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Study abroad has never been so popular. Students embarking on life-changing adventures need tried-and-true advice. Since 1993, THE EXCHANGE STUDENT SURVIVAL KIT has been the essential guide for young people traveling abroad, helping them better understand the unique experience of international exchange programs. More importantly, it shows students how to avoid many common misunderstandings and problems that can occur in the course of their adjustment to a new culture, a new family, a new school and a new community.

Based on her years of research and professional involvement with AFS Intercultural Programs, Dr. Hansel has filled the book with examples taken from the experiences of dozens of exchange students from a broad spectrum of cultures. This much-awaited new edition includes

* New communications technology as it affects the experience: e-mail, instant messaging, cell phones, online games and blogs and information searches.
* Important advice on personal safety and pressing concerns for parents and students in light of war, terrorism and crime.
* Changes in society and family life that affect travelers: fast food replacing family meals, a new emphasis on religious beliefs, consumerism and globalism.

Now fully updated for the 21st Century THE EXCHANGE STUDENT SURVIVAL KIT supports young people who plan to become exchange students or who are already on such a program, showing how to manage the unexpected “culture shock” and deal with the specific issues that emerge when immersing yourself in an unfamiliar culture.


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.
Lucas Welter, former AFS student and Chief Organizational Development and Strategy Officer for AFS Intercultural Programs
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.
Mitchell R. Hammer, PhD, President, Hammer Consulting, LLC
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.
Bruce La Brack, professor of Anthropology and International Studies, University of the Pacific
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.
Dr. Mietta Rodeschini Denti, President, Rotary Club Bergamo, Ovest, Italy
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!
Janet M. Bennett The Intercultural Communication Institute Portland, Oregon December 2020