Basic Program Questions

+ What are the requirements to study abroad with YFU?

  • Age: Usually, students need to be between 15 and 18 while on program. However, certain countries will accept overage or underage students on a case by case basis, and we offer some special programs for 18-26 year old’s.
  • Citizenship: Students must be a United States citizen or hold a Green Card or have permanent residency of the United States with the exception of students applying for the Mazda Canada Scholarship.
  • Language: Most of our Study Abroad programs do not have a language requirement. To find out about a specific program or scholarship, check out the country page or the scholarship page. No summer programs have a language requirement.
  • GPA: For year or semester programs, we require a 3.0 GPA or better (Note: The CBYX requirement is a 2.5). For summer programs, the GPA requirement is 2.0 or better.
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Status: Please be advised that being fully immunized against COVID-19 is preferred by many of our hosting partners and it may be required for some destinations. If you are unable or unwilling to be vaccinated, please reach out to our Study Abroad team to discuss your concerns before applying at info@yfu.org
  • Motivation: Students who are open-minded, interested in other cultures and becoming a global citizen, and willing to take on new challenges.
  • Mental and Emotional Readiness: Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful. Sending a student with pre-existing mental health conditions on an exchange program could hinder therapeutic progress. At YFU, our #1 priority is the safety of our students. Therefore, students seeing a mental health professional or taking medication must demonstrate 2 years of stability, meaning no significant changes to counseling or medication doses within 2 years of applying for the program. These include, but are not limited to depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Debilitating Anxiety, and eating disorders.

    If the student’s mental health issue has been managed for over 2 years, we will complete a counseling review as part of the application process and can accept students on a case-by-case basis. Please know that YFU USA and the YFU Host country must both feel they can properly support the student on program before accepting them.

+ Do you have financial aid?

  • We offer 200 merit-based scholarships. Your family’s ability to pay program tuition will not affect your chances of winning a scholarship. To learn more about these, you may visit our scholarship page.
  • In addition to our merit-based scholarship awards, limited needs-based financial aid is also available to enrolled YFU students.
  • Many of our students are able to fundraise a portion (or sometimes all!) of their program tuition. Check out our fundraising page.

+ Do I need a visa? How do I get it?

  • If you are going for a semester or year-long program, you will need to get a visa or residence permit. You can find information about this process on consulate and embassy websites for your host country.
  • If you are accepted into the program, you will receive more information on how to obtain your visa.

+ Will I have host siblings? What will my host family be like?

  • Host families come in all different shapes and sizes. Most host families are made up of a mother, father, and children, but that can vary by country. It is not guaranteed that your host siblings will be your age.

+ I don’t meet the age requirements. Can I still study abroad?

+ If I want to stay longer, can I extend my stay?

  • Extending your stay in country depends on many different factors. Some student visas will not allow you to extend your stay when you are not in school in your host country.
  • Please contact an admissions counselor if you have specific questions about extending your trip.

+ Can I travel to other places while on program?

  • Yes! You will be able to travel with your host family, if you have approval from your natural parents as well as your host YFU program.
  • YFU students are not typically permitted to travel overnight without a host parent.

+ When will I be notified of my acceptance?

  • Acceptances are made on a rolling basis, so early submission is highly encouraged. Students who apply to certain programs earlier will be notified earlier. Fall/Summer program applicants will be notified of their status no later than May. Winter/Spring program applicants will be notified no later than November.

+ How do I get credit for semester or year programs?

  • Only your high school can agree to accept your international credits upon your return home. YFU does not guarantee credit transfers from your international school to your local high school for semester or year programs. All that being said, students are often able to stay on track when they’re proactive with their American high school and guidance counselors prior to program departure. To help you along, you can find additional information on our School Credit Guideline document.


+ Program Tuition

  • Tuition varies depending on what program and country you choose. Please visit our countries page to select a country and determine tuition. Program tuition covers your travel expenses, orientations, host family placement, meals, and support from local and global YFU networks.

  • The YFU Legacy Grant is available to alumni, their children, and children of qualified host families and volunteers (must have hosted or volunteered for at least 6 months prior to American student departure). Eligible applicants will receive a $1,000 discount on their program tuition. Applying for the YFU Legacy Grant does not disqualify students from winning another scholarship, but cannot be combined. Eligible students should apply via the YFU Scholarships page. Please note that the YFU Legacy Grant is not a competitive grant. All students who qualify using the criteria listed above and have been accepted on a YFU program will be awarded the grant(s).

