Ask Questions From YFU Alumni
If you're excited about our program and have a lot of questions, talk to one of our alumni directly via email. Get answers to all your doubts and be ready as the adventure awaits.
If you would like to learn about the experiences of YFU students, please e-mail your questions to any of these YFU Alumni. They have all participated in a YFU program and would be glad to share their YFU experience with you. When sending an e-mail, please include:
- YFU in the subject line
- Your name, age, and city/state
- Country, length, and year of program that you are interested in
If you have questions regarding specific program components, admissions, tuition and scholarships, or other program-specific information, please e-mail our admissions office. You may also talk to an admissions counselor by calling toll-free 1.800.TEENAGE (1.800.833.6243).
Though it was short, my time spent in Okinawa, Japan through Youth For Understanding was transformational. I formed bonds with all sorts of people, experienced an assortment of new things, and ultimately learned that communication and understanding goes beyond words. To be an exchange student is an inimitable experience I encourage everyone to participate in. Youth For Understanding was an outstanding organization with a well planned, supportive, and high quality exchange. I went into the exchange with a strong passion for Okinawa and left with a passion even stronger. Please know you are more than welcome to email me any questions.
During the summer before my sophomore year, I was fortunate to spend six weeks studying abroad in Yokohama, Japan. I owe this great experience to YFU. Throughout my life-changing exchange, I formed countless bonds with both my family members and school friends, became immersed and fell in love with Japan’s vast culture, and formed countless positive opinions about Japan. I also learned through my relationships with others, that communication is not merely limited to words. This experience changed my life, and I’m sure it will have a great influence on my future. I strongly encourage any interested students to participate in this program. If you have any questions regarding YFU and their exchange program, do not hesitate to ask me. I would love to help!
Going to Japan with YFU's summer program was the best decision I've made in my life. I've made met so many people, made a home in Hiroshima, and made tons of precious memories. Being an exchange student is an unforgettable experience. Feel free to ask me about questions you might have!
My name is Emma, and I went on exchange to Sweden during the fall semester of 2014. I went from living as a typical suburban teenager just minutes away from New York City, to living on the countryside near the southern coast of Sweden - the complete opposite of what I was used to! I am thankful for every moment and memory that I can hold on to from my exchange, from every missed bus to every night spent laughing with my host family. There was no way I could have predicted the changes I underwent or the knowledge I obtained about global culture and interaction. I have found my second home and I hope to never lose the connections I made with other exchange students, friends, and host families. Please don't hesitate to ask any questions at all, I would be very glad to answer them!
My name is Michelle. I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico. I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile during the fall of 2014. I lived with my host parents and two teenage host sisters, and I attended a private Catholic school. The transition to a different family and schooling environment was challenging, but I overcame those obstacles. Overall, I had a wonderful time exploring the country, making new friends, and discovering a second family. I can definitely say that my exchange experience was unforgettable and valuable, and I cannot wait to return to Chile!
I studied abroad with YFU for one exchange year(2014-2015) as a high school student in United States.It was one of the best year in my life. It was an opportunity for me to learn and experience, as well as to know myself better. Sharing with the host family and making friends with people all around the world was the best part. It's really surprising how fast you get connected with these people and be a part of it. I'm so greateful to YFU for making me realize this wonderful experience, and of course YFU is the best! As an alumni I also look forward to see myself to share these amazing experience and to encourage everyone to enjoy their fun year with YFU and to be a part of it as well.
My sophomore year of high school, I did an academic year abroad in Germany with the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange scholarship. It was the best year of my life. YFU paired me with not just one, but two very welcoming and compatible host families: one temporary host family to stay with during my 3-week language orientation, and one permanent host family to live with for the following ten months. I not only met some other wonderful exchange students who shared many of my passions, but I also built a home in Germany; a place that I can always come back to. I still keep in contact with both my temporary and permanent host families, and my best friend from Germany is coming to visit me for eleven days this summer! To honestly explain my experience abroad would really be just to list off a bunch of cliches: it was unforgettable, priceless, and every day I'm thankful that I had the chance to experience something so life-changing. This coming August marks two years ago from when I first left for Germany, but the things I learned and the people I got to know still remain relevant to this day.
