Foreign Exchange Program

Frequently Asked Questions

IFYE Exchange Program FAQs


What is IFYE?
IFYE is a two-way international, rural-based, cultural exchange program that began in 1948 after WW II as a way to educate people and promote world peace through understanding. Young adults, 19-30 years of age, can participate in the outbound program and will live with host families in another country. The inbound program offers the opportunity for families in the United States to host a foreign participant in their home. Formerly known as the International Farm Youth ExchangeTM and later the International Four-H Youth Exchange, IFYE currently has no ties to 4-H. The strength of IFYE remains a two-way cultural exchange program where participants travel and live with host families and learn about that country through the eyes of their hosts. More IFYE historical information can be found at: A Short History of The IFYE Association of the USA, Inc.

Why should one be an IFYE?
IIFYE is a fun, educational, life-changing experience. It provides you an opportunity to promote “Peace through Understanding” as you live the culture. IFYE representative alumni have found the IFYE experience has enhanced their employability, international awareness, and language skills. IFYE representatives have also found the IFYE experience has improved or enhanced their personal growth in many areas including leadership, communication, adaptability, and flexibility.

When does the exchange take place? 
IFYE is a two-, three- or six-month exchange program. IFYE Representatives attend a national orientation in mid-June. Participants in the summer two- and three-month programs, depart from the U.S. immediately following orientation and return in mid-August or mid-September. A fall 3-month program begins in mid-September and ends in December. Participants in the six-month program depart the U.S. in mid-June immediately following the national orientation; enjoy approximately ten days of free time in mid-September; and return home in December. All IFYE Representatives attend a debriefing immediately upon their return, regardless of the program.

Where do IFYE Representatives travel?
We partner with more than fifteen countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. Visit IFYE Destinations to learn more about this year’s host countries. Representatives in a two- or three-month program will live in one host country. Six-month program participants may experience two host countries (one in the summer and one in the fall).

Where will IFYE Representatives live? 
IFYE is a rural based, cultural immersion program, not a vacation. IFYE Representatives gain a broad perspective of life in their host country by being an active member of their host family and moving to a new family every three to four weeks.

What will IFYE Representatives do while there? 
Representatives live with several host families primarily in rural settings and participate in daily family activities, which may include work as it occurs on a farm, ranch, or business. IFYEs also have the opportunity to interact with the rural youth organizations in their host country. Representatives share information about his/her home state and the U.S. with host families and any other groups or organizations in the host country. They also share their experiences while abroad through social media posts, blogs, and articles.

What does it cost? 
A non-refundable application fee of $250 is due at the time the application package is submitted. This fee is applied to the program participation fee if the applicant is selected and further participates.

Program participation fees are only a small part of the total cost of our premier exchange program. The program fee is $5,500 for the two-month program; $5,000 for the three-month program and $6,600 for the six-month program. This fee includes domestic and international airfare, orientation, debriefing, IFYE apparel, and a life changing experience. Not included are personal spending money, supplemental health insurance, travel insurance (if desired), as well as passport and visa fees. Host families provide room and board.

What is the application process?
The national application deadline is December 31st* for the following program year; however, some states may have an earlier deadline. Application forms become available around October 1st on this website. A resume, head shot, and references are also required. The application process is very extensive and includes one or more interviews.

*Qualified applicants may be considered beyond the application deadline if openings are still available. For more information, contact Melissa Haberstroh, National Program Director, IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. at

What is the orientation process? 
A series of Remote Orientation Sessions (video conference calls) are held every two weeks beginning in mid-March. An in-person, multiple-day Orientation Program is held in mid-June immediately before departure to host countries. Individuals selected as IFYE Representatives are required to attend all state and national orientation and debriefing sessions.

What is expected of the IFYE Representative upon return? 
IFYE Representatives agree to promote IFYE as part of their commitment by sharing their experiences with youth and other groups upon their return to the U.S. through 25 presentations, newsletters, social media posts, etc. according to national requirements and his/her state policy. Returning participants are urged to join the IFYE Association of the USA, Inc, and their state alumni association (if available) where they can support the program, help make exchanges possible for others, and build lifelong friendships.

Is personal travel allowed during the IFYE experience? 
IFYE Representatives on the six-month program enjoy approximately 10 days free time for personal travel halfway through their time abroad. The cost for travel, housing and meals related to free time is not included in the program cost. Any excursions, tours, and experiences that participants on the two- and three-month programs enjoy are courtesy of the host country and/or their host families and is not personal in nature.

Is college credit available?
Representatives are encouraged to explore the possibility of receiving credit through their college or university in the United States. The IFYE association will assist as needed.

Revised/Updated October 19, 2023