found the right host family for you.
About our host families

Visa application

Some students will require a visa for their exchange programs. These vary from country to country, the program duration, and which country passport you are travelling on.

Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, we will help you with your visa documents to prepare your application.

Enquire now

Can’t miss: Your Pre Departure Orientation

Preparation is key to a successful high school exchange. To make sure you are well-prepared for your once-in-a-lifetime experience, we will arrange a mandatory Departure Orientation meeting online prior to your departure.

In the Departure Orientation session, you will learn what it’s like to live with a host family and go to high school in another country. You will receive advice on how to navigate cultural differences as well as best practices for using social media while you are away. You will meet our staff and students who have recently participated on a Southern Cross Cultural Exchange program.

The Departure Orientation is a mandatory information session that you and at least one legal guardian must attend. This important session will walk you through program rules and provide further guidance on living with a host family and adapting to a new school. It will prepare you for situations many high school exchange students experience, such as homesickness and cultural adjustment.

Watch your emails for information about the time, date, location, and registration for your Departure Orientation.

Enquire now

Complete your program application

Your program application is an important document that will be sent to our organisation and staff in the host country that will soon become your new home. In this application, you get to talk about yourself, your interests, and what you look forward to as an exchange student in your selected country.

Take the time to complete this application thoroughly and honestly. If you are going on a Classic exchange, your application will help our host families decide whether you are a good match for their home. If you are applying to a Select program, this document will be used to evaluate your academic background.

You will receive instructions on how to complete and submit your program application. Remember that your Program Manager will also guide and answer your questions.

Enquire now
banner-img

The placement process

Your placement process will depend on the program you have enrolled in.

  • Classic: With the Classic program, once your application has been reviewed and approved by our staff in your host country, the search for your future host family begins. You will be placed in a school close to where your host family lives.
  • Select: If you are going on the Select program, your application will first be sent to your chosen school for review and approval. We will let you know as soon as you are accepted and will start looking right away for a caring host family near your school of choice. Your Program Manager will call as soon as we have found the right host family for you.
About our host families
banner-img

Visa application

Some students will require a visa for their exchange programs. These vary from country to country, the program duration, and which country passport you are travelling on.

Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, we will help you with your visa documents to prepare your application.

Enquire now
banner-img

Can’t miss: Your Pre Departure Orientation

Preparation is key to a successful high school exchange. To make sure you are well-prepared for your once-in-a-lifetime experience, we will arrange a mandatory Departure Orientation meeting online prior to your departure.

In the Departure Orientation session, you will learn what it’s like to live with a host family and go to high school in another country. You will receive advice on how to navigate cultural differences as well as best practices for using social media while you are away. You will meet our staff and students who have recently participated on a Southern Cross Cultural Exchange program.

The Departure Orientation is a mandatory information session that you and at least one legal guardian must attend. This important session will walk you through program rules and provide further guidance on living with a host family and adapting to a new school. It will prepare you for situations many high school exchange students experience, such as homesickness and cultural adjustment.

Watch your emails for information about the time, date, location, and registration for your Departure Orientation.

Enquire now
banner-img

Step 4: Your Exchange Program

Let your exchange program begin!

This is it. You are all set to go on a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will set you up for success. Time to pack your bags!

Enquire now

Soft Landing Camp

Your high school exchange will be off to a great start in our Soft Landing Camp, which may be included in your program price or available as an option for an added fee for some Academic Semester & Year programs.

This popular camp will introduce you to your host country and to other newly arrived exchange students from different parts of the world. You will learn more about the local culture as well as the situations you are likely to encounter as a new exchange student. You will go sightseeing with our staff – all members of our One Team Across the Globe. By the end of the Soft Landing Camp, you will be ready to meet your host family and your soon-to-be new friends in school.

Camps in New York, Paris, London, and more

Which Soft Landing Camp will you attend? Read more about the different camps at each destination. These apply to long programs only – Semester & Academic Year programs on some departures. Please check with your Program Manager for details.

North America

USA – New York

Europe

Denmark – Copenhagen
France – Paris
Germany – Mannheim
Great Britain – London
Ireland – Dublin
Italy – Milan
Norway – Copenhagen
Spain – Barcelona
Sweden – Stockholm
The Netherlands – Amsterdam

Enquire now

Support throughout your exchange program

With our One Team Across the Globe, you will have guidance and support whenever you need it, at home and in your host country. In addition to your SCCE Program Manager and your parents, you will have a contact person at your destination who will be available throughout your exchange program. They will help introduce to your school and arrange events with other exchange students in your area.

Always just a phone call away

Should you have any questions or need help with local issues, your Local Coordinator in your host country will always be just a phone call away. They will check in with you at least once a month. For immediate help you can also contact our office in Australia and we will be here for you 24/7.

Enquire now

Let your exchange program begin!

This is it. You are all set to go on a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will set you up for success. Time to pack your bags!

Enquire now
banner-img

Soft Landing Camp

Your high school exchange will be off to a great start in our Soft Landing Camp, which may be included in your program price or available as an option for an added fee for some Academic Semester & Year programs.

This popular camp will introduce you to your host country and to other newly arrived exchange students from different parts of the world. You will learn more about the local culture as well as the situations you are likely to encounter as a new exchange student. You will go sightseeing with our staff – all members of our One Team Across the Globe. By the end of the Soft Landing Camp, you will be ready to meet your host family and your soon-to-be new friends in school.

Camps in New York, Paris, London, and more

Which Soft Landing Camp will you attend? Read more about the different camps at each destination. These apply to long programs only – Semester & Academic Year programs on some departures. Please check with your Program Manager for details.

North America

USA – New York

Europe

Denmark – Copenhagen
France – Paris
Germany – Mannheim
Great Britain – London
Ireland – Dublin
Italy – Milan
Norway – Copenhagen
Spain – Barcelona
Sweden – Stockholm
The Netherlands – Amsterdam

Enquire now
banner-img

Support throughout your exchange program

With our One Team Across the Globe, you will have guidance and support whenever you need it, at home and in your host country. In addition to your SCCE Program Manager and your parents, you will have a contact person at your destination who will be available throughout your exchange program. They will help introduce to your school and arrange events with other exchange students in your area.

Always just a phone call away

Should you have any questions or need help with local issues, your Local Coordinator in your host country will always be just a phone call away. They will check in with you at least once a month. For immediate help you can also contact our office in Australia and we will be here for you 24/7.

Enquire now
banner-img

Step 5: After your exchange program

Your experiences do not have to end when your high school exchange program finishes. Sign up as an ambassador – there are great ways to stay in touch and keep learning about people and countries around the world. 

Become an ambassador

Are you outgoing, driven and open to meeting young people who are curious about a high school exchange? We encourage you to become a Southern Cross Cultural Exchange ambassador. You will gain work experience and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you have inspired other young people to go on a life-changing high school exchange.

Become an ambassador

Become an ambassador

Are you outgoing, driven and open to meeting young people who are curious about a high school exchange? We encourage you to become a Southern Cross Cultural Exchange ambassador. You will gain work experience and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you have inspired other young people to go on a life-changing high school exchange.

Become an ambassador
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Questions?

Our high school exchange experts are here to answer your questions and guide you through every stage of your high school exchange. Contact us and we will get back to you soon. 

Apply now