Americans Abroad Program

Please note that specific guidelines and recommendations vary by program.

Do I need to know the host language in order to travel abroad?

Language prerequisites vary by program. While some programs require at least two years of language study, other programs, including the Congress-Bundestag Vocational Youth Exchange to Germany, require no prior foreign language study.

Where will I stay during my exchange program?

Many of the Nacel programs abroad involve a homestay, in order to allow students full immersion in the host language and culture. Participants stay with host families who have been screened and approved by representatives of Nacel Open Door’s partner offices in the host countries.

Can my family and friends visit me during my program abroad?

An exchange program abroad is a time when our students need to fully immerse themselves in the host culture and language. Therefore, we do not recommend family or friends to visit during the student’s program. If family and friends feel it necessary to visit, the appropriate time to do so would be at the end of the program. When the student’s program is essentially complete, (and when students have a better command of the host language), they may have some free time available. Visits early in the program are extremely detrimental to a student’s success.

May I come home for a visit during the year?

It is important that our participants are dedicated to the exchange experience and are willing to commit to immersing themselves in the host culture for the entire program stay. Visits home seriously interrupt gains in language and cultural understanding, and are not condoned. If there is a family emergency, an exception could be made.

Can I travel to other cities and/or countries while I’m on program?

We are not a travel agency, and our students are in a family-living program to immerse themselves in the host country’s language and culture. However, depending on the length and location of the program, some personal travel may be considered, as long as the travel is considered safe and does not interfere with school, work, or host family plans. Any personal travel of this nature would be subject to approval by program staff prior to traveling.

Is there someone to contact at night or on the weekend if I need help?

Nacel Open Door proudly offers a 24/7 support network. By calling 1-800-622-3553, you will be able to speak with a NOD national office staff member during the business day; after hours, you may call the same toll-free number, press 9, and you will be transferred to our answering service. In case of emergency, your call will be routed to an on-call staff member. Students are also given contact information for local representatives and program staff in their host country.

Is there insurance coverage if I get sick or injured during my exchange program?

Nacel Open Door offers travel insurance for its program participants. While pre-existing conditions and certain activities (such as driving and other high-risk activities) are not covered, many common illnesses and injuries are.

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