Safety & Wellbeing
The safety and wellbeing of our students is our highest priority. We understand that student excitement at the adventure ahead is often mirrored by parental anxiety. Supporting and guiding our students and families through a safe and secure experience is our key objective.
We do this by
- helping prepare students prior to departure and providing them with high quality advice and information about their exchange experience
- being available to parents throughout the exchange for any questions or concerns
- always using recognised airlines like Qantas, Air New Zealand, BA, Air France, Emirates, Lufthansa, Thai, etc.
- only working with established and reputable overseas partners
- ensuring that host families are personally interviewed in their homes and that selection procedures and criteria meet with statutory requirements of the host country
- ensuring that each student has a local coordinator for regular contact and close support and advice
- providing all outbound participants with a MasterCard multi-currency Cash Passport card to simplify overseas access to funds
- including comprehensive insurance, including cancellation insurance, in our participation fee
- training our staff and coordinators on a regular basis
- providing an emergency phone service which students or families can call 24/7 if they experience a genuine emergency
- providing all students with a Safety Card that lists contact details for our office staff, local coordinator, host family and overseas partner. These cards also contain the 24/7 emergency phone numbers. >
- communicating openly and regularly with all parties to the exchange - parents, students, overseas partners
- regularly monitoring government travel warnings from DFAT (Australia) and MFAT (New Zealand) >
We understand that, with the excitement and anticipation of an upcoming exchange, students and their parents may not absorb all recommendations / information at one sitting. That’s why we include our advice and information in various forums, for example, in our printed and online materials and during orientations. Similar but more locally specific advice is included in orientations in the host country.
Child Safety and Quality Management Policy
Student Exchange Australia New Zealand Ltd places the safety and wellbeing of our exchange students as its highest priority. We maintain and continually improve a Quality Management System that complies with the requirements of the International Standard ISO 9001. Click here to read our Child Safety and Quality Management Policy.
Host Family Checks
In each of the overseas countries we work with there are variations in the legal requirements regarding working with children and criminal background checks for volunteer host families. In all cases, we and our overseas partners comply, if not exceed, the requirements of law when selecting host families for our students.
With the exception of Japan (which has been exempted by regulatory authorities because of the complexity of the process in that country) all overseas host families of Australian and New Zealand exchange students undergo criminal record checks in accordance with local procedures. A placement will only proceed if a satisfactory check has been completed. In Japan, additional steps are taken to ensure the suitability of host families.
In all cases, host families are interviewed in their home and referee checked as part of the process of assessing their suitability to host.
Local Support Structure
All students have a local coordinator appointed to support them throughout their time overseas. The coordinator - typically the mother or father of a returned student - is there to provide first level support to students and families. If a student is experiencing a problem they can talk with their local coordinator who will offer advice and assistance.
Coordinators are in regular contact with our professional staff to share information or seek advice.
Our partners keep us informed of any developments affecting the students’ exchange. We, in turn, contact parents if there are any issues that require their attention.
The chart below shows the support structure that is available to all students.
Parent and Student Handbooks
All students and parents will receive a handbook prior to the pre-departure orientation with our staff. Each handbook contains comprehensive information on every aspect of our exchange program, what to expect, how to prepare prior to departure and providing high quality advice and information about the exchange experience.
Monitoring Student Wellbeing
Student Exchange Australia New Zealand Ltd has established a customised online monitoring and reporting system in 'My Exchange' that facilitates us staying in touch with students during their exchange.
Once you’re accepted on to our program you’ll be given access to ‘My Exchange’ - a personalised online resource and reporting centre packed with info to help you prepare and make the most of your exchange.
With a secure login, students can access:
- links and resources about your host country
- an online travel journal allowing you to keep track of your experience with text and images
- a summary of your profile and program information including links to videos of returned students talking about their experience
- a personal dashboard, with quick access to news and updates from us
- an easy reporting facility allowing you to send updates directly to us whenever you need or via monthly e-post cards & quarterly reports
- loads more info about things like coping with homesickness and culture shock, tips on how to get along with a new language, host family, friends, school, and heaps more
- detailed information on what to expect whilst on exchange, how to prepare and what to take
- emergency and contact details
- a ‘My Docs’ area where all your important documents are kept as PDFs in one place. >
- Insurance certificate, flight itineraries etc
- Host Family profile
- Travel Release forms
- Details of your returned student advisor >
We know how hard it is to keep track of all the paperwork and information. My Exchange is a great way to keep everything to do with your exchange in one place and stay connected to us while you’re away.