It is the year 1994. Five NZ teenagers are on an exchange year in Germany, a nation in the throes of reunification. Exchange is a funny, moving kiwi quest for personal discovery. The exchange students transform from child to adult as they navigate a new culture and discover what it means to be a New Zealander. For some it's a dream year - an escape from the confines of home and a chance to reinvent themselves. For others it's a disaster, a frustrating and isolating experience. This is what the big OE is all about - the joy of new discovery and the painful embarrassment of cross-cultural misunderstanding. We follow the students' ups and downs as they cope with having the comfort of their friends, family and culture whipped out from under them.