YFU is one of the world's oldest, largest, and most respected international educational exchange programs. Since 1951, YFU organizations around the world have exchanged close to 250,000 students. In one year alone, approximately 4,000 students will participate in YFU programs worldwide. Through the exchange experience, YFU students gain skills and perspectives necessary to meet the challenges of and benefit from the opportunities the fast-changing global community has to offer.
YFU organizations in over 50 countries around the world offer students between the ages of 15 and 19 an opportunity to immerse themselves in another culture - as well as gain perspective on their own - through a unique home stay with a volunteer host family and school. To see and learn about other cultures through a YFU educational exchange, visit the YFU website in your home country. Spending an academic year, semester or short term as a YFU exchange student is a great opportunity to learn and share about the world, peoples’ day-to-day lives, communities and culture firsthand.
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Deciding why to study abroad may differ for each person, but for the past 60 years, participants point to these as some of the greatest benefits they have gained from their YFU experience:
Understanding people from different backgrounds and cultures by sharing their daily lives; Making lifelong friendships; Becoming fluent in another language; Gaining a new perspective on themselves through the “lens” of a different culture; Acquiring skills to aid in the pursuit of global career opportunities.
YFU has 60 years of experience administering educational exchanges, and has acquired a deep understanding of cultural exchange and how best to facilitate cultural learning for all its participants.
As the saying goes: “It’s not over – it’s just beginning!” Your YFU experience will continue to influence you for a lifetime, forever affecting how you think of yourself and your view of the ever-changing global community.
Each YFU national office will provide you with details of their requirements to be selected for the program. In general, candidates need to be between the ages of 15-19, demonstrate positive motivation, be in good academic standing, and be in general good health. Students with disabilities arewelcome to apply. In some cases, there may be language or specific academic requirements.
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Study abroad is an investment in your education and your future. Getting Started 1. Create your statement of need Where do you plan to go and when? What interests you about this exchange and what do you hope to gain from it? What are the costs of the program and how much are you trying to raise? How close are you to completing your fundraising goal? How will you share your experience with the donors? Will you write letters and send pictures? Articles for their organization's newsletter? Will you give a presentation to the group? 2. Create a list of “targets” Who are you going to ask, where can you offer your services, what forums, places, groups can you approach? Be optimistic and realistic. Recruit a group of dedicated friends & supporters to help you reach out further. Gifts from family and friends - rather than asking for presents for holidays, ask family and friends for support of your exchange program expenses Corporate & Community Support - reach out to local businesses, local government, community, religious organizations, and education-related associations & foundations. Crowdfunding - many sites are now dedicated to fundraising such as GoFundMe.com and IndieGoGo.com 3. Create an approach strategy What you are going to ask for, how are you going to do this, what do you need to do this? Reach out to a wide audience with a clear and realistic message. 4. Make a timeline When are you going to do this? How will this coincide with your timeline and preparation for departure? Don't do things last minute; plan ahead for your activities and outreach. 5. Document and follow-up on your activities Who did you approach and what did they say, did you receive a promise of contribution, how will you collect the money, do you have to do anything in return? There are many other opportunities for you to raise money to help support the cost of the program and pocket money needed while on exchange. Scholarships - check with your local YFU organization about the scholarships available, as well as application deadlines and selection criteria Part-time job - in some countries it is common to work part-time in order to save money. Many students have part time jobs that relate to a hobby, or at a local store. Fundraising events - throw a party with your future host-country as its theme, and invite people to support your exchange experience