Foreign exchange programs allow students to grow their language skills and learn about different cultures


Killian Johnson

Foreign student exchange programs have many positives, from improving foreign-language skills to learning about other cultures.

Chloe Stables, Spotlight Reporter

A few weeks ago, students welcomed German students into their homes and showed them around the school as a part of a foreign exchange program offered at Metea. While this opportunity was only available to students learning the German language, other language courses have offered programs similar to this in the past. 

With the foreign exchange program, students and teachers from a foreign country stay with student families as a part of the program for two weeks. Foreign students attend school and engage in touristy activities with their host students to see American culture and experience the teenage American lifestyle. 

Spanish teacher Brandi Bane is a big supporter of this program. According to Bane, most languages in the department have participated in a foreign exchange student program before.

“We recently finished the German exchange program but in the past, we have also hosted Spanish, French and Chinese students,” Bane said. “The German program is unique since German students come here for two weeks, but then our students go to Germany for two weeks over the summer. Usually, the other programs do touristy activities or service projects, however, we try to incorporate an element of schooling or stays with a host family.” 

Hosting a foreign exchange student requires a certain level of proficiency in the language. These programs are usually only offered to students involved in higher-level foreign language courses. Even though the students travel in pairs, language teachers need to make sure each student can communicate on their own.

Foreign language teachers play a big role in the foreign exchange experience. According to Bane, the opportunity is offered when a foreign language teacher volunteers to supervise the trip, find a company to travel with, and seek approval from the district. Although Metea has been involved in foreign exchange programs since its opening, the department does not offer this opportunity annually as it takes away from teachers’ personal time during the summer. 

“When we first opened, it seemed like there was a trip almost every year because there were many Spanish teachers interested and each year they would rotate who led the program,” Bane said. “Recently, there has been a trip about every two years due to covid but also because of the teacher availability.”

For Bane, the foreign exchange program is a great way to learn about other cultures and discover new passions.

“It truly is an amazing experience. If students are taking a foreign language, I highly suggest it. Even if Metea does not currently offer a foreign exchange program for your language, there are other programs outside of school,” Bane said. “When I was in high school, I did a semester of foreign exchange in Spain and it was then that I discovered my passion for Spanish. It is important for students to expose themselves to different cultures and languages.”