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What kinds of student exchange programs are available?

Before you can select an international student exchange program lets first get a good understand of what types of student exchange programs there are available for studying abroad. If you find qualifying for a student exchange program a little to difficult or have a limited financial support there are many options to choose from. Some students choose to follow their academic studies abroad while other people would just like the chance to go abroad for a short term exchange or take a work gap year. There are several types of student exchange programs that range anywhere between 4 weeks to about one year, depending on what you choose.

If you are looking to attend a foreign student exchange program you need to be between the ages of 15 to 18.5 for high school applicants. Adult programs require enrollment in a University or College in order to be eligible to apply. The types of programs you can choose from are the long term exchange program, short term exchange program, the national exchange programs, and diverse college level study programs or work study programs.

The Long term student exchange program is for six months to a year and generally the student exchange provider or administrator will help you obtain a student residence visa. These programs offer a focus on cultural, arts or language studies. The short term exchange program can be anywhere from a few weeks to six months and usually does not require a temporary residence visa. Most short term programs are held over the summer months and may not necessarily involve a school or studies. Short term programs are much easier to qualify for because they are not based on academics. You can enjoy sightseeing, sports and activities with most summer programs.  National exchange programs are for academic studies within the United States and Canada and allow students to study in a different state or Province. This program is mainly for college or university level students who would like to experience living in a different location without having to leave the US or Canada.

College level international study abroad programs have a focus on arts, humanities, culture, language, engineering and international studies. They prepare students to exchange knowledge in diverse environments. Studying at Universities abroad is growing in popularity worldwide. There are many types of programs Universities offer at graduate and post graduate levels. Here are some of the programs available.

Service Learning- School credit is earned from academic community service activities. These programs can include working on civil or cultural projects associated with your studies.

Work study programs or Internship program– allow graduating students the opportunity to do an internship abroad for up one year. Students get to experience what it is like to work in a foreign country.

Independent Study and Research – Graduate or undergraduate conducting research overseas may look for this type of program. Check with your college to see if they offer this type of program.

If you are looking to find a student exchange program here are some of the best international exchange programs available to get you started.


YFU- Youth For Understanding. YFU is one of the world’s largest and most respected international educational exchange organizations. They are networked with over 50 different international programs. You can host a student or apply to study abroad.

CIEE– Offers 40 countries to study abroad. Programs are based on academic studies in religion, arts, culture, and environmental studies. They are a non-profit and non government organization providing studies for college level and high school students.

World Heritage Student Exchange Program– High school international student exchange program.


Short Term Exchange Programs

SPI– Summer Programs in Spain, Costa Rica, Italy, France and China


Lions Club International Youth Camp Exchange Program Live with a family and meet people while attending a fun filled summer youth camp.


Other information

ISEP – Organization overseeing accredited schools and universities wishing to partake in the exchange programs worldwide, administers and organizes housing on behalf of students as well as much of the administrative functions within exchange programs.

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