Citizen Diplomats Support Foreign Policy by Hosting International Exchange Students

It’s an exciting time of year…we are gearing up to welcome our next class of USG-funded international high school exchange students. Wanted to bring to your attention the importance of youth exchange and the rewarding opportunities of hosting these future leaders from around the world. This DipNote blog says it all…

Posted by J. Adam Ereli / August 09, 2011

J. Adam Ereli serves as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Each year the State Department sponsors more than 2,000 highly promising youth from around the world to study in the United States and experience life in America. Thousands of American families welcome these students into their hearts and homes each year. The home-stay component of the program is undoubtedly the most important part of the visit. By volunteering to be a host family, you and your family can benefit from the amazing experience this program offers.

Hosting an international exchange student benefits everyone involved. Your entire family will learn about a new country and culture without leaving home. Host families and exchange students share daily life, meals, and holidays. They discuss current events in their respective communities and explore cross-cultural perceptions and values. This intimacy creates lasting relationships that ultimately shape the United States’ reputation abroad.

We choose these students carefully for their leadership skills, language abilities, academic achievements, and adaptability. The merit-based selection process is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of less than 2 percent of the 200,000 applicants, each student who comes here is talented, motivated, and well-rounded.

The program hinges on the goodwill and generosity of the volunteer host families. They represent America’s diversity and cultural richness to these students and, by extension, to the world. If you are open to new experiences and to sharing your guidance, love, and support with a teenager far from home, please consider volunteering your family to host an international student.

Learn more here.

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Elizabeth Fischer Laurie

Thanks for sharing this. I myself have had many positive study abroad experiences and you are right, a home stay makes all the difference.