For Students

Academic Year Program

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Arrive with a dream. Leave with a family


Have you been dreaming of spending a school year in a foreign country? Are you looking for the adventure of a lifetime? Do you love meeting new people and having new experiences? Then look no further! CHI’s Academic Year Program (AYP) is your chance to spend an academic year (10 months) or a semester (5 months) living with a volunteer host family in the US. Study at an American high school, share your culture with a family and their community, travel on trips with your local administrators, meet other exchange students, and help to make the world a more peaceful and understanding place!

Best of all, you’ll build meaningful, lifelong relationships with your hosts, friends, and coordinators, and have a lot of fun along the way!

Why CHI?

Strong Support

We give you all the support you need. Living in another country for 10 months can be scary! But our dedicated field staff will be there to greet you, give you orientations, and organize activities to help you feel excited and safe. Our coordinators are always just a text message or phone call away!

Safe and Certified

We are a US Department of State-designated, CSIET-certified J-1 sponsor program that has developed a positive reputation from over 35 years of work in this industry. You can be sure you’re in the hands of an official and experienced organization.

Thoughtful Placements

We work hard to find the perfect host family to make your experience the best that it can be, and our focus is making sure you leave the US with new friends, a new family, and a new perspective.

Fun Activities

Many of our coordinators and administrators plan events and trips for our CHI students. They are passionate about showing you the real America! We also have the ability to help facilitate your program so that you make the most out of your program and engage with your community and surroundings.

Focus on Students

We have Program Directors, a Committee, and Operations Managers behind the scenes whose entire jobs are dedicated to you: to making sure that you’re safe, that your agency and parents are aware of any issues that arise, and that you have the best possible chance to have a successful, happy program.


  • High school students who are ages 15 to 18 ½ upon arrival
  • A score of at least 212 on the ELTiS exam
  • Consistently good grades at your current school
  • Maturity, flexibility, and independence
  • A passion for people and for learning about new cultures
  • A desire to have fun!

How the Program Works

Although we find you homes and schools, the process actually begins in your home country! We work with foreign partner agencies from over 30 countries who send your applications to us so that we can make your program happen.



Contact a partner agency in your home or a near-by country. We can also send you a list of partners near you. They will set you up with an application and let you know what you need to submit in order to be considered.



Our Admissions Department reviews and accepts your application.



We issue and send your agency the Form DS-2019, which is the official US Department of State document that allows you to apply for and receive your J-1 visa. Once you receive the DS-2019 you can make your visa appointment. Once the visa is complete, you are all set to travel to America.



Meanwhile, our Field and Operations staff work hard to find you the perfect family and school as soon as possible! As soon as we find the right host family for you, you can start to get to know your family by email.


Depart to the US

Your agency will book your flight according to your school start date.


Meet your family, meet your friends!

When you arrive, we will give you a student orientation and introduce you to other exchange students and the surrounding community.

Soon after arrival, school starts and you will begin the process of the cultural exchange! The school is where you’ll have the chance to get out there, meet people, and participate in fun extracurricular activities.


Have fun! Become a part of the family!

After you arrive, your job is simply to do well in school, get involved in activities, and do your part to become a new member of your host family. That means spending time with them, cooking them food from your culture, and showing them how much you appreciate their willingness to host you.


"It's not goodbye, it's 'see you later!"

After the 5 or 10 months of your program, you must return to your home country. It is always hard saying goodbye, but remember that your program allows you to meet and live with people who you will know for the rest of your life and who you would have never been able to meet! As we say in America, it’s not really goodbye - it’s “see you later.”

Are you ready to sign up for a program that may change your life?

Contact us

Tell us where you are from so we can connect you with one of our trusted agencies.