In 1961, the U.S. Government created the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act, designed to build relationships between the people of the United States and the people of other countries and thus, promote understanding between countries.
Each year, thousands of families, schools and communities across the United States welcome international students and visitors into their homes. They share holiday traditions, discuss current events, and visit local sites together. They explore their differences, similarities, values, and beliefs. That person-to-person interaction, exemplifying citizen diplomacy, ensures that Americans and visitors from abroad learn about each other’s culture and way of life and create lasting cross-cultural friendships.
Hosting an international exchange student in your home can enrich you, your family, school and community. Hosting international exchange visitors in your community ensures that community members become connected in an authentic, real way to the world beyond the U.S. borders.
In the high school program, secondary school students come to the United States to study at a public or private high school. Students live with an American host family or at a U.S. boarding school. Exchange students are not permitted to reside with relatives.
Participants are full-time students and must attend at least one academic semester (or its quarter equivalent) but no more than one academic year. If the school year in the foreign country is opposite that of the U.S. school year, students may participate in this program on a calendar year basis.