I spent 6 weeks in Finland as part of the Finland-US Senate Youth Exchange (FUSYE) scholarship in summer 2013. It was an absolutely amazing experience that I will never forget. I lived in a small town called Piikkiö, right outside of a larger city, Turku. My host parents and siblings were so welcoming and truly made me feel like part of the family. I would recommend an exchange program to anyone who is considering it. It will change your life and make you think differently about yourself and the world around you. You’ll gain a second home and another family, which is something you’ll never forget. I’m happy to answer all of your questions and concerns!
My name is Naomi and I spent six weeks studying abroad in Akita, Japan. After only a short time, I felt like I became a member of the school I attended, the family I became a part of, and the community I lived in. Such an impactful and educational experience can only be found through a program like YFU. Today I am a sophomore in college studying Japanese and international relations, and I definitely feel that my study abroad experience in high school gave me a unique perspective as I entered my studies. Feel free to email me any questions!
I was an exchange student to Osaka, Japan. Going there was one of the most amazing and memorable experiences in my life. Living there was so different from living in the U.S., and I wish I could go back all the time. I met many awesome people from all over the world, and made meaningful and treasured relationships with the people there. Being an exchange student is an experience I would wish on everyone. Specific to Japan, there is an amazing and long history, interesting culture, delicious food (more than just sushi!) and wonderful people. Anyone who would like to talk about going on an exchange, feel free to contact me.
As a junior in high school, going from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to a small town right outside of Milan was by far one of the best experiences of my life. I lived with a family of five (two host sisters and one host brother) who showed me the in's and out's of the area. Northern Italy became my home, and I began to slowly but surely learn the language and fall in love with the Italian lifestyle. Although my exchange was two years ago, I still remain very close to my host family, and have been back to visit since. I would love to help with any questions!
I spent 6 weeks in a suburb outside of Osaka, called Toyonaka-shi, during the summer of my junior year of high school. My exchange to Japan allowed me to look through the eyes of a culture very far from the one I knew. I'm still in contact with many of the friends I made and have made plans to visit a few of them in the future. My exchange abroad continues to influence my decisions in life. I'm currently a college sophomore studying International Business Marketing and Chinese. I am about to go on my third study abroad exchange since my experience with YFU (I will be in Qingdao, China this time). I want to encourage study abroad among the American youth and facilitate a greater change in American-Asian relations. I would love to help anyone looking to go abroad especially in Asia.
My gap year to Uruguay was the greatest time of my life and it motivated me to return to study at the university level. I think that other students have the opportunity to experience what I did if they enter an exchange program with the right mindset. Attitude is everything on any type of exchange; it can be a positive adventure from day one if you have the right intention. Feel free to ask me anything about going abroad - I have lived in three countries and have visited countless more.
Nicole is a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University studying environmental science and psychology. There are many places Nicole calls home, including Vermont and France, where she spent her junior year of high school as a YFU exchange student. At school she is involved in the outdoors club, the ultimate frisbee club and tutoring ESL children. Although it might sound cliche, the year Nicole spent in France truly changed her and helped define her values. She still remains in contact with her friends and host family in France and is planning a trip back to visit them!
I lived in Nans les Pins, France. It is a little village about 40 minutes north of Marseille. In my opinion, it is the picture perfect Provence village, with three boulangeries, a bar and a boucherie. I went to the local lycee (school) in a bigger town about 20 minutes away. Being an exchange student helped me realize how easy it is to be independent. Although I did have a host family to help me, I solved most of my problems on my own. I truly felt my self-confidence grow. I became more resourceful and flexible as well. Studying abroad showed me that if you sent your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
Being an exchange student was the most influential experience of my high school years. I was placed in a small town in Tasmania, Australia with a very supportive host family. Now that I have returned to America, I have two families - my natural family and my Australian family. I encourage high school students to exchange to experience a new piece of the world through an optimal interactive learning model. Now, I am double majoring in mathematics and sociology and hope to work in education advocacy for under privileged students.
My six months in Uruguay (January-July 2011) transformed my life. It was a whirlwind experience of self-knowledge, academic knowledge, and fun. I got to not only consider a new house, culture, and life but also experience a new house, culture, and life. I made friendships that will last. I discovered passions of mine that would have otherwise gone uncovered. It was the best semester of my life and I am eager to dialogue about it.
