EF High School Exchange Year

Cause Area

  • Arts & Culture
  • Children & Youth
  • Education & Literacy
  • International
  • Race & Ethnicity


One Education StreetCambridge, MA 02141 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

EF High School Exchange Year is the leader in high school exchange, committed to promoting global awareness for more than 40 years. Since 1979, EF High School Exchange Year has placed more than 100,000 enthusiastic students with caring host families across America. Today, we bring more international students to the United States than any other high school exchange organization. EF High School Exchange Year is designated by the United States Department of State as an Exchange Program Sponsor, and meets the stringent requirements for full listing by the Council on Standards for International Education Travel (CSIET).


EF High School Exchange Year offers the strongest local and national support network in the industry. Our students, local coordinators, host families and schools have access to our full-time professional staff located at our Cambridge, Massachusetts headquarters.

Our staff is available 365 days a year/24 hours a day, and has overall responsibility for each exchange student while they are living in the United States.

Our trained coordinators and placement staff have extensive experience working with thousands of families and schools each year. Placing the right student with the right family is a top priority.

To learn more about EF High School Exchange Year and how to get involved, express interest on VolunteerMatch, go to efexchangeyear.org, or call 1-800-447-4273.


Would you recommend EF High School Exchange Year?
45 reviews Write a review
by Jule H. from DE (February 9, 2024)
I went on a high school exchange year with EF a year ago, and it was the best year of my life! 
I got placed in Dallas, Texas and was able to join the Color Guard team during this year. I found the best friends I could ever ask for at my Highschool and even my teachers were always there for me if I needed to talk. EF has also always supported me throughout my whole Exchange Year. Especially with changing my host family! I always had the possibility to talk to my IEC or someone at the office. Just as my parents. They were always more than welcome to call the EF office, which helped us a lot. And even after my Exchange Year EF even gives me a chance to inspire new exchange students as an ambassador. I love to tell future exchange students about my exchange, because they can see that a move isn’t something bad, it just makes your exchange year better. Thank you to the whole EF-Family who made this year so special!
by Adam B. (September 1, 2021)
I went on a high school exchange year in 2019 and it was the best thing I choosed to do in my entire life. This was a wholesome experience that helped me to make long life memories!
by Louisa A. (June 19, 2019)
I will never again use EF. This is the worst program to use! Rude coordinator, unbearable rude spoiled brat to host! He lied not saying he wasn't going to school, drank a whole liter of orange juice every morning, boasted about Canada being the best country etc. My kids were shocked by his attitude! Not a good example to put in front of young ones! We were shocked how badly the coordinator treated us bullying us to keep him. He was super lazy, never brought anything to us. Moved after a month and a half into another home with a girl his age since she was smoking dope and ready to lay. Her mother and her came to our house to pick up his stuff, who knows what he told them because they were rude to us too as if we were the culprits. Incredible! And besides, British families are paid while French are not. NEVER AGAIN!!!
by Sisi K. (May 26, 2016)
They require volunteer to have an extra bedroom to host students
by Habib-ur-Rehman k. (March 8, 2013)
by Amy C. (January 23, 2013)
EFFoundation is a wonderful program. I have hosted several students through EF and loved it so much I became an International Exchange Coordinator. I live in Middle TN. South of Nashville. We also offer referral bonuses for anyone who refers a family and for groups, clubs and churches. If your are interested in Hosting feel free to contact me. Amy Christle International Exchange Coordinator EF Foundation for Foreign Study Exchange Student Program http://www.effoundation.org 1-800-44-share Corporate Office 810-429-3939 Direct Contact
by Diane H. (August 14, 2012)
I love EF Foundation!!! I am the international exchange coordinator in Casa Grande Arizona, I am also hosting a 16 year old from Thailand. This is my first year as a coordinator and a host family, I can see it's going to change my life! I was reading some of the bad reviews on here and I am happy to see there are more good than bad. For those with the bad reviews I am so sorry you had those experiences. I hope that you have more competent coordinators in your area now. There are a few things that can lead to a bad experience, the major one is communication, setting down the ground rules right away. These students need to know what the "house rules" are right away. The second, can be a struggle with your IEC if they are not following up as they should call EF Foundation we are here to help you, your family, and the school, the good thing is if you have issues with your IEC there are other resources available to you and a lot of them(chain of command so to speak) Good luck all!
