Community Action With Global Impact: International Student Exchange Program

Enrich your life, family, and community by welcoming an exchange student into your home

Today we want to introduce you to the International Student Exchange (ISE).

As some of you know, I was born and grew up in Germany. Germany is about half the size of Texas and from where I lived I could be in one of 6 different countries within 3 hours.

Europe also has a student exchange program and almost every city in Europe has “partner cities” in other countries. I was lucky enough to participate in the student exchange program and spent time in England and in France. Both times I lived with a host family in the respective country and I was able to experience the British and the French way of life, which were in part very similar to the German way of life, but in parts also very different. I enjoyed every minute of it.

My family hosted several students from France, England, Poland, and Finland throughout the years. Some of the students were members of the families I had stayed with, and some of the students we had never met before. We had a wonderful time with all of them. One of our French exchange students visited us every time he was visiting my hometown, even if he stayed with another host family.

There’s a huge difference between vacationing and exploring a different country on your own and actually living with and seeing the country through the eyes of the local people. Not only do you have the opportunity to learn and experience the culture and the language in a much more personal way, you will also gain new perspectives, broaden your world view, and build long-lasting friendships.

International Student Exchange (ISE)

International Student Exchange (ISE) fulfills its mission of “Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders” by bringing together foreign teens, volunteer host families, and local American high schools. The ISE exchange program allows students to become familiar with the American way of life by experiencing American schools, families, and communities. American families learn about foreign cultures and make lasting friendships with the students hosted in their homes.

ISE provides a twelve-month, ten-month, first-semester, or second-semester program for international high school students. After students have been carefully screened for language, grades, and overall suitability for the program, we provide placement in public, or upon written request, private high schools. Our exchange students then live with volunteer host families while they attend high school.

Volunteer Host Families

The cultural exchange program with ISE is made possible by volunteer host families. You don't need a plane ticket to experience the world or make a positive impact. All it takes is a spare bedroom, an extra plate at mealtime, and the willingness to accept a student from another country into your life.

Consider becoming a host family for an international exchange student and promote friendship and understanding in your home and community! We are looking for caring people to host our amazing students for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year. 

If you are interested in learning more about our program, ISE would love to invite you out for coffee near you so that you could chat a bit more about any expectations, requirements, and/or questions about becoming a host family.

Exchange Students

ISE will make sure to connect you with a kind, and compatible students who will bring a whole new culture to your home. 

All of the students are:

  • 15-18 years of age
  • Speak English
  • Bring Spending Money
  • Fully Insured

How to Become a Host Family

If you would like to become a volunteer host family for an exchange student who wants to experience Austin, Texas, and the United States in general, follow the following steps.

Submit a Host Family Interest Request

Complete a host family interest form to receive more information, connect with your local ISE representative Suhailah Waheed, phone number (919) 717-3939, and meet exchange students who are awaiting a host family in the Austin area.

Complete A Host Family Application

Fill out a host family application so that ISE can get to know a little bit more about you, your family, and your lifestyle. The more detail you provide, the easier it is to match you with your perfect student.

Choose Your Exchange Student

Once your application is accepted, you'll be able to work with a local representative to select the best exchange student for your family. Your representative will assist you in finding a compatible match based on your lifestyle, family dynamics, hobbies, and interests.

Make Your Introductions

Once matched with an exchange student, don't delay in getting to know one another! Starting a dialogue before your student’s arrival will set the stage for a smooth, happy adjustment to life in your family. Email, social media, and international messenger apps are great ways to get started!

Treat Your Student as a Member of Your Family

Our cultural exchange students are not guests; they are family members. Adjusting to life in your family and contributing to the household is a vital part of the exchange program. Students participate in family meals and activities, obey house rules, help with chores, attend your local high school, and put forth an effort to learn about your way a life while sharing their own.

Take Advantage of the ISE Support Network

To ensure our host families have the best hosting experience possible, ISE provides a dedicated local representative who will be there for you every step of the way. ISE also has a 24-hour hotline, online host family community, and full-time

Enjoy Your Time With Your Exchange Student!

Enjoy your time with your "new family member". And if your child is considering spending some time abroad herself/himself, find out more about the ISE Outbound program for American high school students.


If you have any questions, please contact your local ISE representative Suhailah Waheed, phone number (919) 717-3939.
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