Get to Know….Austria!

Flag of Austria

Flag of Austria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Find out more about Austria here.

Here are some kid-friendly activities related to Austria and its culture.


English: in Innsbruck. Français : La Flussprom...

English: in Innsbruck. Français : La Flusspromenade (Promenade de la rivière), sur les bords de l’Inn, à Innsbruck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Falco – 80s pop star (“Rock Me Amadeus“)
  • Sigmund Freud – psychiatrist
  • Joseph Haydn – composer
  • Gustav Klimt – artist, helped found the Vienna Secession movement
  • Fritz Lang – film director
  • Gustav Mahler – composer
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – composer
  • Ferdinand Porsche – automotive engineer and entrepreneur
  • Otto Preminger – film director
  • Wolfgang Puck – chef
  • Oskar Schindler – industrialist, WWII hero
  • Johann Strauss – composer
  • Erwin Schrödinger – physicist, Nobel Prize winner
  • Franz Schubert – composer
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger – actor, former governor of California
  • Daniel Swarovski – founder of crystal company, Swarovski
  • Georg Ludwig von Trapp – head of the Sound of Music family
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein – philosopher

Interested in learning more about Austria and its culture?  Consider welcoming a student from there or another of our High School Year countries!


Foreign Exchange Friday: Travel Options for Students

Geographic center of the contiguous United Sta...

Geographic center of the contiguous United States is located in United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EF offers safe, chaperoned tours of the US for our exchange students.  It’s a good time for students to look into this, as these tours fill up quickly!

Who can go on Discovery Tours?
In addition to EF exchange students, the trips are open to host siblings (ages 15-19) as well as any friends at school. EF students can travel on any tour within their host country. (Students living in the U.S. can go on the U.S. tours, students in the UK can go on the UK tours, and students in Ireland can go on the Ireland tours.)

What is the payment schedule?
For spring 2014 tours a $250 non-refundable deposit is due at the time of booking. The rest of the trip must be paid in full by 90 days before the trip departs. The regular deadline to sign up for the trip is also 90 days before departure; if you sign up after that point, you’ll have to pay a late fee.

U.S. Trip Options

The East Coast (8 Days):

See American history come to life and experience an amazingly diverse array of cultures on a trip to Boston, New York City and the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

DC and New York City (5 Days):

From the stately national capital to the one and only Big Apple, experience two of America’s most iconic cities.

The California Coast (8 Days):

The country’s most populous state is a treasure of famous sights, beautiful scenery, and rich culture. See everything from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the stars of Hollywood.

L.A. and the Grand Canyon (8 days):

From Los Angeles to Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, experience glitz, glamour and nature at its most spectacular.

San Francisco (4 Days):

From Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge, discover why San Francisco is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S.

Discover Florida (7 Days):

Visit Florida’s most beloved attractions, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and the scenic beaches of Fort Lauderdale.

Hawaii (7 Days):

Travel from the U.S. mainland to the tropical island paradise of Hawaii. Experience the alluring culture, rich history and natural beauty of America’s 50th state.

To book your trip, you can register online!

For questions about our EF Discovery Tours, call 1-800-634-8351 or email

Thoughtful Thursday: Danish Proverbs

Vejen til en vens hus er aldrig lang.


The road to a friend’s house is never long.


13/6.2012 - ud på landet

13/6.2012 – ud på landet (Photo credit: julochka)

Word of the Day Wednesday: Hygge


Hygge (Danish)


complete absence of anything annoying, irritating or emotionally overwhelming, and the presence of and pleasure from comforting, gentle and soothing things.


Hygge i fælledparken

Hygge i fælledparken (Photo credit: Kristian Thøgersen)

Tasty Tuesday: Vaniljekransen (Danish Butter Cookies)

Danish Butter Cookies 


Royal Dansk

Royal Dansk (Photo credit: Timothy Valentine)


  • Cream butter & sugar together
  • Add egg
  • Mix dry ingredients, sifted once, add a little at a time
  • Add vanilla
  • Roll into small balls about the size of a walnut
  • Flatten with fork or spoon (Optional: Sprinkle color sugar on top before baking for Christmas colors, Easter, 4th of July, etc.)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 mins or til lightly golden brown.