by Julie O. (June 20, 2012)
I believe this organization is just trying to place the students without trying to find a good match. We volunteered to host a student, we are rural and have lots of animals, so requested that the students enjoy animals. We thought they maybe especially should be interested in horses since we have many, and our rural location may be isolating and the large number of animals could be suffocating if not. So they persuaded us into taking in a particular student, that from the profile we were concerned about no mention of animals and lots of wanting to see the city. We actually turned them down several times, but eventually after every student that we did pick and them saying we could not have them for whatever reason, we agreed to their strongly suggested student. Needless to say, the student hated the rural atmosphere and hated being surrounded by animals, leading to the student demanding to be rehomed. This was a very heart wrenching and negative experience for us.
by Lisa S. (May 15, 2012)
From 1/2009-6/2012 I hosted 5 students, 3 from EF, w/whom lifelong connections were formed!(SE Michigan).With each student, we were disappointed w/the service we received from EF, be it issues w/the flight dept or no guidance when I recently had to have a 4th EF student removed from my home. Note that a student Behavioral Agreement is not an agreement at all and there's no guidelines/checklists/post-removal info provided to protect the host family. If the 1/2 year student I'm hosting and I were informed by our local rep or the Cambridge office on these processes, there'd have been less stress when we saw the student who was removed start showing back up in our area w/her boyfriend who was skipping school and allegedly engaging in behavior that is banned by the agency.Overall, the agency's #1 priority is to legally protect itself. Before doing business w/ANY agency, talk w/other families on the level of service and the percentage of students that don't stay w/the original host family.
by Debbie M. (January 29, 2012)
i have been with this oraganization for 4 years. we have had 3 students that have been amazing. this year we have decided to become IEC to we can grown more with the foundation and ourselves.
by Sammi S. (January 5, 2012)
EF Foundation have been around for years and I've heard good and bad. Unfortunately, my experience was all bad. Some kids are great, but alot aren't. They are spoiled, bratty kids who expect the 'American' experience they see on TV - Hollywood or New York, and are very disappointed when they get your average family. Some of their co-ordinators are great, others are aweful. They are supposed to call monthly, but mine didn't (even when I repeatedly asked to be called) and when there was problems, guess who was blamed? Not the student, who lied, but us the volunteer host family. And once their Head Office gets involved, look out - their ONLY concern is the student, regardless of the lies, deceit, cheating and in some cases illegal activities. They don't want EF to get a bad reputation overseas with kids returning home early for bad behavior, so again, the host families ends up being a fault, regardless of the problem. Hosting with EF Foundation left a very bad taste in my mouth!
by Cecilia M. (September 7, 2011)
We have been involved with EF Foundation for Foreign Study high school year exchange program since 1996. We have been host family for 12 foreign exchange students for high school year or semester, and International Exchange Coordinators since 1999 for almost a 100 exchange students. What I love about EF is how they take care of their exchange students AND host families! It's a wonderful opportunity to give a foreign teenager the chance to experience an American high school year, American family life and culture, and give American families the chance to experience another culture and influence the world without leaving home. EF is an educational program too, which is great. It is fun and fulfilling to be a host family and to be a coordinator working with other host families and their students to help them enjoy their year.
by Michael H. (August 12, 2011)
I am hosting my 13th student, in my home, with EF Foundation for Foreign Study. This has been a great organization. I previously had two students from another organization, and that organization was not as professional or well organized as EF. I strongly support EF, their staff, programming and quality of students. These are well screened people.
by Lynette W. (August 12, 2011)
I LOVE EF Foundation because they are so professional and helpful. I have hosted with this organization for three years in a row and they're so good at regularly checking up with our family and the student. They also plan great activities for the students to be able to participate in while they are here which is fun for the students to be able to do things with other exchange students. This is a wonderful organization and I will continue to work with them as long as I am involved with exchange students.
by Veronique M. (August 11, 2011)
The students are wonderful. The support that you receive while the student is here is unsurpassed. You feel like part of a family from start to finish.
