Established in 1952, International Fellowship, Inc., a non-profit organization, offers exchange student opportunities for secondary school students who wish to experience the adventure of living in a foreign land, learning about its people, traditions, and language.
Exchange Student Program... Opening Worlds of Adventure and Understanding
MONDAY April 6, 2020
As of this morning, 76% of program are permitting foreign high school students to remain in the US with their Host Families. We are all praying that with time, the risk to travel home will begin to lessen. At this time we have received information from a private school that we work with that after some of their other International Students returned home who were on another program - some tested positive for COVID-19 - which they were negative prior to departure from the US.
Please Stay Home. Please follow Local, State and Federal Guidelines. At this time - No Unnecessary Travel. The less travel - hopefully the less spread of the virus.
As Information is updated or changes, we will update our pages and through email.
FRIDAY April 3, 2020 - Statement from the US Department of State ---
The Department understands that the COVID-19 situation has caused a major disruption in program participation. As noted during the March 27, 2020 sponsor phone call, if you, the exchange program, make responsible decisions that keep the exchange visitors’ health, safety, and welfare, as well as U.S. national security and foreign policy implications, at the forefront of your decision-making, then you can expect the Department’s support. Sponsors should document all unique circumstances and must continue to monitor exchange programs to ensure they meet program objectives to the fullest extent possible during this situation.
FRIDAY April 3, 2020 - Statistics from CSIET
In a CSIET survey of J-1 programs conducted just yesterday, 76% of you indicated that you are allowing students to continue on the program here in the US but repatriate at the request of natural parents.
COVID-19 - Email Sent to All Host Families, Foreign Reps and US Staff from International Fellowship ---
Dear Local Representatives, Families, Directors and Friends:
All of us are aware of Covid-19. We are hearing daily how it is affecting people here in the United States and around the world. We are all “in the same boat” as they say; hoping and praying for some good news, relief, and an end to this virus very soon. We have been told of the precautions and how to protect ourselves the best we can. All of us want to get back to normal.
Currently, International Fellowship has no plans of disrupting our students and host families. Most of our families, natural and host, have expressed that they do not want their student to return before the scheduled return dates which in most cases occurs in two to three months from now. So far, everyone has been receptive to following the advice given by the CDC and their state and local community personnel regarding the virus and activities (school, social, etc.). Still, so much is not known and we have to be vigilant as we move forward. If a parent or student decides to return early, it would be at the natural parent/guardian’s responsibility and expense.
The following was received from CSIET this morning:
“Finally, in an impromptu phone call with J-1 programs, hosted by the Alliance yesterday afternoon, the majority of J-1 high school programs reported that they have adopted a hybrid approach to the question of whether to repatriate their J-1 students. That is, more programs than not have decided to allow their students to remain in the US and continue the year, allowing natural parents to retire their children from the program if they choose. Still, some programs are shortening program duration and others are recommending that students go home immediately. Needless to say, the response has been varied and programs need to consider their own circumstances when weighing decisions.”
We also do not want to forget our prospective and future students desiring to come to the United States in August and September which is five plus months away. We want to continue to encourage our foreign partners to send applications with the hope and belief that the virus will be gone and life has returned to normal.
We need to be prepared when, and hopefully very soon, the virus is no longer a threat or concern, and we will be able to return to regular routines. For this reason, and that there are approximately five months before traveling to the U. S., we are encouraging all parties to be ready to move forward by continuing to promote our program and submitting applications. As for the receiving end in our office, we are ready to promptly and appropriately place the students.
International Fellowship has been operating for more than 60 years and this has been a different situation to say the least. We are very thankful to our students, families, both host and natural, and associates who have been helpful and understanding during this period. Thank you all for your support. There have been many examples of our strength and resilience that we, as Americans, have shown especially in these last few weeks.
We extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to all of you.
- International Fellowship offers a number of student exchange programs whereby students can learn first-hand about the places and peoples of the world.
- Students may select from a 6 month (semester) or 10 month (academic year) program. We also offer the 12 Month Calendar Year Program to South Korea only at this time.
- Language preference, cultural interests, and financial resources are considerations when deciding destination and length of stay. Fluency in the language of the country the student plans to visit is recommended.
- Orientations provided by International Fellowship help students and host families prepare for a fascinating learning experience.
- Whether hosting a foreign student or traveling abroad, it is an adventure in worldwide learning.