I first read a borrowed copy of The Exchange Student Survival Kit in May 1994, just a few months before going on a high school exchange with AFS. As the year abroad progressed, I kept rereading the book, exploring the stories and lessons learned while connecting with my own experiences. I could not ask for a better guide to help me make sense of what I was going through and better understand the international experience's challenges and opportunities. The third edition has just caught up with technology and new developments, but Betsy's practical and valuable insights remain timeless.
Dr. Betsy Hansel's extraordinary book, The Exchange Student Survival Kit (second edition), is a must-read for anyone going overseas through a high school exchange program. Her advice and down-to-earth examples give the prospective exchangee an excellent foundation for developing deeper intercultural insights and skills. From pre-departure to return, this book will greatly help a young person to navigate the often ambiguous waters of cultural differences.
The Exchange Student Survival Kit is a wise and exceptionally practical guide that belongs in the hands of every study abroad student contemplating a home stay. When it comes to understanding both the pitfalls and pleasures of an international home stay, there is no better source of advice for both the students and their hosts.
I will never forget my first hot August day in Kansas City! My American family greeted me, their just arrived Italian AFS exchange student, at the bus stop with a loaf of 'Italian garlic bread': I had never seen one before! In this book, Dr. Betsy Hansel goes straight to the essence of culture shock-different views, different values, different perceptions, different worlds to compare as a student abroad. She shows us the wonderful and painful process to become an open-minded citizen of the world. The Exchange Student Survival Kit will be of tremendous help for everyone involved in the exchange student field and, by extension, everybody who deals with cross-cultural differences.
Studying abroad is an opportunity for discovering yourself, and for finding your place in the world community as never before. In my work with students, I have heard thousands of dreams and fears about what the overseas experience might bring. But inevitably, it was the unimagined dream, the adventure that money could not buy, that proved to be the most fascinating aspect of the sojourn. The Exchange Student Survival Kit has been written with you, and that adventure, in mind. Sometimes people feel that too much reading will spoil the novelty of the experience, as if the new culture we will live in has such limited things to offer that we can master all of it by reading a few books. We might rather think of the old saying "Luck prefers the prepared mind." As you ready yourself to make the most of your time abroad, remember that part of the investment in your own adventure is to be ready to fully experience it. And the collection of ideas in this fully updated and revised book is designed to facilitate that luck!