by Mike C. (August 11, 2011)
Great Organization. We have hosted 5 students in the past and picked up or 6th student last week. We get to learn so much and teach them about our country as well as create lasting friendships.
by JoAnne O. (August 10, 2011)
We have hosted with EF many times. We had tried other organizations before, but we feel we get the best support with EF. The kids are well screened and my local co-ordinator has always been there for me whenever I had questions or concerns. If I could not get in touch with my local representative I felt completely comfortable calling the office in Boston. I think that hosting has not only enriched my families lives, but has also helped the school and our community become more aware of the world around us. The kids have had a great time, even though they are living in our small rural area where the "big town" has 500 people. Our town only has 100. I don't know why more people do not host, it is a life enriching experience!
by Lynne G. (August 10, 2011)
EF Foundation has been one of the most rewarding and amazing organizations to come into my families lives. I decided to host because I thought it would give someone the opportunity to experience the American culture, English skills and school opportunity. Never did I expect to gain what my family has! A family bond that will last a lifetime, culture education between us both, friends I have gained through this program and the overall love and appreciation. We now have a son in Spain, daughter in Germany and a son in Sweden! How many people can say that? I can go on and on what an amazing organization EF Foundation is but please hear it for yourself and contact EF who will put you in contact with a local coordinator. 1-800-44-SHARE or www.effoundation.org You can make someone’s dream a reality, I did!
by Megan L. (August 10, 2011)
Working with EF Foundation has been a wonderful experience. Everyone from the home Boston office or their field crew have been full of information. While deciding on if I would be a good fit volunteering, they did not pressure me into volunteering, but gave me information I needed to make my own decision. They have been great to work with and I have greatly enjoyed it.
by Jolene B. (August 10, 2011)
EF Foundation provides support and dedication to the high school exchange program. I have hosted 1 student from EF and found the support to be quick and personal towards our family and exchange student. I have also been a coordinator for 2 years. The level of training and support I received as a local coordinator has given me the security of knowing they are there for me, whenever I have questions.
by Laura O. (August 10, 2011)
My world has expanded and so has my family through EF. We have hosted 3 students through EF and have been impressed with the quality of kids, coordinators and local support given to families. I love my Norweigian, Swedish and German sons. It would be easy to say that you are too busy to give your time to an experience like this but the kids become your family and the experience is nothing but enriching. More smiles, laughs and love in your home--everyone should make the time for more of that!
by Janet D. (August 10, 2011)
EF Foundation is one of the most amazing organizations that we have ever been involved with. The support and the organizational skills of everyone that works with EF Foundation is amazing. We have been involved with them for over 7 years now and have enjoyed every minute of our time with the students and also the staff. Great program!
by Tracie S. (August 10, 2011)
My husband and I have been hosting students with EF since 2004. We are currently hosting our 12th and 13th students. EF has been a great support system and their volunteer staff have always been there to help us resolve any issues we may have. We have really enjoyed their quick responses when we have questions and the way they remain involved with the students ensuring that their year is a smooth one. You always hear these horror stories from individuals who host from other organizations but you never hear such negative things about EF. Whenever someone has an issue with another organization and it has left a sour taste in their mouths about hosting exchange students, I always refer them to EF and tell them to give it another try with this organization and they won't be sorry. I will continue hosting with EF for many many years to come!
by Linda R. (August 9, 2011)
This is my 6th year hosting with EF. My 8th student arrives in two days. EF is so incredible to work with. The students are thoroughly screened, are able to speak English but not yet perfectly, and are excited to be able to spend a school year in the USA. The staff in the Boston office and those in the field are so helpful. There is always someone there to help 24/7. A wonderful organization which I highly recommend. All the students I have hosted are now part of my family....friends for life. They are so much fun to be around and we learn so much from each other.
by edie m. (August 9, 2011)
ef is a great organization. the support for students and host families is marvelouse. the connections around the world is the greatest thing with the ongoing ralationships that are formed with students who become life long members of their new families in America.