Get to Know…Denmark!

Flag of Denmark ("stutflag" version)

Flag of Denmark (“stutflag” version) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Find out more about Denmark here.

Here are some kid-friendly crafts related to Denmark and its culture.

View from Rundetårn, Church of Our Lady (Copen...

View from Rundetårn, Church of Our Lady (Copenhagen). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)





If you are interested in hosting a student from Denmark or any of our high school year exchange countries, please fill out the interest form below and an EF representative will contact you within 48 hours.

Foreign Exchange Friday: Prospective Host Family FAQs

EF Foundation 2012_DSC9800

As a local coordinator who speaks to families about hosting exchange students, I find that there are certain questions I get quite often.   Today’s post will address some of those FAQs (or Frequently Asked Questions).

1.  Do host families get paid to host a student? 

Host families are not paid. According the United States Department of State, host families cannot receive financial gain from their participation in a student exchange program. This rule is designed to ensure that host families are participating in the program for the right reasons. However, in recognition of their role as citizen ambassadors, all host families are eligible to receive a charitable tax deduction on their tax return.

2.  Does the student need to have their own bedroom?  

No.  Students may share a room with a host sibling.  However, special permission may be required depending on the age of that sibling.

3.  What are the expectations of a host family? 

Families are expected to provide room and board to their student, as well as reasonable transportation to school or extracurricular events.  Families are also expected to include their student as a part of their family by including them in family trips, activities and meals, as well as typical household chores.  Students come to learn about typical American family life and families are expected to share this with their student.  In addition, students can share their culture and traditions with your family.

4.  Do we have to have other children of similar age to our student?  

No.  Many of our host families have no children, adult children or young children.  Some are single parents or same-sex parents.  Some special permissions may be required in certain situations, but we are open to all different types of families.

5.  What are the requirements of becoming a host family?  

All adults living in the home must undergo a rigorous screening process, including a criminal background check.  Additionally, families must meet with local representatives for an interview prior to being allowed to select and speak with a student. The interview must take place in the family’s home so that the representative can ensure a suitable, clean living environment will be provided.  At least one adult host parent must be 25 years of age or older.  Families should also expect to maintain monthly contact with their local representative and facilitate a secondary home visit by a different organization representative to ensure continued suitability. 

6.  What are the costs involved in hosting?  

Host families are required to cover costs associated with at-home meals, any packed school lunches, transportation to reasonable social and extra-curricular activities, and shelter. Students bring their own pocket money to cover routine expenses including cell phone bills, school expenses, clothing and recreation such as trips to the movies. Students also are required to purchase approved health insurance valid in the United States.

7.  Where do the students go to school?  

Your local representative will work with you to enroll your student at the local public high school.  This is contingent upon the school’s policies regarding enrollment of foreign exchange students, as these policies can vary.

What other questions would you have as a prospective host family?  What about veteran families – what were your concerns prior to hosting?


Are you interested in finding out more about hosting a foreign exchange student?  Fill out the contact form below and an EF representative will get back to you within 48 hours.



Thoughtful Thursday: Korean Proverbs

가는 말이 고와야 오는 말이 곱다.  


If the outgoing words are beautiful, then the incoming words will be beautiful, too. 


Usage: Used to encourage someone to be nice to others if they want others to be nice to them.


English: The first modern textbook in Korean L...

English: The first modern textbook in Korean Language (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Word of The Day Wednesday: 눈 웃음

눈 웃음 – (Noon Ooh-Soom)

Literally “eye laugh”. The form one’s eyes take, usually into a semi circle or arch, when they smile or laugh. “n.n”

Deutsch: Lachende Comicfigur in Form eines Kem...