+ Payment Deadlines

  • Upon acceptance to the program, our team will create a contract which will include the due date of tuition. Tuition will be due before you can begin the visa process.
  • A non-refundable $75 application fee is required to process your application and is not considered part of the program tuition. You should pay this immediately after submitting your application. You can pay the fee via credit card by calling us at 1.800.TEENAGE ext. 1
  • Please Note: If a student applies for multiple scholarships, only one $75 application fee is required. Some scholarships have a reduced or waived application fee, so please see the scholarships page for more detail.
  • A non-refundable $2,000 enrollment deposit is required in order for a student to accept his or her position and enroll in the program (unless the student is a full scholarship recipient). This is considered down payment, and the first installment of the tuition or scholarship contribution. It is due two weeks after a student is notified of admission via email. Students who are awarded a full scholarship will not be required to pay the deposit.

+ Refund Policy

  • Application fees and enrollment deposits are non-refundable. Tuition refunds are given in accordance with the following schedule. If YFU USA receives written notification of cancellation:
  • Prior to March 15 (for summer departure programs) or October 1 (for winter departure programs), YFU will retain the non-refundable application fee and enrollment deposit. All other tuition paid will be refunded.
  • After March 15 (for summer departure programs) or October 1 (for winter departure programs), YFU will retain $3,000. All other tuition paid will be refunded.
  • After departure to the host country, participants are not eligible for any refund.

YFU USA Programs are subject to change or cancellation. In the event that my child’s Program is cancelled, I will have the opportunity to choose another YFU USA Program if a suitable Program is available or obtain a tuition refund (less the non-refundable application fee).

YFU reserves the right to reassess the status of accepted students based on new information or behavior prior to departure, and cancel program participation. In these cases, YFU will refund all tuition paid except the non-refundable application fee and enrollment deposit.

+ Additional Costs

  • Many expenses are included in your tuition, though you will need to budget separately for some expenses like passport fees, visa fees (which may include travel if you are required to appear in person at a consulate), personal spending money, luggage tariffs, any applicable international airport taxes, optional trips, personal expenses, telephone calls, property damage, and some school expenses such as books or uniforms which are not included in your tuition.
  • The amount of money you will spend overseas depends on your personal spending and saving habits, the country you are going to, and the current rate of exchange for the U.S. dollar. You should budget spending money for clothes, toiletries, snacks, postage, entertainment, and any other miscellaneous expenses you think you may incur while on exchange. On average, students on year and semester programs spend approximately $150-$300 a month while students participating in a summer program spend around $300-$500 (total).

+ The YFU USA Budget: Where Does the Money Go?

    • Domestic and international airfare
    • International gateway airport assistance
    • Airfare for National PDO (year & semester students)
    • Enrollment in a school
    • Placement with a carefully selected host family
    • National office and YFU Area Representative support while on program
    • Student Support Staff available 24 hours/day
    • Volunteer training and expense reimbursement
    • Staffed, professional orientations in-person and/or via remote platforms.
    • Curriculum and materials
    • National Pre-Departure Orientation (year & semester students) – lodging, local travel, food, & airfare
    • Registration (application review & enrollment)
    • Publications & materials
    • Promotional items
    • Operational expenses, YFU offices, utilities and telecommunications (1.800.TEENAGE)


+ Ready to study abroad with YFU but not sure how to afford it?

Participating in an exchange program is an amazing experience that we are sure will change your life if you only let it! Even though YFU is a non-profit organization, which means we don’t profit from these exchanges, the program still has a cost. We know trying to figure out how to afford a study abroad program can seem daunting but we’re going to break-it-down, step-by-step to ensure you have the support and resources needed to make your dreams of studying abroad a reality.

So, where do you start? Grab a piece of paper and pen (or tablet) and start thinking about your own network, writing down the names of those you can ask for support or who might be able to help you in fundraising. Next, you need to know just how much you’ll need to begin to create a budget so you know just how much you’ll need fundraise. It’s also important that you begin thinking about your elevator pitch. How are you going communicate to others, what you’re fundraising for, why it’s important to you and how you’re going to make it a reality? It will be your thoughtful answers and passion which will make people believe in you!

+ I’ve done my brainstorming but now what?

As you approach the first person to support your fundraising it’s normal to feel insecure and maybe even scared. We all have to start somewhere, and the only way to become a star fundraiser is to – fundraise! Soon, you will learn what works and what doesn’t. You will feel more and more comfortable and your hard work and passion about studying abroad will be noticeable to the people you meet and talk with. But of course there are some shortcuts, learn from the people before you!

+ Am I allowed to make my communications FUN?

Absolutely! One way to do this is think about the elevator pitch you’ve created. Can you turn it in to a 60 second (2 minutes max) video? Videos allow you to creatively share your story and raise awareness for your need of support.

+ What are your special talents and skills?

