Interchange is the only CISV program that is family-centered and allows for total immersion of the youth participant into a family’s social and cultural life. This is achieved by living in a host partner’s home and becoming part of the family.
In 2017, 18 USA Interchanges touched more than 850 lives in ways that will be long remembered.
Total cultural immersion allows participants to gain new insight into human similarities and gain interdependence. In addition, Interchanges provide the greatest opportunity to share the lessons that CISV has to offer as families are directly involved in all phases of the program.
Interchange is for our youth who are ready to begin exploring cross-cultural communication
Parents are an integral part of the Interchange. Parents, along with their children & leaders, plan the Interchange experience and are actively involved in the hosting of their child’s partner. A close planning interaction between parents & youth often allows the parent and the youth to re-discover each other. Here are some of the comments received from families:
- an incredible life enriching experience
- parents allowed themselves plenty of time to get to know me
- sharing experiences, discussing problems & coming to an understanding
- CISV has developed good qualities in my child
- the most amazing experience of my son’s life
- our family has given our children roots, and CISV gives them wings
The leader of the Interchange delegation is the catalyst for the delegation’s bonding together into a cohesive group of friends with a common purpose – educational fun & friendship. Leaders are carefully selected and comprehensively trained adults who demonstrate a love of working with children, a belief in the ideals of CISV, and the flexibility and maturity necessary to lead a delegation of energetic young people. CISV volunteer leaders include teachers, parents, business & professionals, and graduate students.
Interchanges delegations consist of one of the following age groupings: 12/13, 13/14, 14/15.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens on an Interchange?
The following activities would be incorporated into the Interchange schedule for the hosting phase in each country, although the order may be re-arranged some as needed:
- Day 1………………..USA Delegation arrives in the Interchange country
- Day 2……………….Welcome Party
- First week…………..In-home visits by USA and the Interchange country leaders
- First week…………..Group activity/excursion (families invited)
- First week……………Mini-camp (CISV activities) – 3 days led by the leaders.
- Second week………..Group activity
- Second week………..USA National Night
- Second weekend……Family time (no group activities, travel permitted)
- Second week………..Group activity
- Day 13………………Farewell Party
- Day 14………………USA delegates depart
A similar format will be followed in the USA for the other half. For Interchanges. the USA could host the first half or the second half.
Who plans the Interchange?
There is a set structure to every interchange as described above. In conjunction with the Local Interchange Coordinator and leader, the participating families plan the USA portion of the Interchange as a group. It is a program that is an enriching experience for not just the delegate but for the entire family. The Interchange country counterparts will plan the portion in the Interchange country.
Delegates will meet as a group with the leader several times prior to the program start to get to know each other and prepare their national night.
All adults in my household work during the day. How can we host a teen for Interchange?
Some families believe that because all adults in the household work, they cannot manage an Interchange. The 2-week visit is planned by the Interchange families facilitated by the Local Interchange Coordinator. With cooperation between the families and incorporation of the required CISV components (3 day mini-camp and group gatherings), the need for parents to take a lot of vacation is reduced quite a bit.
What does the Interchange cost?
Because much of the planning is flexible and done with the participation of the families, the cost is variable. The chapter program fee is $1050. Additionally, you pay for airfare for your child, portion of the leader(s) airfare (split between all members of the delegation) and for a portion of the group outings and mini-camp. We estimate the total to be around $3000 – $3500 for the four-week program, depending on teh location. This compares very favorably to other popular exchange programs where the fees can be as high as $7000 for a two-week program.
How do I apply for the Interchange?
Contact the Brandywine Valley Local Interchange Coordinator, Jodi Knapp, at email@example.com for application information. Application can be downloaded from link below. Both the delegate and family must submit applications and references. As is the case with all youth organizations, all adults in the household 18 or over must permit background checks. The selection process will include a home visit and an interview of the delegate. Selections are made by the end of January.
To apply to Interchange, download the Interchange Application Packet.