Since her YFU experience in Uruguay, Anna has lived in Mexico and Austria. She is faithful to her Uruguayan soccer team. She attends Franciscan University of Steubenville and will graduate with a B.A. in Spanish in May 2016. She plans to spread her love of language and semantics wherever she goes.
Nearly four years ago, I left on an adventure that has affected my life in many ways. I had so much fun and learned a lot - about my host country and myself - during my months abroad. I experienced so many wonderful things, but I also know, first-hand, how challenging an exchange can be. I know what it's like to have to change host families. But I also know just how rewarding all those hardships can be! Just because something is hard, doesn't mean it isn't worth it! I mean, there's a reason I've been back to Germany three times since my exchange! So, if you have any questions, or would like some advice, please, don't hesitate to ask! I'd be happy to help.
Studying abroad through YFU was one of the best decisions I could've made. At first, I didn't want to leave my friends, family and life in the United States, but my parents were very encouraging and supportive. I gained so much from my year abroad, and at a young age. Since my year abroad, I've been able to use my experiences, my fluency in Spanish and my knowledge gained from all of my international friends in my every day life. I'm always encouraging peers to study abroad, travel (especially to Argentina), and am looking to do another year abroad through college. Studying abroad with YFU was an unforgettable experience and I would strongly recommend it!!
I loved every minute of my exchange in Thailand while it was happening, but it was not until I got home that I realized what a great impact it had on my life. The experience has guided my academic and professional endeavors and has left me with friends and family that will last a lifetime. I speak with my family from Thailand at least once a week and have reunited with them three times since my exchange.
Please do not hesitate to ask any questions. I encourage everyone to look into an exchange in Thailand!
I had a wonderful experience during my exchange to France through YFU. I had a wonderful family and made friends that helped me have a great time there. My host family and I still talk and visit each other. My exchange allowed me to meet new people and made my host family feel like my own family. The culture and traditions of France feel like my own. I also miss the food whenever I go to France because I find it amazing and delicious. In my exchange to YFU Korea, I got to experience a new culture that also had a lasting influence on me. I loved going on both exchanges and was happy that I had the opportunity to go and the ability to go. Because of my wonderful exchanges with YFU, I decided to go on an exchange back to France in College as a Junior.
Hi! My name is Alexandra and I was an exchange student to YFU Germany in 2009-2010. I had heard about the experience from my German teacher at the time and was told that there were some awesome scholarships available and they needed applicants to use them! After speaking with my parents it seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime and I dove at the change. My year in Germany was incredible. I had an amazing host family and made a lot of really great bonds with my German friends and the other exchange students I met throughout the year. Since coming back I have started volunteering with YFU in Omaha, Nebraska and absolutely love it! I have assumed the role of Volunteer Orientation/Activity Coordinator so I work directly with the students in the area to plan orientations and fun activities throughout the year. I am also always an Area Rep each year, providing support to 1 or 2 specific students. I recently had my first baby and will be getting married next year and I know that my family is so excited at the prospect of going to the next level with YFU and hosting a student of our own! I can't speak enough on how incredible of a program YFU is and how it brings families, students and volunteers together to create unforgettable experiences and memories. I can't wait for what the future holds with my (and my familys') involvement with YFU!
I spent a year with YFU/CBYX in southwest Germany after graduating from high school. There is nothing I love more than talking about the German language, the culture, and my exchange experience! My year opened so many doors for me once I returned. I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a double major in International Affairs and German and just returned from a Fulbright year in Germany where I taught English at a comprehensive school. I've worked with YFU students in both the US and Germany, and am always looking to chat with others interested in international exchange. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
The summer of '08 was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life! YFU and Toyota Manufacturing blessed me, a small town girl from eastern Kentucky, with a rare opportunity to travel to and actually live in a foreign country. During that brief summer abroad, I tried new food dishes, exchanged ideas and opinions with my amazing host family, and explored new cities. I later went on to study Portuguese and return to Brazil for a year of study abroad in college. During graduate school, I collaborated with Brazilian public health researchers, and am now using those language and professional skills for work in other countries. The YFU program is much more than just an international trip...it is a chance to grow as person and can provide a springboard for future opportunities!
