Student Exchange FAQs

Common questions answered! Got one we haven’t answered here? Let us know!

YFU guarantees your country of choice provided you meet the criteria for placement in that country and we have places available for that country.

You can nominate preferences for areas in which you would like to be placed and preferences for the type of placement (large city, urban or rural area or small town) at interview but we cannot guarantee your preferences. YFU’s priority in placing you is matching you with a family with similar interests.

No, your family does not have to host an exchange student while you are away. Of course we welcome families hosting a student either while you are away, before you go or after you return. If you are a semester or year student and your family hosts a student before you go, or while you are away we will give you a hosting rebate of 1% for each month you host a student.  For example if you host a student for 10 months, that is a 10% rebate off your program fee.

In most countries there is not a language requirement but check the destination pages for specific requirements.

Yes, you can go on exchange with a friend, however you cannot be placed in the same family, as that would reduce your opportunity to meet new people and immerse yourself in the culture and language of the country, which is the main purpose of exchange.

Host families come in different shapes and sizes including two parent families with children, single parent families with children or couples without children. YFU works hard to match you with a family with similar interests to you and your family but the primary requirement for a host family is that they are willing to open their home and hearts to you. All YFU families are interviewed by YFU staff and are subject to a screening process, criminal and background checks, in accordance with the regulatory requirements of the host country

Yes, it is possible to be hosted by a family known to your family provided they meet the requirements of the host family screening process. Close relatives are generally not approved to host. The family must be interviewed by the YFU partner country and approved to host you.

Yes you can go on exchange to some countries if you have finished school, but there some restrictions so you should call us on 1800 654 947 (free call Australia) or 0800 833 624 (free call New Zealand) to discuss your particular needs.

As in Australia and New Zealand, if you need to see a doctor your host family will arrange for you to see a doctor and assist you so that you can make a claim on insurance for any costs involved. Every YFU organisation around the world maintains a 24/7 emergency mobile phone for you and your host family to contact a senior YFU staff member in case of accidents, emergencies or serious illness.

In every country a local representative or support person whose contact details you will be given, will be there to assist you in case of any difficulty or concern you may have either in your host family or at school.

YFU does not permit parents or friends to visit students during their exchange program. Experience has shown us that visits by parents and friends during the student’s exchange unsettles the student and can interrupt schooling.

Your parents or friends may visit towards the end of exchange or at the end of the exchange period. If the visit is just before the end of the exchange period (in the last few weeks) your parents or friends need to seek approval from the YFU National Office at least two months in advance. The visit will only be approved if YFU in the host country and the host family agree.

You will need approximately $250 to $300 AUD or $275 to $375 NZD per month to pay for personal items (toiletries etc), any personal entertainment expenses and phone calls. You may also need to pay for school books and school trips and in some cases school uniforms during your time on exchange.

The answer to this question depends on the year you are in at school, the school system requirements and the length of your exchange period. You should speak to your school as soon as possible about how your exchange may affect your school enrolment. YFU cannot guarantee that you will be able to access all subjects your current school requires while you are on exchange.  Some credits for study overseas may be available in some school systems overseas.

Generally YFU organisations and the laws in particular countries do not permit you to have a part-time job. Some YFU exchange students earn some pocket money mowing lawns, or baby-sitting for family and friends of their host family but such activities should not interfere with your host family’s plans or your school work.

Depending on the countries involved, it is possible but there are visa restrictions and additional costs involved. You should call us to discuss your particular request.

Travel with your host family, with YFU volunteers or with your school is permitted provided the YFU organisation in your host country approves. In some countries your natural parents permission may be required. Independent travel is generally not permitted unless it is to visit a relative or close friend of your natural family. It is then only permitted if your natural parents, your host family and the YFU organisation in your host country agree with the travel arrangements. VISA ISSUE – note that, travelling to another country other than your host country, while on exchange, may have implications for your visa. You will need to ensure that you have a re-entry permit to return to your host country.

Extensions of stay are generally not permitted unless you wish to travel with your natural parents after finishing exchange and your visa allows you to remain longer. If the extension of stay requires YFU to change return airline tickets and extend insurance coverage an additional fee will be charged.

Generally it is not possible to arrange your own airfare as YFU organisations require inbound students from various countries to arrive together on the same flight on a particular date.

Apart from arrival and pre-departure orientations in your host country, many YFU organisations organise trips and social activities for exchange students and for host family members. These activities are organised either on a whole country or regional basis and vary from country to country.

Yes you can. When you apply and have been accepted for exchange we can put you in touch with a returned exchange student who has been on exchange to your country of choice who can give you advice and answer any questions you may have about being an exchange student in that country.

Invite them to come along to an Information Evening. This will help them understand more about YFU and what’s involved in being an exchange student. Our staff are very happy to talk to your parents about the benefits of going on exchange. Ask them to call us on 1800 654 947 (free call Australia) or 0800 833 624 (free call New Zealand).

YFU has a number of specialised school exchange programs to different countries. These include programs in visual arts, music, fashion, dance, drama and sport. Check them out on our website or contact us on our free call number 1800 654 947 (free call Australia) or 0800 833 624 (New Zealand) for more information. You can apply for these programs in the same way as a normal school exchange program.

If you want to go to a country that does not have a specialised exchange program to study particular subjects or participate in particular sports that will depend on whether or not our partner organisation can arrange such a placement. You need to call us our free call number 1800 654 947 (Australia) or 0800 833 624 (New Zealand) to discuss your request.

It depends on the pre-existing health condition. Minor health conditions such as allergies will not generally stop you from going on exchange but can restrict where you are placed. More serious health conditions (eg diabetes) if they are controlled by medication will not stop you from going on exchange but you would need to discuss your condition with us and we would need to make sure our organisation in your country of choice would accept you. Call us on our free call number 1800 654 947 (free call Australia) or 0800 833 624​ (New Zealand) to discuss your circumstances.