Foreign Exchange Program

Jamie Smith - Colorado to Germany/Finland 2012


I have known about IFYE since my early days of 4-H and had an equally longstanding dream of someday becoming one.  All came true in 2012 when I had the opportunity to travel to Europe (Germany and Finland) as an IFYE representative from Colorado.  

Throughout my journey, I had 11 different host families.  As evidenced by my invitation to family weddings, being entrusted to watch over children, cooking meals, and being asked to do barn chores, I was soon part of the family, another sister or daughter.

From my families, I was able to gain first hand knowledge of a variety of industries.  These included equipment sales and manufacturing, dairy, rural hospitality, and forestry, as this is how my families made their livelihood. 

Outside of these activities, each family took me to see unique aspects of their country.  A combination of historical sights, natural beauty, modern cultural events, and long standing traditions were items that made me see why each family was proud to call their country home. 

I am constantly reminded how IFYE changed my life as the international experience I gained via my participation in IFYE provided an immediate opportunity for me to work abroad.  I am nearly a year into my time living and working in New Zealand and I utilize experiences learned and obtained through IFYE each and every day for my life here. Not to mention, I am in constant contact with a number of new friends and family members from my experience.

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