IFYE: An international exchange experience

Young adults 19 to 25 can have a host family experience abroad as they conduct career research through the Four-H International Exchange program.

The International Four-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) is an international experience for young adults ages 19 to 25 who want to add to their academic portfolio, for young adults to enrich their careers choices and to expand their view of international economics which has become more essential in this world market. IFYE is a three or six month host family program that is available through the summer and fall months.

Some facts about world trade can drive home to young adults the value of an IFYE type experience.

From agriculture and manufacturing to technology, there is not an area of business that does not have a world trade component. According to an article by The Inquisitr, U.S. exports of soybeans “have increased by 50 percent since 2008. China favors soybeans over feed grain because it’s cheaper to import and can still be used to bulk up cattle and poultry for mass consumption.” This is only one example of products that are exported. For more examples, see “US Exporting Soybeans to China at Record Rates.”

As explained by Trading Economics, Main exports from the United States are: machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, non-auto consumer goods, motor vehicles and parts, aircraft and parts, food, feed and beverages.

Through the International Four-H Exchange, young adults can enhance future employability and develop communication skills. They can enhance language skills and gain personal connections during their stay with host families. They can develop cross-cultural understanding and enhance future employability by living abroad. This experience is not a tourist view of a foreign country.

During their three month or six-month stay, the young adult will stay with a variety of host families for three to four weeks each. Host countries include many countries in western and central Europe and other countries around the world such as Australia, Taiwan and India.

The International Farm youth Exchange program began in 1948 and the first group of young people traveled in 1949 for a six-month experience staying with host families. Since then, the IFYE program has promoted “Peace through Understanding” which is still the motto for IFYE alumni. In 1974 to be more inclusive and aware of the urbanization of the United States, the name was changed to the International Four-H Youth Exchange. The Peace Corps is based on the IFYE model.

Learn more about the International Farming Youth Exchange organization, visit their website.

To learn more about the International Farming Youth Exchange program in Michigan, visit the International Exchange Program page on the Michigan 4-H website.

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