NWSE believes international exchanges maximize intercultural understanding and motivate participants, including host families, to familiarize themselves with different cultures, thereby broadening their horizons and contributing to increased international respect and cooperation. Furthermore, by developing their intercultural understanding and ability to solve problems in a global context, student participants gain invaluable skills as they enter the world job market.
NWSE places international high school students with host families and high schools in the United States for periods of one semester or one academic year. NWSE offers similar programs to US students who want to student abroad. NWSE works through area representatives (called Academic Coordinators), who recruit hosts and schools and monitor programs throughout the students' exchanges.