Saying goodbye and keeping in touch

It’s true, goodbyes can be hard for most host families and students. However, the exchange year is just the beginning of a lifelong relationship that spans the globe. Here are a few ways to help you say "see you later."

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Staying in touch

It’s no secret that staying in touch is easier than ever, no matter how far apart you and your student may be. Stay connected to your student through social media, email, phone, video calls and even old-fashioned letters. You may be at your student’s wedding someday!

Time for a pat on the back

By welcoming a foreign exchange student into your home, you are truly making the world a better place—one student, one family, one community at a time. Few experiences are more rewarding and fulfilling than granting an international student the dream of studying in Ireland. Thank you again for your commitment to international cultural exchange!

Add to your global family

Many host families and students have fun sitting down together and choosing an exchange student for next year. Your student will get a kick out of helping you find your next great student, proud to play a role in picking the newest member of your growing global family.

Share your story with us

We want to hear about your experience and we want the world to hear about it, too. Share your favorite stories and best photos with us on social media or email us at [email protected]. Let us know what surprised you most and what you learned about your student’s culture—and about your own.

5 tips for a smooth transition:

Acknowledge your feelings

Recognise and accept your feelings, whatever they may be. Remember how your student enriched your home and start planning your first email or video call.

Discuss challenges

Discuss with your student some challenges they may face upon returning home—these may include being called “too Irish,” struggling to renew ties with friends or integrating back into their daily life at home.

Encourage your student

Your student may face reverse culture shock upon returning to their home country and might even feel more comfortable with your family than with their own. Help your student recognise the bonds with their family back home, and encourage them to be as open minded as they were when they started their exchange.

Plan a farewell gesture

Find a nice gesture or event that signals a “wrapping up.” Compile a scrapbook documenting activities from their bucket list, organise a special dinner, have a party or spend a quiet weekend away. You might give your student a gift (perhaps a family photo) or slip a letter into their hand luggage at the airport.

Finalize basic items

Make sure to finalise all practical issues. Coordinate with your student to ensure everything is taken care of prior to leaving (things like insurance, phone, school and medical bills).

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Learn more about hosting an exchange student

Are you ready to experience a new culture at home? Connect with us and start your hosting journey now.

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Speak to an EF exchange advisor

Choose your exchange student

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