A new model for student exchange

Schools around the world have been exchanging with each other for decades, and each student trip has always involved some combination of homestay, school exchange and sightseeing in the host country. The problem is that most programs don't capitalize on each component to create meaningful learning outcomes for students, either because of logistical challenges or for lack of educational design. 


Our exchange model customizes experiences for each student using our ALPEX-IMS web portal and ensures they are fully immersed and engaged across all three components by guiding them through our exchange curriculum.

Alpha Exchange Information Management System (APLEX-IMS)

Every student enrolled in an Alpha Exchange program has an account in our ALPEX-IMS web portal to help us customize their experience, regardless of whether they’re just hosting, traveling or both.

  •  

    Important dates & contact information

  •  

    Registration tasks (from personality to pets)

  •  

    Hosting guide & planning checklist

  •  

    Travel guide & planning checklist

  •  

    Partner pairing & communication

  •  

    Exchange courses & activity scheduling

  •  

    Program files & downloads 

  •  

    Interactive videos & support

School coordinators also have their own accounts to keep track of everything in one place:

  •  

    Student information & registration progress

  •  

    Partner pairing input & tracking

  •  

    Detailed hosting schedules & rosters

  •  

    Travel documents & forms

Basic Info
My Subjects
My Hobbies
Compatibility Test
Hosting Questionnaire
Background Checks
Virtual Home Visit
Passport
China Visa
Health Medical

Exchange Curriculum: Task-Based Exploration

Our special immersion curriculum is designed to allow students to dig deeper and think bigger during their time abroad. Our goal is to help students to build connections between the sights and scenes around them and the larger themes of local history, culture, and society.

  •  

    Individual Challenges: Structured like a scavenger hunt, these are tasks or activities that students can complete in exchange for points during their trip based on the degree of difficulty. Chinese students may be tasked with teaching their host family how to cook their favorite Chinese dish, while American students may be asked to interview their partners' grandparents about the changes they have witnessed in China over their lifetime. All individual challenges are optional, but there are prizes for students with the most points by the end of their trip.

  •  

    Photo Contest: Designed to inspire curiosity and creativity, the photo contest encourages students to examine their surroundings with an artistic eye. Each school is given a key phrase to serve as inspiration, and students will capture photos in line with that theme during their trip and submit their best work before they return home. Photos will be evaluated by Alpha Exchange staff and the winning photos will be automatically entered in a contest with submissions from other Chinese and American schools.

  •  

    Travelogue: In all the excitement of exploring a new county, it's easy to forget to write down thoughts, feelings, and impressions. The Travelogue is a collaborative daily journal where students can detail the sights, sounds, and moments that they'll remember long after returning home while giving parents regular updates during the trip.

Welcome To Evanston
Hutong Munching
Max Beaver Home Cooking
Shs Cny Gala
Marshall Closing Gala
Bls Gala

Local Sightseeing: Off The Tour Bus

We know that there’s a lot more to China than the Great Wall, and the same applies to the United States. When it comes to sightseeing, Alpha Exchange takes you beyond the basics. Our trips are designed to get students off the tour bus, with each program tailored to individual school goals and budget and advised by our team of seasoned professionals. 

  •  

    In China: In addition to the must-see monuments, American students visiting China will explore further and understand deeper under the guidance of our China-savvy trip leaders. Whether you’re learning to cook fiery food in Chengdu, exploring ancient back alleys in Beijing, or making visits to the factories that make China go in Shanghai, you can feel confident that you’ve done far more than just scratch the surface. 

  •  

    In America: In line with their academic focus during the school exchange, our Chinese students like to spend the majority of their time in other cities visiting colleges. We spend at least half a day at each college, scheduling meetings with admission officers, arranging for them to meet with our Chinese alumni and giving them an in-depth tour of the campus. Aside from college visits, we make the most of America’s renowned museums and try to squeeze in an NBA game or Broadway show too!

Un
Cooking Class 1
Marshall Bball
Tea Ceremony
Tea Picking Copy
Village
Xian City Wall Biking

Partner Homestay: Live Like A Local

Teachers, students and parents all tend to be anxious about the homestay experience, but the effort we put into pairing students and making homestay arrangements always makes this the highlight of our trips.

  •  

    Partner Pairing – Build a Friendship That Lasts: Students complete a series of interactive tasks during registration that allows us to pair them up based on personality, shared hobbies, and common academic interests. Other critical information such as dietary restrictions, pet allergies, scheduling preferences and age are all taken into account, and we do our best to ensure students can host the same student they'll stay with in China. This rigorous process ensures that students forge lasting friendships on our programs that have endured right through college. 

  •  

    Homestay Experience – Become a Part of the Family: Students will have the unique opportunity to live with their partner’s family, developing an appreciation for the similarities and differences in everyday life between their home and host country. Even after the school day is over, students will continue to cultivate an intimate understanding of local culture by bonding with their host family at home. In America, homestay activities have included American-style barbecues, fishing trips, and wintertime sledding. Meanwhile in China, students have enjoyed Chinese cooking classes, family gatherings and visits to nearby towns and villages.

Abe Us
Abe China
Will Beaver Us 1
Will Beaver China 1
Friendship 4
Christy Bls 1
Victoria Bls 1

School Exchange: Customized Learning Experiences

School exchange serves a different purpose for American and Chinese students on their trips, but we make sure everyone benefits from their time at school.

  •  

    In America: Most of our Chinese students are planning to apply to US colleges and the primary purpose of their trip is to immerse themselves in American classrooms and we arrange for them to spend as much time at school as possible. We recognize that this can be overwhelming for some host schools and partners. This is why our ALPEX-IMS software streamlines every aspect of this process, allowing Chinese students to customize their own class timetables while ensuring classrooms are never crowded, teachers know when to expect guests and everyone enjoys having them around. After school, we supervise students during office hours, facilitate opportunities for them to participate in extracurriculars and plan group activities to keep everyone occupied.

  •  

    In China: Unless their trip has a deliberate focus on Chinese language immersion, the school exchange for our American students is typically limited to 1-2 days. This remains the case even if they opt for a longer homestay, with other days spent sightseeing in the exchange city while their partners are in class. At school, students enjoy a slate of interactive activities designed to introduce them to traditional Chinese culture, including options like calligraphy, painting, Confucian philosophy, Beijing opera, tai-chi, kung fu, and dragon dances among others. 

Science
Schoolbus
Stamp Making
Students Together 2
With Chinese Students