LAB Frequently Asked Questions

Program & Costs

Can my child participate in just one part of the exchange, either hosting or traveling?

We believe that the experience is best when a student is able to participate in both halves of an exchange. Therefore, students who participate are expected to host the student with whom they will stay during March Break.

When is a student eligible for the Spanish and French Exchanges?

The exchanges to Barcelona, Spain and Colmar, France are open to junior and senior students who will be studying at Level 3 or above during the year they will be participating in the exchange. Because both of these exchanges are designed for language immersion, a certain level of language skill is required.

Is it possible to request that a guest or host be of the same gender as our child?

Most often students host or visit with a student of the same gender. Students of different genders are placed with each other only with permission from all parents/guardians, and if a separate sleeping area is available.

What is the typical cost per student to travel with an exchange?

Pingree makes every effort to keep all expenses as low as possible. As with any travel purchase, date, location, and vendor pricing fluctuations affect all final costs, which generally run between $1,500 and $2,000 per student.

Are there any scholarship funds available for participating in an exchange?

A limited fund is reserved for Pingree students who require financial support to participate in Pingree trips. Students who currently receive financial aid for tuition will receive first priority. Priority will also be given to students who are requesting this aid for the first time in the school year. Students not receiving financial aid may also apply for financial assistance for trips. Awards are granted on a case-by-case basis while funds are available. Awards may be capped if the demand for funding exceeds Pingree’s capacity to meet that demand. Please contact John Harrington in the Business Office to get more information.

How much spending money is needed during the trip abroad?

Expenses such as museum entrances, transportation while at school, and lunches are paid for by the host school. Personal expenses, purchases, souvenirs, snacks, etc. are the responsibility of the individual student, and the amount allowed for these expenses is a family decision.

Traveling

Is it convenient/easy to use a credit card or to withdraw money with an ATM card?

Because each bank has specific rules and regulations, it is best to check with your own bank regarding ATM access and credit card use in a particular destination. It is strongly advised that each family alert their bank(s) to possible withdrawals or charges made in a foreign country.

Please note that some European businesses may not accept a credit card without the new security "chip." This security program is in the beginning stages right now and in general causes few difficulties.

Does my child have health insurance coverage when traveling with an exchange?

Families must check with their health insurance provider to be sure their child is covered while traveling because each health insurance company provides different coverage and benefits. If your policy does not cover your child while traveling, we can direct you to a company that provides affordable, temporary international health insurance coverage.

Your child’s medical information will be available at all times via Sentry MD in case of an emergency.

Will my child’s cell phone work abroad?

Each family must check with their cell phone service provider to determine where their cell phones will work and what the costs will be. The Pingree chaperones will have a cell phone for communicating in emergencies and will be able to communicate with families and school via e-mail.

Should my child bring a laptop abroad? Is there computer access or wifi?

Having one’s own laptop is convenient. There are computers and internet access at school and in most family homes. However, laptops are somewhat heavy and something no one wants to lose. Ultimately, whether to bring any type of computer equipment is a family decision.

What type of clothing is required for school? What should we pack?

Each school has a dress code similar to Pingree’s. Their code will be shared with you before departure, but there are no unusual requirements. Suggestions for packing will be shared with you at the Student/Parent Informational Meeting prior to departure.

What if my child does not get along with their guest or host?

A Lead Teacher from Pingree will be available to provide guidance for your child should concerns arise during a visit or trip. Lead Teachers meet with the students daily which allows for frequent and regular communication.

Are the destinations safe?

All schools and destinations have been visited in person by Pingree faculty/staff with the goal of safeguarding the wellbeing of all Pingree students. US and local government travel advisories are checked regularly.

What kind of gifts should our child bring for host families abroad?

Gifts are not required, but if your family decides to send something, we suggest a small gift of something that is local to Massachusetts, New England, or the US. We strongly urge our students to pack lightly which suggests that the gift should be small and lightweight. Liquids, such as maple syrup, are generally not the best idea.

Is the electricity outlet the same as in the U.S?

The outlets as well as the electrical supply is different in Europe and in Taiwan. We will talk about electrical needs at the student/ parent informational meeting.

What if my child is a picky eater and/or vegetarian?

All health or dietary requirements will be shared with the host family. We hope students will discover new favorite foods as part of their adventures in a new culture.

What are the expectations for student behavior during an exchange, in particular, considering that the drinking age is often younger in other countries than it is in the US?

All Pingree rules of behavior as they appear in the Student/Parent Handbook are in force during an exchange. Prior to departure, students and their parents are required to sign a behavior contract. The contract states that the student and parents understand that any infraction of the rules will result in the student’s immediate return to the United States at the additional expense of the parents. The student will also face disciplinary action upon return.

Hosting

Will Pingree organize activities for the visiting students in the evenings?

The international student should go home each day with their Pingree host student at the usual time. Occasionally there are organized activities in the evening or during the weekend, but these have been organized by hosting students and their families.

How does the Pingree host manage homework each night during the stay?

The guest is expected to entertain himself while the Pingree student is working on homework and assignments. This is a good time for the guest to email home, blog about their trip, or prepare assignments for the next day’s classes and activities. Lastly, watching movies or television is one way to practice English or discover more about American culture and history.

When hosting an international student, what should we do on weekends? What are our responsibilities to entertain?

Your family should continue to live their usual lives during the exchange visit. There is no expectation for entertaining the international guest beyond dinner with some family conversation. These students are here to participate in real American life in an American home. Everything about our life is new, different and interesting to them. Ask them about their families and share your own traditions.


What do I do with my guest while I play sports, go to church, etc.?

We urge your family to include your guest in your family life wherever reasonable and possible. If this is not feasible, please contact the Lead Teacher for alternatives.

When hosting, what if I do not get along with my guest?

A Lead Teacher from Pingree will be available to provide guidance should concerns arise during the visit.

Do the international students go to class with the host Pingree student?

For most of their stay, the international student will either attend specific classes that may or may not include their host, or they will participate in off campus excursions.

Can an exchange student ride the Pingree bus?

Yes, this can be arranged.

Can an exchange student ride with a Pingree student driver?

Yes, as long as the Pingree student has a valid license that allows for transporting another non-family teenager.