Yes, that’s right! Before you become an exchange student the local company, you decided for, wants to get to know you a little more. Therefore they invite you to an interview before you get accepted by a company.
Usually, they allow you to bring your parent or somebody you trust with you to the interview. This is also the perfect timing for you / your parent / the person you bring with you to ask questions.
If you want to know how exchange programs work in general, check out this article.
How is the interview with an exchange company going to be like?
These next few paragraphs describe the interview I had when I wanted to become an exchange student. This might differ from what you going to experience when you have your interview. They might not even want to do an interview with you. It depends on how the company works and what they want to check before they accept you into their exchange program.
The “meeting” usually starts with the man/woman introducing themselves to you and your parent or trusted person. (Note: I would recommend bringing someone with you because it helps you stay calm.)
Then they want to get to know you a little better and will ask you a bunch of questions. They might ask you about the school, hobbies, what you do during your spare time if you have been to the country you are wanting to be an exchange student at. Maybe they even ask you a little more personal question for example if you have a girlfriend. Don’t be afraid to answer all these questions they just want to get a picture of you to base the decision off. This part usually is in your native language so the person you bring with you can answer questions as well. During the interview, you can also ask the questions you have or the person you brought with you. During that phase of the interview, it shouldn’t be a dialog between you and the interviewer.
The foreign language “test”
Once they got to know you a little better and you could ask your questions you had as well as the person you brought with you had. Its time that the person you brought with you and leaves the room. The interviewer usually speaks the language which is the native language of the country you are going to. In my case it was English.
The interviewer told me that he is going to switch to English to test me on how good I already spoke the language. Let me tell you – my heart dropped into my pants because I did not expect that. But I tried my best to have a conversation with him in English and at that time I really sucked at speaking English. All they want to see is you trying your best to speak the language!
After you talked maybe 20 min to 30 min in English my interviewer switched back to German (my mother tongue). He told me that my English was not the best but he thinks I will be fine in the US. And remember, of course, you should know the basics of speaking English before you become an exchange student but you are going to the destination country to really learn the language. They know that and that’s why you should not be scared of the interview.
Conclusion and end of the interview
The person you brought with you is called back into the room and the interviewer gives a short summary and gives an outlook into the future. What the next steps are and when you will be notified of how the company decided on you. After a short “Bye” the interview is done and you an the person you brought with you can go home.
This concludes the article about the interview before you get accepted by a company. This is just the experience I had when I was in the process of becoming an exchange student, but maybe you can relate to some stuff I wrote in this article.