by Carla M. (August 9, 2011)
Today we picked up our "Norwegian Daughter" at the airport and I can tell already that this is going to be an amazing year for our family and for her. She fits right in with our family dynamics. We are anxious to learn about her culture and she is excited to make her America memories. EF does a great job matching students with families and preparing everyone for the exchange year. If you have ever considered hosting, now is the time to jump in and give it try!
by Joey F. (August 9, 2011)
EF Foundation is an Amazing Organization! The opportunity to host an exchange studnet, (or 2), is truly a life changing experience! I've learned as much from my 4 students as they've learned from me. I can't Wait to host again. The staff at EF Foundation is extremely supportive, the local Coordinator is/was Always available when or If I had a question and the opportunity to see my state through the eyes of a teen from a foreign country is a chance of a lifetime. These students come here with a tremendous desire to live a High School Year in the US. The opportunity to open one's Heart & Home to a younge person from across the world is like no other. Hosting an exhange student does your heart Good! Besides, what a great thing for your kids to learn! Kids from other countries are just that, Kids, just like them!
by Tari B. (August 9, 2011)
Opening our home to a an exchange student is a way to teach mutual peace and understanding between countries and cultures. I believe the world starts with our youth and their impression of those around them and what they learn about others. Limited education breeds limited adults and with EF Foundation, these children are learning what the world is really about; the strength behind family values. Living with an American family opens them up to the new and unknown and encourages them to take a risk to jump right into life, take the world and run with it so they can learn for themselves, firsthand who we really are; pioneers who can turn dreams into reality and teach others to do the same. We give them courage to form their own opinions and create a better sense of self. We learn so much from the children when they are living with us as they are so very proud of their countries and their families that they share experiences, stories, recipes and themselves. The greatest gift is giving.
by Rebecca T. (August 9, 2011)
EF is a wonderful organization that gives host families, schools and their communities the opportunity to experience a new culture without ever leaving their communities. Last year we hosted two students, one from Switzerland and one from Germany. It was a powerful learning experience for our family. We have traveled worldwide, but the experience of having those students for a school year provided so much more than vacations could ever provide. Hosting a foreign exchange student is a wonderful experience for any family. EF is unmatched in the training and support that they provide to host families before and during the exchange. Students are matched to host families based on personal interests, hobbies, preferred countries and several other factors so that you start out the year with common interests. The students I've met from EF have been excited, motivated and ready to make the most of their school year in the United States. Hosting is a wonderful way to share our America!
by Stacey P. (August 9, 2011)
We first hosted an EF student (a German girl) in 2007 when our son was just 9 years old. We were nervous and excited about becoming host parents to a teenager from another country. It was wonderful! By the time she went back home we had a year full of incredible experiences, inside jokes and a lasting relationship. We still communicate at least once a week and I know we will be lifelong friends. We have even visited her and her family in Germany. This year we are hosting again- this time a boy from Spain. We can't wait to experience all that this year has in store for us. I would encourage anyone thinking of hosting with EF to go for it!
by Sondra S. (August 9, 2011)
I encourage everyone to consider hosting a foreign exchange student through this program. The students are highly screened before they are accepted into the program. EFF meets the most stringent requirements of the State Department in all areas and they place more students from abroad in the US than any other organization. Their support structure (24/7) for the host family and for the student is extremely strong and deep. The experience of hosting a student is almost indescribable -- the opportunity to share our American culture and then have it indirectly and broadly shared when the student returns home is a wonderful opportunity and privilege. In addition, the enrichment and appreciation of another culture brought into one's home is lasting and valuable to everyone involved. Many host families continue a life-long relationship with their student and because of their exceptional experience, often repeatedly volunteer to host additional students in subsequent years.
by Ingrid G. (August 9, 2011)
We have had Several Student over the past few Years but the best came from EF,I recommend to everybody to choose a Student from EF, a great Organization Inrid G
