Study Abroad Ambassadors

Meet Michelle and Mariana our two Study Abroad Ambassadors!

Both traveled to France with ECI in 2014 and have created videos to share their travel tips and trips for you! Their high school ECI summer trip to France has inspired and shaped their future in several ways. CLICK HERE to watch their videos and be inspired to travel the world!

And don’t forget to take advantage of our two Scholarships and our Free Trip Video Contest!


Gift ideas for your host family!

IMG_5637Bringing your host family a present is a much appreciated gesture when traveling to your new study abroad home. It is especially thoughtful to bring a little something for each family member. The important thing is not the cost of the gift, but the thought behind it! Plus, these are great conversation starters to break the ice upon arrival. Here is what we suggest:

  • Souvenirs: We typically find the best gifts are small souvenirs of your home, such as candy, chocolates, t-shirts, baseball/sports cap, coasters, a book with photographs of your region/state/city, etc. Something that the family can remember you by.
  • Small and Light: You are probably trying to pack light, so often the smaller the item, the better for travel purposes. Especially if you have to take a train or bus to your final host family destination.
  • Not too Fragile: Be careful that the item isn’t too fragile if you are planning to pack your host family gifts inside your checked luggage. Most bags are not handled with care.
  • Customs Friendly: Also, make sure that the item can cross through customs. Chocolates and other candies are okay for entering most countries, but leave your speciality bacon behind 😉 Any meat or milk products cannot enter the European Union.

And, in case you’ve run out of time and have already arrived, you can always plan on a parting gift, such as a framed picture of you with the family.

Happy travels!



Tips for Teens Living with a Host Family

If you are a teen considering host family immersion abroad, you are about to embark on a life-changing experience. By immersing yourself into the core of a culture with a host family, you will be extending your horizons and strengthening your intercultural competence. Based on our experience running quality high school study abroad programs since 1998, we have put together the following three tips for teens living abroad with a host family.

1) Be Curious: Ask lots of questions. This shows a high level of interest in getting to know your host family and their customs. Plus, when learning a language we are often initially more confident in listening as compared to speaking. So being an active and curious listener is a good first step. These questions can often lead to some conversations with your host family:

      • What hobbies do you have?
      • What are your favorites books/TV shows/movies, etc?
      • Can you explain how you made that dish?
      • What is your school like?

2) Craft a Plan: Think of some specific plans that you want or need to accomplish. For example: printing pictures for your travel journal, finding souvenirs for your family back home, sampling a specific type of ice cream/dessert, finding a certain type of book/music, buying more sunscreen from the pharmacy, visiting a specific place (store or site) that you researched beforehand. Often host families will ask what you might need or be interested in doing. We’ve found that the host families often enjoy helping you to accomplish these tasks. Plus these tasks are something you can do together and serve as a good conversation starter.

3) Get Creative: Think of some creative or interactive projects that you can do with your host family. This may include: making friendship bracelets, playing cards, cooking, having fun with your phone apps (Dubsmash is a good one), taking goofy or creative photos together, creating a travel journal and showing it to your host family as it evolves, if you are into music – downloading your favorite songs onto their computer and ask them to do the same, if you are into art – creating a card to show your gratitude, if you are into sports – asking your host siblings to shoot some hoops, play some beach volleyball, go for a run, or a bike ride. Plus staying active strengthens our immune systems and spirits!

More high school study abroad tips: Writing a Letter to your Host Family & Embracing Cultural Differences

Edu-Culture Immersion offers:

  • Group and Individual Programs:  2 to 4 weeks in the French Alps, Andalusia, Salamanca, or Nice.
  • Language Immersion: Take your Spanish or French to the next level through university accredited classes, full immersion with host families and hands-on learning.
  • Quality Host Families: Immerse yourself in the comfortable homes of our volunteer host families in Seville, San Sebastian and the French Riviera.
  • Established & Quality Programs:  The ECI experience is one-of-a-kind with a professional team of local leaders, US chaperones, internationally recognized language schools, top-rated hotels & immaculate dorms.

Click here for more information on our summer high school study abroad programs.

How Will I Live Without My Cell Phone?

Should I take my phone to Europe? We get asked this a great deal!

To take or not to take?

For high school students today, the cell phone no longer functions as merely a tool for making phone calls. As the technology continues to improve at an accelerating rate, students become more used to relying on their phones to text their friends, store information, listen to music, and surf the Internet. With a study abroad trip on the horizon, many of our students ask, “Do you recommend I bring my cell phone to Europe with me?” While one solution won’t work for everyone, we have recommendations based on our travel experience.
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Stay Connected With ECI’s Trip Blogs

Get multiple updates each week while the group is traveling

We understand that the prospect of having your child travel to a new country can be intimidating for parents. Especially if this is a family’s first time having a child away for a month, the prospect can be intimidating. We’ve already addressed options to stay in touch in our previous blog on cell phones, but there’s another way to stay connected while the group is abroad: our ECI trip blogs!
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