Deutsch: Lachende Comicfigur in Form eines Kemonomimi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tasty Tuesday: 비빔밥 (Bibimbap)

Bibimbap (Korean Rice Bowl with Vegetables and Beef)

Bibimbap, a Korean dish made with various namu...

Bibimbap, a Korean dish made with various namul(seasoned vegetable) and ground beef. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bibimbap is a large bowl of rice topped with an array of individually prepared vegetables and beef and served with seasoned red pepper paste (gochujang). Bibim means mixing, and bap means rice. The mixing usually happens at the table right before eating.  Bibimbap served in a sizzling hot stone bowl is very popular at Korean restaurants. The hot stone bowl gives the bottom layer of rice a nice golden crust, and the rest of the food sizzles while being mixed. At home, make bibimbap using side dishes left over from previous meals. It’s that versatile! This recipe looks long, but it is actually a collection of several side dish (banchan) recipes that are very simple to make. Even if you are not making bibimbap, you can use any of them to make small side dishes as well.

Makes 4 servings.


  • 3 cups short grain rice
  • 1/2 lb beef, rib eye or sirloin (substitute shiitake mushrooms for a vegetarian dish)
  • 16 oz soybean sprouts (or mung bean sprouts)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 2 cups boiled gosari* (fern brake)
  • 4 eggs
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 2 or 3 scallions, chopped

(*Boiled gosari is sold in Korean/Asian markets. If using dried gosari, soak several hours until soft and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes until tender.)

  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • roasted sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable or canola oil

Red pepper paste (gochujang) sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons of Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of water.

Cook the rice in a rice cooker or following package directions, using a little less water than called for. The rice for bibimbap should be a little drier than usual for best results. Prepare all other ingredients (recipes follow).

Assemble:  Place a serving of rice in a big bowl. (If using a stone bowl, heat it on medium heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and rice and cook the rice for several minutes until the rice sizzles.) Nicely arrange a small amount of each prepared vegetable and beef over the rice. Drizzle a little sesame oil over. Top with an egg fried sunny-side up and serve with the red pepper paste sauce.

  • Beef:  Cut into thin 2-inch long strips. Mix in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of rice wine (optional), 1 tablespoon of chopped scallion, 2 cloves garlic minced, and a pinch of pepper. Marinate for 20 minutes. Sauté in a skillet for 2 – 3 minutes over high heat.
  • Gosari (Fern brake):  Cut into 3-inch lengths. Season with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 clove garlic minced, 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds, and a pinch of pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes. Sauté in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of vegetable/canola oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
  • Soy bean sprouts:  Bring 1 cup of water to a boil with a teaspoon of salt. Add the bean sprouts and boil for 3 minutes. Drain quickly and shock in cold water to stop cooking. Drain again. Toss with 1 clove garlic minced, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spinach:  Blanch the spinach in salted boiling water only until wilted, 30 – 40 seconds. Drain quickly and shock in cold water. Squeeze out water. Cut into 3-inch lengths. Toss with 1 tablespoon of chopped scallion, 1 clove garlic minced, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cucumbers:  Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then thinly slice crosswise. Generously sprinkle salt over sliced cucumbers and set aside for 10 – 15 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid. Toss with 1 tablespoon of chopped scallion, 1 clove garlic minced, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds.
  • Zucchinis:  Cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise and then thinly slice crosswise. Generously sprinkle salt over sliced zucchinis and set aside for 10 – 15 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid from salted zucchini by hand. Add 1 tablespoon of chopped scallion and 1 clove garlic minced. Sauté in a lightly oiled skillet for 1 – 2 minutes over medium high heat.
  • Carrots:  Julienne the carrots into match sticks. Sauté in a lightly oiled skillet for 1 – 2 minutes over medium high heat, sprinkling salt and pepper to taste.

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.

Note: Other usual ingredients for bibimbap include shiitake mushrooms (sliced and sautéd), bell flower roots (doraji – soaked and sautéed), onion (sliced and sautéed), a leaf of lettuce, and kimchi (sliced).