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International Exchange Student Program

Vivian Said:

I would like to host a foreign exchange student visiting the US -- which programs are most reputable?

We Answered:

I can answer your question as it relates to high school students. First, it is entirely volunteer -- you do NOT get paid to host. You provide room and board to the students.

To find a reputable program, make sure it is CSIET listed ( However, that is rather a daunting list! So, check with your local high school and see what programs they recommend. Some schools only allow certain programs (ours is like that). Programs are only as good as their local representatives. Generally speaking, AFS, Aspect, Rotary and YFU are accepted and reliable most everyplace. ASSE is good in most places. AYUSA/INTRAX has difficulties and I don't recommend that one.

Once you get a "short list" of programs -- contact them.
THey will send someone out to your house for an interview process. Remember, this process goes both ways. They are interviewing you to see if you are suitable, but you are interviewing them to see if you wish to host with them. YOU are in the driver's seat here! Pick the one you feel the most comfortable with.

Here are a few "red flags" to look for in the interview process.

1. Are they promising you a student at the interview? This is a big no-no, unless the interviewer is a personal friend who has known you long enough and well enough to know that you will pass the background checks. Even then, they should say that a placement is CONTINGENT upon a check. Sometimes when friends or acquaintances are the organization representatives, they will have an idea of one or two students they feel would fit your family, school and town. That's ok -- as long as they don't GUARANTEE the placement.

2. Do they live further than 125 miles? If so, that's a federal law no-no. Your rep MUST live closer to you than 125 miles. Frankly, I recommend the same town ... or one very close by.

3. Ask the rep how many kids they are in charge of. If they say more than 3-4, you may have problems getting the attention you will need as a host family -- especially a first time host family. Also ask them if they get paid. Some organizations are volunteer and some are paid. Both can be fine, but they should be up front if they are getting paid "by the head" to place a student!

4. Have they looked at your home and where the student will sleep? This isn't a "white glove" examination (I certainly don't count out a host family for dust bunnies) but a good rep will make sure of a happy and healthy environment for the student.

5. Has the rep explained your personal and financial obligations to the student? Basically, that's room and board, a willingness to provide some transportation, help with homework, and support the student emotionally.

On to more of your question. Most international students will pay $8,000-$10,000 USD for their exchange. This covers flights, orientations, insurance, administration, support, etc. (Rotary is cheaper, and set up differently.) There is a certain amount of "pay to play" -- however many students are "scholarship students" where some of their trip is paid for. All students must meet minimum standards set by the organization -- and our federal government requires a minimal English ability. In reality, most student that come are gymnasium (highest level of high school for Europeans) or the same idea for other countries.

Hope this is helpful!

Good luck and happy hosting!

Daryl Said:

I want to go overseas for student exchange but my parents keep saying no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! please help.?

We Answered:

Your parents more than likely have their reasons for saying no,and might not feel comfortable telling you those reasons.
Have you been approved to be able to go on any exchange programmes.
My daughter who's 16 just got approved to go on an exchange programme.She had to be interviewed,show her report cards from the last 3 years,and letters from her teachers stating what she was like as a student.
I am still unsure whether to allow her to go or not.
Alot of it has to do with the cost,as the countries that she has nominated to go to are very expensive.In reality I would need around $13,000 Australian dollars,and I have my other reasons which I don't feel to comfortable telling her about at this precise moment..
I suggest that if this is what you really want to do,talk to your parents again,see if you can get approved to go on an exchange programme,if you do get approved,get a job after school and save as much as you can,that way your parents will see that you are serious about wanting to go on an exchange programme.

Beatrice Said:

Can I work as an international graduate student (American in Ireland)?

We Answered:

You can work.

A student visa allows you to take up less than 20 hours of employment a week. Your course must be a fulltime course (if its part time you're not allowed work).

You can work anywhere not just in the college.

Basically any part time job (shop, bar work etc.)

Although you cant rely on that money to be enough to live off., 20 hours at minimum wage is €173 which is not alot given that rents are between €100-150 a week.

Phyllis Said:

What is the best University for exchange/being an international student?

We Answered:

It's totally preference. Most schools in American and the Commonwealth love international students. I am American, but I did my first postgrad degree at Sydney Uni, and it was awesome. I highly recommend going abroad for a degree.

When I first visited Australia, I though it was a mini-America. Damn, was I wrong. It took about a month, and then I realized how different everything was. Plus, the international community at Sydney Uni is really enlightening, which is important in America right now after our Government has pissed away the foreign policy and respect that came therewith the states used to have.

In terms of where you should apply... apply EVERYWHERE. You will be living out of Oz for at least 4 years... go somewhere that you connect with. If you like the beach, apply to the University of Hawaii, or one of the California schools. If you like tradition, apply to Oxford, Princeton, Yale, and Harvard (if you can get in). If you want a complete mindmeld, apply to the University of Illinois or the University of Wisconsin, both are great schools, especially for science. The climate will be way different that Oz. I don't know how much traveling you've done, but that will give you lots of perspective from all the cold if nothing else. :D

So I guess my advice is (1) DO IT! and (2) considering the degree on your wall is part of your choice, but international programs are more than just the school you go to... location, location, location!

Good luck, and have fun!!

Katherine Said:

Is it possible for international student to study at public high school without any exchange programms? ?

We Answered:

Actually there are a few ways around the exchange student program -- but not very many.

If you have a friend or relative who is willing to host you, then you can live with them. You would have to get an F-1 visa, harder than the J-1 visa traditional exchange students use. For the F-1, you have to show proof of financial independence, usually $25,000. Then you have to hope that the high school accepts F1 students -- many do not because of the paperwork involved. If you DO attend a school that accepts F1 students, be aware that they are legally allowed to charge you tuition! Exchange students on a J1 visa are NOT charged tuition. High schools around large universities with large international student populations are more likely to accept F1 students.

Yes, you can come here illegally and many schools will not ask if you are legal or not. However, finding some place to live if you are under 18 is very difficult -- and if you found one, you probably wouldn't want to live there. To rent, you have to provide identification. Landlords, while not being able to discriminate because of race, national origin, sex, etc., MAY choose NOT to rent to someone under 18 because they are not an adult and cannot legally sign a lease or other contract.

There are other difficulties to coming as an illegal as well -- which includes getting caught! If you are caught and deported, then the likelihood of you being able to return to the US is quite slim.

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