Any tips on how to raise money, what scholarships i can get, and what program to use??
Congratulations on a great idea AND realizing early enough to fund raise.
The first thing to do is find a program. You can find all of them certified to operate in the U.S. at www.csiet.org or contact the high school counselor. A good program will help you fund raise with all kinds of ideas. Many programs also have scholarships as well.
One thing I question is going to Australia. One of the primary benefits of an exchange year is learning a new language (and Aussie doesn't count LOL). Perhaps you might consider changing your country so you can get that benefit -- it will definitely help you entering college and in the work place later on.
Edit to Sarah: Sarah, of course she won't get the language benefit in going to Australia! They DO speak English you know ... even if it is a bit different. I never suggest that it wouldn't be a total cultural difference.
I hosted exchange students through International Education Foundation, or IEF. I hosted 5 different students in 3 different exchanges, and I studied abroad in France.
I highly recommend checking out their programs. I agree with Beth in that it's great that you realize you need to start planning to finance a foreign exchange now. I can understand that you're curious about Australian culture.
I disagree with Beth's statement that you won't get as much out of the experience in terms of language. There is a huge cultural difference between Australian and the U.S. and I think the benefits of such an exchange are endless.
I do believe that everyone should learn a second or third language. If you spent your Junior year of High School in Australia, there is no reason why you can't spend Junior year of University in Berlin, Madrid, Hong Kong or Prague! Besides, think how funny it would be to learn Spanish in Australia. ;)
One of my very first exchange students is actually coming to visit me again in 2 weeks. I haven't seen him since 2002! We met when I was 15, and now we're both 26. I think It's pretty cool to have an international friendship that spans a lifetime. :)
Feel free to message me or email me if you have questions about foreign exchanges.
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