Ecuador is amazing. I lived in a small city called Ibarra which is in the Sierra and 3 hours north of the capital Quito. During our year we went on trips to the coast, rainforest, and the Galapagos islands. When you make friends they will be friends for life! I have returned 6+ times since my exchange to visit and take part in many weddings and baptisms, and they always receive me and now my husband as well with open arms! Its amazing to see a country develop so much since the first time I arrived as an exchange student almost 10 years ago!
My first experience with Japan was through YFU to a small island of Okinawa. Little did I know that this would be my first trip to Japan of many. Although being on a tropical island is not your typical introduction to Japan, spending time with my host family, exploring the island and being immersed in the cultural really introduced me to the kind people and wonderfully unique country of Japan.
My love for Japan continued beyond this one trip through YFU and I continued to learn Japanese, studied abroad in college and did the JET program teaching English for 5 years.
I currently am a Country Specialist for a travel company creating custom made trips to Japan!
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me!
As the internet swept the nation the first thing I learned to do on the world wide web was search about travel. These searches led me to YFU and the opportunity to study abroad in New Zealand in 2000 for a semester. At the time that I took that leap I never realized it would define my entire life and drive my personal and professional choices forever. I ended up with an incredible family, as well as an incredible school where I made so many friends and got to do so many cool things. After New Zealand I studied abroad again in college and now I work internationally as a teacher and head of studies in Central Vietnam. If you are unsure of your decision, all I can say is, take the leap. I promise you won't regret it.
In early 1999, I began my study abroad experience by flying around the world to Tocumwal, New South Wales, Australia. I went from my small town in northern Vermont to a rural 600 acre farm along the Murray River in Australia. Those 6.5 months living with my host family permanently changed my life and I’m delighted to say that I visit them every few years. They will always be my Aussie family. I had a wonderful experience, both at home on the farm and during my schooling at Finley High School. There were 5 other exchange students in our school and the teachers and students really made us feel welcome and special. Everyone helped us settle in, choose the right classes, learn the rules, but most importantly, have a great study abroad experience. I highly recommend studying abroad, especially to Australia, for anyone that is interested. I have lifelong friends and wonderful memories from my time in Australia.
It has been almost 20 years since I did my exchange and can't imagine if I had not had the opportunity. It was an amazing experience in so many ways. I went from living in the Chicago suburbs to living on a small farm in a small town as part of a very large family that was very different than my own, but treated me as one of their own from the minute I walked off the plane. I also had the opportunity to travel all over New Zealand to see all of the different unique areas that are packed into a small country. Going on a year long exchange to a country in the Southern Hemisphere leaving in the middle of my junior year and returning in the middle of my senior year created some challenges when it came to applying to college, but in the end having gone on exchange is what I gave me an advantage for both getting into and going off to college. Since my exchange I have continued to travel the world and know that I would not be nearly as adventurous as I am if I had not gone to New Zealand. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about going on exchange or for tips on how to stay on track to graduate when doing a yearlong exchange.
I can be honest and say YFU started my future. Without this experience I would not have lived and worked around the world. YFU gave me the taste for different cultures and travel. Since my YFU experience in Germany, I have lived 23 years in 9 different countries including Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Australia, the Netherland, The United Kingdom and of course the USA. My cultural understanding experience was a highly valued commodity in work and helped me take on international roles in my company. Now I am happy it all started at 17 years old. What a jump start on life and exploring the work.
Hi! I'm Theresa, from the Midwest, USA, all my life, except for that year abroad to the Netherlands that changed my life and made me consider myself partly Dutch. I stayed with a family in Sneek, Friesland, The Netherlands and went to school there in years 1973-4. I just visited my family there this past spring and have stayed in touch over the years. I started out my year in Belgium, since I'd studied French, but that family ultimately couldn't continue having me stay there due to some unrelated issues. It was hard to be uprooted in a foreign place, and be sent to another family in another country with a completely foreign language, but it turned out to be the most fantastic experience I could have had. It also taught me to be confident and to find poise and strengths within myself. I gained a world perspective, and maturity that helped me do well in college afterward. It was a life-changing, wonderful year.