Should You Consider a Foreign Exchange Student Program?

Experiencing another country first hand can be a great way to learn all about another culture as well as to improve your grasp of a foreign language. For years now various foreign exchange student program offerings have been helping students from all over the world to do just that while offering host families the chance to learn just as much from their guests as the students do from them.

How does a Foreign Exchange Student Program Work?

There are a number of different organizations that match students with host families in various different countries but the way they all basically work is very similar. Many of those entering a foreign country are still in high school in their homeland and by becoming a foreign exchange student they will get to experience how other kids are educated by attending the school where their host family lives.

The length of time a foreign exchange student remains with their host family in another country can vary from as little as a month to as long as a year.

The host family for an international exchange student program rarely ever receives payment for allowing a student to stay in their home, it is usually a purely voluntary choice. Some families participate in these programs for years, playing host to a dozen of different youngsters over the years.

Where to Begin Looking for Foreign Exchange Student Program Offerings

There are a number of different organizations that have been arranging for US students to head abroad as foreign exchange students for years. Here are a few of them that are worth checking out if you or your child are interested in the idea of participating in a foreign student exchange program or if you are intrigued by the idea of becoming a host family. Another plus is that you can (if you wish) continue your studies online from wherever in the world you are.

ASSE – This organization has been around since 1938 when it was formed to foster better relations between Swedish and German students. After years of arranging exchanges all over Europe ASSE became active in the US in the 1970s. Millions of students from all over the world have participated in ASSE foreign exchange student programs and more continue to do so every year. To learn more visit their website at

Ayusa – Ayusa are a newer player in the foreign exchange student world – they were founded in 1980 – but they have quickly become one of the leading organizers for trips for US students to various points across the globe. They have foreign exchange student programs set up in Spain, France, Japan, China, Italy and Costa Rica and they are extending their reach all the time. You can get more information at their website at

American Field Service – American Field Service offers year-long foreign exchange student programs to high school kids from across the United States. While students are abroad they attend secondary or high schools in the area in which they are living, really getting a chance to immerse themselves in another culture. You can find out more by visiting