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Exchange Student Programs and Golf

exchange student high school golf semester abroad

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#1 CaddyDad

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 09:17 AM

Question on exchange student programs and golf:

I’m looking for recommendations and input on exchange student programs. We are interested in helping our 14 yo identify opportunities for a one semester overseas experience and hosting a similar foreign student prior to our son's junior year (2019).

Background:  Son is an excellent student, active in band, regionally competitive golfer.  Very independent, confident, and with a strong work ethic. We want to offer him an enriching overseas experience prior to starting his junior year in high school. After sophomore year, it will be more challenging with college prep / search, higher importance of grades, college testing, and extracurriculars. And from what we've heard, time abroad is discouraged if on a college golf scholarship (according to several college golfers). Sadly, no college golfer we know is planning an overseas learning experience. Thus, I feel like our window is small to help him open his eyes to the rest of the world.

Question: Any experience with or recommendations about exchange student programs that focus on matching by sport?  As you all know, golf is demanding on time away from school grounds for practice, needing access to a course and weekend travel for tournaments, so it is important that the family understands and is committed to supporting these activities alongside their own children.


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#2 SkiSchoolPro

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 09:40 AM

Not sure which country you are coming from or your son is looking to go to...

I've done some volunteer work with AFS, but only have limited knowledge about how it would work with a competitive athlete. Your son could certainly put his golfing interests in his profile and my guess is that you can request that he goes to a school that has some sort of HS golf program, but this may limit the chance of his getting placed if lack of golf opportunities is a total deal breaker. AFS asks a lot of their host families and there is certainly a chance to participate in school sports. Here in CO, USA an exchange student expressed some interest in swimming and the host mom said she would drive her to the morning (something like 6 am every day before school) practices, but only if the girl was really committed to it. Ultimately, I don't think she was that interested and she didn't join the team.

IMO, if your son plays a lot of golf (like 5+ days a week year round) currently, I don't think having a 3-4 month period where he plays less is going to hurt his development. If he does get to play some, I think playing a different style of course in a different country could actually help his development.

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#3 CaddyDad

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 10:12 AM

View PostSkiSchoolPro, on 02 September 2017 - 09:40 AM, said:

Not sure which country you are coming from or your son is looking to go to...
...
IMO, if your son plays a lot of golf (like 5+ days a week year round) currently, I don't think having a 3-4 month period where he plays less is going to hurt his development. If he does get to play some, I think playing a different style of course in a different country could actually help his development.

Thank you, SkiSchoolPro.  We are in the Portland, Oregon area.  Given there is a weakness in foreign language for him, we will be focusing on English-speaking countries like the UK, New Zealand, Etc., though he just started German in high school so that may be a possibility.  Agree that access to different style of courses would be good for him, but not having regular access would likely be a nonstarter for him.  I will definitely look into AFS further.

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#4 henkedejk

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 04:39 PM

View PostCaddyDad, on 02 September 2017 - 10:12 AM, said:

View PostSkiSchoolPro, on 02 September 2017 - 09:40 AM, said:

Not sure which country you are coming from or your son is looking to go to...
...
IMO, if your son plays a lot of golf (like 5+ days a week year round) currently, I don't think having a 3-4 month period where he plays less is going to hurt his development. If he does get to play some, I think playing a different style of course in a different country could actually help his development.

Thank you, SkiSchoolPro.  We are in the Portland, Oregon area.  Given there is a weakness in foreign language for him, we will be focusing on English-speaking countries like the UK, New Zealand, Etc., though he just started German in high school so that may be a possibility.  Agree that access to different style of courses would be good for him, but not having regular access would likely be a nonstarter for him.  I will definitely look into AFS further.

Normal German schools will be to hard for a student that is not almost fluently in German. Most European countries have international schools (meaning English) in the capital and larger cities though.

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#5 SkiSchoolPro

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:09 AM

View PostCaddyDad, on 02 September 2017 - 10:12 AM, said:

Thank you, SkiSchoolPro.  We are in the Portland, Oregon area.  Given there is a weakness in foreign language for him, we will be focusing on English-speaking countries like the UK, New Zealand, Etc., though he just started German in high school so that may be a possibility.  Agree that access to different style of courses would be good for him, but not having regular access would likely be a nonstarter for him.  I will definitely look into AFS further.

I'd consider contacting the Jr Golf Associations (or whichever body organizes those tournaments and would have contact info for players) of the countries you are interested in and let them know you would be willing to host a player (including taking them to tournaments, etc.) and are looking for something similar for your son. Lot's of non-US players have dreams of coming here (for College and/or the PGA Tour), so finding someone interested in spending time here (either during the school year or summer) should be doable, particularly if they knew they had access to good practice facilities and tournaments.

I don't think there are as many golf courses in Germany as the UK (or per capita in NZ & Australia), but do know that there are some German schools that teach many of their high school classes in English. A summer or semester there might help him progress with the language.

View Posthenkedejk, on 04 September 2017 - 04:39 PM, said:


Normal German schools will be to hard for a student that is not almost fluently in German. Most European countries have international schools (meaning English) in the capital and larger cities though.

Yes, a typical German school would be tough for him. An International or school with an English language immersion program would be the way to go. Might be tricky finding one of these with good proximity to a golf course and host family, but might be great for him if these stars were to align.

Edited by SkiSchoolPro, 05 September 2017 - 10:13 AM.


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#6 heavy_hitter

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 11:57 AM

In the states by NFHS rules foreign exchange students are only allowed to play High School Golf if they are there for the entire year.  If they are only there for a semester they are ineligible.

Edited by heavy_hitter, 05 September 2017 - 11:58 AM.


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