Want to see the world with 4-H?
Through 4-H International Exchanges, we hope to increase the friendship between people in Michigan and other countries and to help our young people develop an international outlook. We offer travel programs for youth ages 12 to 19. In addition, Michigan families can host an exchange student for as short as one month in the summer or as long as ten months for an academic school year. We also need hosts for two weeks in the summer for our international adult chaperones.
For more information about these exciting experiences, see the list of upcoming opportunities below.
4-H Exchange Opportunities
Academic-Year Hosting Programs - (August 2016 to June 2017)
Would you like to host a high school exchange student for the 2016-17 school year? Please contact us to discuss our wonderful program. After approval, you select a compatible student from our profiles. Our exchange students are between the ages of 15 – 18, and will be sophmores, juniors, or seniors in high school. We place students from Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Servia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine through the FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange Program) run by our U.S. Department of State. We also place Japanese, Korean, and Mexican students through the LEX,LABO and BFE organizations. Delegate profiles are available. Go to http://www.states4hexchange.org/year-long/ for more information.
Japanese Summer Inbound Exchange - LABO
Do you have a child 10-17 years old? Would you like to host a Japanese son or daughter for a month this summer? From July 24 to August 20, 2016, we need host families for 12-16 year old Japanese youth. We match your child with a Japanese brother or sister of the same gender, within two years of age, and with similar interests. The delegate can share a room with your children and can attend a summer camp (cost covered) with their host-sibling. Apply now! See a list of available delegates. Go to www.states4hexchange.org to begin your online application.
2017 Outbound Exchange - Michigan youth can travel abroad with 4H. Scholarships for 4H members are available. Visit the Japanese Summer Outbound Exchange resource page for applications and informational fliers on each program.
Summer 2017 Programs: Applications were due December 1, 2017 for summer programs. Scholarship applications are due by May 31, 2017.
Costa Rica: Travel to Costa Rica for sightseeing and a homestay with a Costa Rica 4-S(4H) family. Travel dates are June 23 to July 22. (Youth ages 15-18)
South Korea: Sightsee in Seoul, visit Korea 4-H clubs, and stay with a Korean 4-H family. Travel dates are July 15 to August 10. (Youth ages 12-18)
Norway: Stay with a Norwegian 4-H family, sightsee in Oslo, and attend a one week National 4-H camp. Travel is from June 29 to July 31. (Youth ages 15-18)
Academic Year Outbound Program to Japan: Live with a LEX/Hippo Club Japanese family and attend Japanese school. Dates are August 19, 2016 to July 26, 2017. Inquiry form due by December 4, 2015. Application due by January 20, 2016. (Youth ages 15-18, who have not already graduated from high school).
International Youth Exchange - IFYE
Formerly the International Farm Youth Exchange, this program brings college-age youth, usually from Europe, to live and work at Michigan farms for the summer. Youth stay at each farm for three weeks. Contact us if you are interested in hosting for summer/fall 2016. Scholarships of up to 50 percent are available for Michigan youth traveling abroad. http://ifyeusa.org/
Host Family Questions
Host families are required to provide 3 meals a day and a bed (delegates can share a room with same gender siblings). All delegates provide their own spending money for other expenses. Our FLEX students receive stipends for personal spending money, school fees (athletics, fine arts, yearbook, etc.), and civics education events. Delegates are treated as family members not guests, so they are expected to contribute to family chores like their host brothers and sisters.
Our school-year host families and host siblings are invited to an all-expenses-covered educational weekend retreat. Parents of host families are screened via our MSU Extension Volunteer Selection Process, which is required of all 4-H volunteers and professional staff who spend significant amounts of time with young people aged 18 and under.
Host families come in many forms. MSU Extension exchange programs are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status.
Why take part in an international travel experience?
Young people who participate in 4-H international travel opportunities:
Develop an appreciation of the social, economic, political and cultural contributions of other countries.
Better understand how culture influences values, beliefs and attitudes.
Live with host families and actively participate in family life.
Practice foreign language, verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
Participate in an educational tour to acquire specific subject matter skills and knowledge.
Prepare to share the international experience through presentations in their Michigan community.
What participants have to say:
“We are having a great time hosting. When we take our Japanese student someplace we find we see things we thought we knew through different eyes, his.” -Host mother for Japanese delegate
“What I liked best about this experience was gaining a Polish sister and learning about the culture.” - Polish delegate host sister
“With whatever career I choose I will be honest and respectful to everyone. That is what I learned.” - Delegate to Japan
“We are not All-American anymore, because a wonderful blend of real German, Swedish, Swiss and Taiwanese habits has flavored our communications.” - IFYE host family
“My children who hosted and traveled continue to keep in touch with their host brothers in Japan and Belize. They have continued interest in other countries and cultures.” - Host mother
“At school, the geography classes are more interesting because we can find more countries on a map and know what life is like in other places.” - IFYE Host Sister
For more information on how to get involved as a youth or volunteer, contact your county MSU Extension office or:
D’Ann Rohrer, Extension Educator Michigan Coordinator
Heather Gray, 4-H International Exchange Coordinator
July 14, 2016 | Jan Brinn | 4-H has spread around the world. Let’s explore 4-H in Trinidad and Tobago.
July 5, 2016 | Brian Wibby | 4-H youth leadership and civic engagement programs are having a positive impact in Michigan!
June 21, 2016 | D’Ann Rohrer | How to discuss reverse culture shock with your exchange student.
June 20, 2016 | D’Ann Rohrer | How to prepare for the return to your homeland, birth parents and reverse culture shock.
June 6, 2016 | Makena Schultz | “Where’d you say you were from again?” The International Youth Exchange program creates a cross-cultural experience without any travel. Be a host today!
June 1, 2016 | Nancy Victorson | 4-H Backpack to Adventure: Youth Leaders in a Global World curriculum focuses on developing cultural awareness, one of five youth global leadership competencies.
May 16, 2016 | Nancy Victorson | 4-H Backpack to Adventure: Youth Leaders in a Global World curriculum focuses on developing creativity, one of five youth global leadership competencies.
May 16, 2016 | Nancy Victorson | 4-H Backpack to Adventure: Youth Leadership in a Global World curriculum focuses on developing communication skills, one of five youth global leadership competencies.
April 22, 2016 | D’Ann Rohrer | Michigan is an integral part of 4-H partnerships and the revival of the Belize 4-H program.
April 6, 2016 | Abbey Miller | The Michigan 4-H Foundation has announced grant and award opportunities of up to $1,000 to support local 4-H clubs and county programs. 4-H volunteer leaders, members and staff members may apply for these funds.