About us

EF High School Exchange Year has been promoting global awareness through student exchange for over 40 years. We bring more students to the US than any other high school exchange program.

EF Education First is the world leader in experiential learning. Each year, over a million people travel the world, learn a language, participate on a cultural exchange, or earn a degree with an EF program. Our global presence now extends to:




Offices & schools


Staff & educators

EF started our high school exchange program in the USA in 1979.

This is a program that keeps people connected for decades

We foster global citizenship

We believe that cultural exchange makes the world a better place. We foster global citizenship through cross-cultural understanding, tolerance, open-mindedness, and the creation of global families.

Cultural exchange became a priority in the US after World War II, thanks to the vision of Senator J. William Fulbright, considered the father of exchange programs in the US. EF started our non-profit high school exchange program in the US in 1979, and has been in continuous operation ever since. Four decades later, EF has grown to become one of the world’s largest and most successful exchange organizations. We firmly believe that in today’s interconnected and globally minded world, the need for cultural exchange is greater than ever.

40 years of creating global families.

“We work as one global team to bring our participants’ dreams to life”

Our students, host families, and schools are all equally important to a successful exchange. Our program would simply not exist without any of them. We make sure they know this. We listen. We try our best to empathize with their individual experiences and put ourselves in their shoes. Truth is, many of us have been there ourselves—either as an exchange student or a host family. That is also why we give each and every participant an equal voice, if ever a misunderstanding or conflict arises. We apply the standards of our program fairly. We try our best to make decisions that are right for everyone involved. We work as one global team to bring our participants’ dreams to life.

Be part of a growing movement that promotes positive cross-cultural communication and contributes to a more peaceful world through the creation of global families.

People stop seeing difference as either good or bad—just different.

EF International staff meeting our students.

Our participants

Cultural exchange brings people from all over the world together to find common ground and form lasting relationships.

Exchange students

Exchange students travel to another country to live daily life for up to a year and experience that country’s culture from the inside.

Parents to exchange students

Parents of exchange students support their children in making this important decision, before they leave and while they’re away.

Host families

Host families invite an exchange student into their home to share their own culture and, through daily interaction, gain insight into how others live, learn, and grow.

High schools

Schools enroll an exchange student for an academic year or semester to study alongside local students. This enriches their classrooms with a global perspective.




EF High School Exchange Year strives to ensure that each student has a safe and meaningful exchange. We have established our EF HSEY Comprehensive Child Protection Policy and EF HSEY Code of Conduct, inspired by our partnership with Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children

Want to know more about hosting?

Are you ready to experience a new culture at home? Talk with us and start your hosting journey now.

Tell us about yourself

Speak to an EF exchange advisor

Choose your exchange student

Find out more about hosting

Let’s connect!

Talk to us directly: +1 800 447 4273

Send an email: [email protected]

© EF Education First 2011-2021. EF High School Exchange Year is operated by EF Educational Foundation for Foreign Study, a non-profit corporation designated by the U.S. Department of State to operate a J-1 student exchange program. Note: Featured photo/videos do not include prospective students, and are representative of program participants.