how do you apply to be an exchange student?

i want to be an exchange student in another country like london orsomething so howdo i do sign up or how does the whole thing work?

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    I think it's great that you are thinking about this. Being an exchange student is an experience unlike any other! I am a 5-time host mom and volunteer with Youth For Understanding (YFU). Please forgive my bias towards YFU - when I have asked other exchange students why they chose YFU, they said they did some research and YFU (basically) gave them more bang for their buck. I'll say more about YFU later.

    The first step to becoming an exchange student is giving it some good thought - which you have apparently done. Hopefully you have spoken with your parents and teachers as well. A universal (as far as I know) requirement for being an exchange student is that you are between the ages of 15 and 18.5 at the time of the exchange. YFU (and possibly other organizations) offers a "gap" or 13th-year program for newly-graduated students in addition to the standard programs.

    I would advise the next step to be researching and choosing an organization with which to travel. My biggest piece of advice is to choose an organization listed with the Council for Standards on International Exchange Travel ( They routinely audit programs to help insure quality. Here is where my bias will show: I highly recommend YFU. As with many other programs, YFU screens the host families for safety and appropriateness for each student (for example, if you believe it is morally wrong to kill animals for the purpose of eating them, they will do their best to not place you with a cattle rancher). Each student will have a local volunteer and a national office whose purpose it is to assist the student and family, whether there are difficulties with language, adaptation, or money. (Speaking of money, 95% of the fees collected by YFU go for direct program costs (airline ticket, etc.) and only 5% is for overhead.) I've listed some sources below. Check them out. The website ( has a wealth of information on it, including stories from previous exchange students and an opportunity to contact their parents.

    Next I would suggest choosing the country to which you wish to travel. You mention England, but seem willing to consider others. Again, the website has a wealth of information. I will have to admit that programs to France, Spain, Ireland, and any part of Great Britain will be more expensive - those programs pay the host families. (In other countries, families do it solely for the love of it - I'm sure families who get paid also love it, but the money must be nice too.)

    You will need to fill out an application. This can be done online, over the phone, or by fax/email. Please be honest on the application - for example, if you are allergic to cats, say so. After this, you will have an in-person interview. I have been the interviewer for this - it's not an interrogation; we just want to make sure we can find a good host family for you.

    You can also apply for scholarships. With YFU, in a typical year 500 students go overseas for year, semester, or summer programs. 300 will have either a partial or full scholarship. Some of the scholarships heavily consider financial need; some heavily consider academics. (As a note, if your family hosts an exchange student before you leave, you will get a "price break".)

    All students with YFU must have a 2.0 (on 4.0 scale) for summer programs and 3.0 for semester and year programs. The primary reason for this is so that struggling students won't lose precious time at school. Also, after the student goes overseas, they will be attending school and must maintain decent grades (I apologize, I do not know the specifics).

    Check out the website, do a little research, and talk to your teachers.

    I wish you luck no matter what you choose!

    Source(s): 1-800-TEENAGE slightly outdated videos that are still good: (1 minute long) (14 min ling)
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