  • Everyone has their strengths, so what are you good at doing? Use your skills and talents in creative ways to raise funds.
  • Arts sale: If you are artistic, you can make drawings, paintings, or sculptures and organize an Art sale, same procedure as for a bake sale, but with your nice items.
  • Morning coffee: Do you live close to where a people pass on their morning commute? Give a try to a morning coffee stand, right where they pass to the bus, metro or walk to their office.
  • Garage Sale: You probably have things you don’t need any more, cannot use any more or simply don’t like any more. You can also ask your club, church or family if they have items they would donate so that you can organize a garage sale or have a table at a flea market.
  • International evening: Invite family, friends and neighbors to an International evening. Ask some people to support you by making food from different countries and donate it to your evening. Charge everyone a small fee for participating in the evening. You can also make use of the evening to talk about the country that you want to go to on your exchange, let your friends know more about its culture and why you want to go there.
  • Holiday decorations: For the Holidays in your country be creative and make holiday decorations that represent the country to which you want to go on exchange. You can sell cards, window decorations, ornaments, wreaths, cookies, etc.

Check out even more ideas here!

Additionally, if you already have a job, consider saving some of what you earn to put towards your exchange program. A part-time job can amount to big savings!

+ Don’t forget, YFU awards 200 scholarships annually!

When you apply be sure to also check out our scholarships page. YFU has been selected to administer more government and corporate scholarships than any other high school exchange program. With 200 full and partial scholarships awarded to help students’ dreams of travel and learning become realities, there’s bound to be one you’re eligible for!

Have an idea or need some help getting started? Contact one of our Representatives at info@yfu.org or 1.800.TEENAGE.

For Parents

+ The Global Impact

Your child has an opportunity, a chance to make an impact—not just on his or her life, but a global impact. A large part of YFU’s objective is to engage young people in personal development opportunities that will increase their leadership capacity and improve international understanding and public diplomacy. We believe as youth proceed into adulthood they will draw upon the life-changing intercultural learning experiences of their exchanges creating a more peaceful, tolerant society.

+ The Personal Impact

Studying abroad may challenge your child, but it will also test you. Being placed in this situation of distance, being prevented from the daily parenting ritual might make you or your teenager uneasy. But, we know that it is within this feeling that personal growth can blossom. The YFU study abroad experience facilitates the building of character by creating opportunities to withstand uncertainty and build resilience.

YFU study abroad creates meaningful opportunities for self-discovery and growth. Away from their comfort zone, YFU students learn interpersonal competencies as they are compelled to form trusting relationships with residents of the host culture and learn how to solve problems locally, without their parents. YFU students gain leadership skills and global competencies that will prepare them for their future in an interdependent world. It’s up to you to allow your child the breathing room to become independent, to make mistakes, and to learn. Nothing that is genuinely worthwhile is easy.

+ The Benefits of YFU Exchange

From the moment your teenager returns home, you’ll notice a difference. Most parents of YFU students say their teen returned with greater confidence and maturity. But more importantly, YFU students notice changes within. From having a stronger sense of the world to personal growth and being more adaptable in unfamiliar situations, YFU students truly discover another part of themselves—a part that will benefit them forever.

+ Educational Benefits

YFU students gain a global perspective that makes them ideal college candidates. Students improve their language competency and may earn advanced language placement in college.

+ Career Benefits

When employers select a YFU alumnus, they know they are making a solid investment in a person who is flexible and has an elevated level of maturity, superior problem solving skills, and an intuitive understanding of another country and its people. In today’s competitive job market, fluency in another language coupled with the ability to comprehend another culture gives YFU exchange students career advantages they wouldn’t otherwise have.

”My child was able to not only apply language skills, but also learn about the culture and country.”

“It gave my son a chance to grow and mature. It gave him a confidence in himself you get from doing things that are just beyond your grasp.”

“YFU was a trustworthy program. My daughter gained an experience that is so rare to others her age.”

+ Support & Logistics

YFU provides you and your child with the support, logistics and tools for a safe exchange experience. From helping select a program and orientation to travel and airport assistance, your student will be guided and supported throughout their entire journey. All students are placed with a carefully screened host family, enrolled in school (semester or year programs), and they have access to counseling, tutoring and worldwide emergency assistance around the clock. When you choose YFU for your son or daughter, you choose an international community with more than 60 years of worldwide exchange experience. And we’re here to help you every step of the way.

+ Safety

We take all precautionary measures to ensure our student’s safety and your peace of mind. YFU programs have exchanged more than 270,000 students since 1951, many of these years coinciding with war or international conflict. As global tensions and political uncertainty are inevitable, our top priority continues to be student safety. YFU is evaluated annually by oversight agencies. We are proud to consistently receive Full Listing in all three J-1 Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) listing categories: Inbound Long-term, Outbound Long-term and Short-term Inbound/Outbound programs.