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International Student Exchange

25 May 2009 One Comment
On The Way to School..

On The Way to School..

International student exchange offers a fabulous way for our world to share its beautiful cultural differences.   Many countries require students to serve one or two years in the military after school.  Imagine what a beautiful world we could have if instead all countries required its students to travel one or two summers to study in another culture!

There are many different opportunities for students to visit and study in other countries.  Here is some information for American students and students from other countries who are interested in expanding their world horizons.

American High School Students can learn about and visit other countries with intercultural programs of organizations such as American Field Service.  American Field Service (AFS)  is one of the world’s largest community-based volunteer organizations.  It is dedicated to building a more just and peaceful world through international student exchange.  Each year, over 13,000 students, young adults and teachers participate in programs in over 50 countries.    To see the countries where AFS offers opportunities for student exchange check out the map below ! AFS Map of Program Locations

American college students can learn about and participate in the culture of other countries through programs such as Crossroads Africa.  The motto of Crossroads Africa is “Make a Difference for Others,  See the difference in Yourself.”  And it is true.  Small groups of American college students join small groups on African students to engage in a project that will help a village, such as building a water cistern in Togo so the people can have running water,  constructing a library in Gambia, or promoting the participation of women in economic opportunity in Ghana.  Established in 1958, Crossroads Africa was a precursor to the Peace Corps.  Many American students who spend a summer in Africa with Corssroads Africa go on to join the Peace Corps.   All leave the program with expanded understanding of the world and new friends from other cultures.

International students can study in the USA, with a nonimmigrant visa.   The US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement approves schools for the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).   The department offers a searchable map for schools that are approved.   Search American Schools Approved for International Student Exchange Here!

After searching for a school that offer the type of study you are seeking in the state you wish to study in, look for the web site of that school for more information.

With the exception of students from Mexico or Canada, who live across the border within 75 miles of the border and commute, nonimmigrant students must attend school full time.

To be eligible for the nonimmigrant visa to study (visa types F, M or J), students musts prove that they intend temporary stay in the USA to pursue study, and that they intend to return to their home country when studies are complete.   The following chart from the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement gives an overview of the visa types that are provided to international nonimmigrant students for study in the USA.

Type of School

Apply To


Secondary School (High School)

Limited to one semester or one academic year

Exchange Visitor Program (DOS-designated sponsor)http://educationusa.state.gov/



Time limits vary with program

Exchange Visitor Program (DOS-designated sponsor) http://www.afs.org/afs or/home


Public High School

Limited to 12 months

SEVP-certified school


K-12 Private School

SEVP-certified school


Academic (post secondary)

To include colleges, universities, community colleges, seminaries, fine arts conservatories, etc.

SEVP-certified school


English Language School

SEVP-certified school


Vocational or Technical School

SEVP-certified school


The first step in the process for students from other countries who would like to study in the USA is to apply to and be accepted by, an SEVP-certified school.  International students must be able to prove that they are able to pay their own living expenses and tuition while in the United States.  Students are allowed to work on campus, but are not allowed to work off campus unless there is an emergency circumstance, and they have already been enrolled for at least a year.  It is advisable for students to discuss work opportunities and sources of funding with the college as soon as they are accepted, as schools may or may not have work opportunities or other sources of funding available.

International and American Students:  Expand your understanding of the world, access global economic opportunity, and MAKE A DIFFERENCE, through participation in a cultural student exchange program!

Questions on international study?  Ask in the comment section below!

One Comment »

  • waviews said:

    mucho dinero es muy complicado