Disclaimer: I won’t be giving you a suggestion on which company you should choose for your exchange year. This decision should be made by you and your families.
Gathering the information
But I can give you the insights on how I choose the company I did my exchange year with. So after I decided that I wanted to be an exchange student. I went on Google and started searching for terms like “exchange student“, “exchange student year” or”exchange program“. The amount of data is going to be overwhelming at first but you got to start somewhere right.
Getting more information
After you have found some decent companies many of them are offering a free catalog that will provide you with more detail than their websites do. So I ordered a bunch of those catalogs and screened them together with my family. I think you can get a pretty good feeling for the company when you look at there information material.
We reviewed all of them and made some notes on every company. Some companies offer evening events you can attend to for free and ask any question you want to get an answer for. I attended a couple of those evening events. Then we talked about the companies and narrowed down the selection to only a few options. (in my case three)
With those three options, we arranged meetings to get to know the companies even more. (could be on-site or via a Telefon interview) I had two Telefon interviews – which I thought were not the right thing because you are the only one talking to the person who is interviewing you – and one on-site interview. To the on-site interview, my dad came along to the meeting which was great. This allowed him to talk to the person as well and that way he got also an impression. I would suggest going to the company’s office because that gave me a better feeling about the company and the people that work there.
And then it all comes down to your gut and how you and your family feel about the companies. If you haven’t figured I choose the on-site option because I and my family had the best feeling about that company.
The whole process can take a few weeks and should not be hassled. The selection you make should be well thought through and accepted by all parties since your parents are probably going to pay the exchange year – if you don’t have a scholarship.