by Karen C. (August 9, 2011)
Great organization to work with. Students are well screened and there is a lot of local support. It's a wonderful opportunity to break down cultural barriers and promote world understanding and peace.
by Dan & Rhonda S. (August 9, 2011)
We have hosted 11 girls from all over the world. These young ladies and their families have become our family. In addition, all the girls have become "sisters". They talk, get together in different parts of the world. We've had family vacations with each other (three different exchange daughers and their families joined us on a cruise) What a wonderful way to open the world!!
by Bobbi B. (August 9, 2011)
I feel very supported and have had great kids!!! Everything that the agency has told me they would do for me - they have. Every time I needed to talk to someone I could get a hold of someone. I feel that each member of the staff truely wants what is best for the studetns and host families.
by Stephanie J. from Saginaw, MI (August 9, 2011)
I'm a librarian and researched all the exchange student organizations before deciding on EF. (Not all have offices or place students in our area.) We got a lot of good information before hosting. I wish I'd re-read it after the first 2 weeks - would have made things easier! I began to suspect the kid that was with us wasn't truthful, and EF and its local coordinator worked with me to try deal with the issues. Although we ended up sending the young man home - a first for our coordinator, who's had over 20 kids, and hosts them herself - I felt very good about how it was handled. And we did enjoy his visit for quite a while. EF was so good at handling our Bad Spaniard - developing a behavioral contract with us, communicating with us and his parents, etc. - that we're trying again in 2 weeks with another kid!
by nina p. (August 9, 2011)
I have been a coordinator for 7 years, having placed 150 students & hosted 12 of my own. My daughter has also hosted 13 students. The kids are very well screened & we have a wonderful support system. When rarely there are problems they are quickly addressed. What better way to learn about other countries & creating families throughout the world. My "kids" come "home" to vist as often as they can & when I want to travel I have a open invitation at more than 10 countries. You may hear negative things about hosting exchange students however that is the minority...TRY IT YOU WILL LIKE IT!!!
by Donna R. (August 9, 2011)
EF Foundation provides options for learning about other countries and their cultures in ways that the internet, books or videos cannot provide--up close and personal. Your family can host a student and bring a truly global experience into your home. It was the opportunity of a lifetime for my family and has truly changed our lives!
by Joyce C. (August 9, 2011)
I have hosted exchange students through this organzation 10 times. Each student has been very special. EF screens the students very well. I am in contact with all of them still. It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I will continue to host as long as I can.
by Nina G. (April 12, 2010)
I will recommend this Organization, because all my life I have been volunteered as a girl Scout and this gave me a good opportunity throughout my all life to be a better person and share the other people culture is so amazing it makes you discover lot of things, also gain lot of experience.
by Brenda J. from Woods Cross, UT (August 9, 2011)
I have worked with EF for over 10 years both as a coordinator and as a host family -- we are currently hosting our 7th student. EF is a strong organization that cares about their students, field staff and host families. My family has benefited so much from the culture that is shared with us and we have made friends all over the world! Come and join us -- you will love it!
by Amber D. (March 29, 2010)
I am in my third year as a volunteer coordinator with EF and it is incredibly rewarding. The students are top notch, and the organization treats its coordinators incredibly well. What a great way to become familiar with other cultures and learn even more about your own.
by Ginna K. from Johnson City, TN (March 29, 2010)
I'm hosting my 24th student with EF, and the students are wonderful!! This organization I would highly recommend, not only for the quality of staff, but also their volunteers out in the field and their students. I'll keep on hosting without a doubt!!
by Jeanne H. from Christoval, TX (February 8, 2010)
My family hosted exchange students with another program where we had 3 students. Basically we were given little information or support so we floundered and were about to give up when we learned about EF. From the very beginning it was wonderful. The support and mentoring we got were amazing and made a huge difference for us. My late husband and I became area representatives in Fort Worth, Texas and later in Orlando, Florida. Today we still keep in contact with some of our students (we've sadly lost contact with a couple of them due to frequent moves and two have died). I would consider being an area representative again. The only drawback would be that this time I am not in a position to take in any student who's placement doesn't work out.

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