High School Exchange Program Overview
In 1948, the U.S. Congress passed the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act. The purpose of this program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other nations. After this legislation, several exchange program programs were established and the Secondary Student Exchange Program was one of them.
High school exchange students, are allowed to enter America with a J-1 visa. The high school exchange program is either one academic semester or one academic year. If a participant applies for one academic semester in the first place, he/she could apply to extend it to one academic year, but the program should last no more than one year.
The high school exchange program offers the participants an opportunity to experience American culture within an American family, school and community. Participants live with a volunteer host family and attend an accredited high school.
• Participants may take part in school activities, including after school sports programs. The school district and the state office in charge of deciding athletic eligibility must approve the exchange student's participation.
• Participants may not work part-time or full-time jobs. However, they may accept occasional work, like yard work or baby-sitting.
• Participants are not allowed to live with relatives.
• Participants are full-time students and must attend at least one academic semester (or its quarter equivalent) but no more than one academic year. If the school year in the foreign country is opposite that of the U.S. school year, students may participate in this program on a calendar year basis.
To become a high school exchange program participant, the applicant must go through a sponsoring organization designated by the U.S. Department of State. Forte has been such a sponsoring organization since 2000.