8 End of Year Activities for Exchange Students to Enjoy

After a year of studying, participating in extracurricular activities, and learning a new language, the good-hearted fun that comes with the end of the school year can finally commence! 

We know this must be a bitter sweet time for everyone in your home. Your exchange student is returning to their home country soon, yet you have created so many memories that you’ll always hold in your heart. It’s important to hold space for all that you may be feeling, but we also invite you to get your exchange student excited for all the fun end of year activities that are coming their way. 

Here are 8 end-of-year activities that exchange students look forward to.


1. Yearbooks

two teens looking at yearbook

Yearbooks are often handed out on the last day of school and are the perfect hard-bound encasement of all the good times shared at school this past year. From senior superlatives, to pictures of your classmates, this keepsake is often safely stored for decades by high school graduates. Remind your student to bring a pen to sign their name/write fun messages in their friends’ yearbooks. Maybe even challenge your exchange student to see how many signatures they can get in their yearbook! 


2. Spirit Week

teen boys dressed up for spirit week

Depending on your exchange student’s school, they will likely have a spirit week leading up to prom or graduation. Each day of spirit week has a theme for students to follow– and it’s often a funny dress code! Some common examples of spirit week days include: wacky hair day, dynamic duo day (such as, fire & ice or peanut butter & jelly), twin day (when you dress in the same outfit as a friend), and so much more! Be sure to help your student with any outfits they need to put together to participate in spirit week. 


3. Student award ceremony

girl receiving high school letter

The end of the school year also allows us to honor a select few students that demonstrated outstanding achievement in areas such as academics, sports, leadership, and more. This usually takes place during a big assembly with all students, teachers, and even some parents, where students can be recognized for their contributions to the community. This may also be the time when students pick up their cords for their graduation robes– another American tradition to denote special accomplishments or communities among the students. 


4. Senior prank day

toilet paper hanging from trees

This certainly may not be the teachers or faculty’s favorite part of the end of year activities, but it bands together the graduating class in a way that studying can’t! All the seniors pick a day during which they prank the school in various ways. A few common senior pranks are: forking the lawn (sticking forks all over the school’s grassy spaces), putting glue in all the locks at school, or filling hallways with hundreds of cups of water making getting around the school much more difficult. Friendly side note: ICES is not endorsing any of these behaviors! 


5. Prom 

prom king and queen

Prom is one of the most quintessential American high school experiences. This black-tie attire dance is typically reserved for just juniors and seniors. Some will ask a date to prom through a creative promposal, others will go with a group of friends, and some will go solo! This is a great opportunity to support your exchange student by ensuring they have a prom-suitable outfit that lets them comfortably dance the night away with their friends!


6. Painting a rock, mural, or parking spots 

young man painting a wall mural

It’s common for the outgoing class to come together and paint a rock or mural in a way that symbolizes their class. They may even use school colors in their design! This painting then remains for a full year of memory until the next class graduates. Another tradition is for the incoming senior class to paint their parking spots for the next year. Whether your student is participating in the painting or watching their friends do it, there is never a shortage of activity to enjoy during this time of year. 


7. Field day

teens playing tug of war

End of year field days are another way for all grades in the school to come together for some outdoor fun! This is a chance for the students to celebrate the year coming to an end, show some class pride, and spend the day being active outside. From relay races, to tug of war, to water balloon throws, field day is a fun time for all that can make it. You may even consider signing up as a parent volunteer to experience it all yourself! 


8. Graduation

Norwegian exchange students at graduation

All of the end of year activities lead up to one big event: graduation. Masses of students, teachers, and parents beaming with pride join together to honor the graduating class and applaud them as they receive their diploma. Each school has their own special traditions at graduation and it’s a great way for you and your exchange student to be a part of the community as the school year comes to an end. 


We wish your exchange student all of the fun and good times as they embark on their first American end of year activities. Are there any end of year activities that you recall from your high school days? Share them in the comments below!

Tags: Cultural Exchange, Exchange Student, Youth Exchange, American high school

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