Top Student Exchange Programs in The USA

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Reem Mohamed

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26 June, 2022

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6 mins read

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University Life

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Want to spend some time studying abroad without having to commit to the full university experience? Then Student Exchange programs are the best fit for you! Student Exchange programs provide you with the opportunity to study for a semester, a year, or simply just a few months in a foreign country of your choosing. If your country of choice happens to be the United States of America, then we’ve got quite the list for you! We, at Casita, have gathered the top student exchange programs in the USA for you to check out and choose from!

1. Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD)

The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (also known as the Global UGRAD Program) is one of the most popular exchange programs for students aiming to study in the US. This program provides one-semester scholarships for outstanding undergraduate students from around the world for non-degree full-time study combined with community service, professional development, and cultural enrichment. This program is administered and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 


To qualify for UGRAD, you must be/have

  • Over 18 years of age.

  • A citizen of a UGRAD participating country, currently residing in that country.

  • Enrolled as an undergraduate in good standing at any accredited university, public or private, and have at least one semester remaining at your  home university at the conclusion of the UGRAD program.

  • Completed secondary education in your home country.

  • A solid command of written and spoken English (English Language training for some finalists is possible).

  • Eligible to receive and maintain the US student exchange visa (J-1) required for the program.

  • Cleared by a physician to participate in the program.

  • Committed to returning to your home country after the completion of the program.


2. Community College Initiative Program

The Community College Initiative Program (CCI) is another student exchange program sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program provides scholarships for students to spend up to one academic year at a United States community college. Students in this program mainly gain technical skills and may earn certificates in their fields of study. The program allows for students to be immersed in the United States culture, gain experience, get some hands-on training, and enhance their language proficiency. CCI participants study in one of the following eligible fields: Agriculture, Applied Engineering, Business Management and Administration, Early Childhood Education, Information Technology, Media, Public Safety, and Tourism and Hospitality Management.


To qualify for CIC, you must 

  • Be 18 years old at the start of the program.         

  • Have a diploma from a secondary school.

  • Possess a basic knowledge of English.

  • Desire to build professional and leadership skills to contribute to the development of your home community.

  • Meet country-specific requirements

3. Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders

Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders are five-to-six-week academic programs designed for foreign undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 25 to improve their understanding of the United States and to develop their leadership skills. Institutes include a four-week academic residency consisting of interactive classroom activities, discussions, lectures, readings, site visits, and workshops. There is also a one-week educational study tour to a different region of the United States, leadership skills building activities, community service, and opportunities to interact with American peers on a college campus. Each Institute includes approximately 20 participants from selected countries. The available study topics in this program are Civic Engagement, Comparative Public Policy Making, Education and The Future of The Work, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Journalism and Media, and Women’s Leadership among others. 


To qualify for SUSIs, you must

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 25 and have at least one semester left of college or university.

  • Demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.

  • Proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.

  • Have little or no prior travel or study experience in the United States.

  • Not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

  • Eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa.

4. J-1 Visa Summer Work Travel Program

There are plenty of benefits to applying to a summer program in the US and The Summer Work Travel program gives you the chance to reap those benefits! This program is also sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is an exchange program that provides College and University students enrolled full-time and pursuing studies at post-secondary accredited academic institutions located outside the US with an opportunity to live and work in the United States during their summer vacation to experience and to be exposed to the people and way of life there.


To qualify for this program, you must be/have

  • Sufficiently proficient in English to successfully interact in an English speaking environment.

  • A post-secondary school student enrolled in and actively pursuing a degree or other full-time course of study at an accredited classroom based, post-secondary educational institution outside the United States.

  • Successfully completed at least one semester or equivalent of post-secondary academic study.

  • Pre-placed in a job prior to entry unless from a visa waiver country.

5. Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program

The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program provides 10 months of professional enrichment and non-degree graduate-level study in the United States for accomplished mid-level professionals from certain countries. Respective candidates for this student exchange fellowship are nominated by the U.S. Embassies or Fulbright Commissions based on their potential for leadership and a demonstrated commitment to public service. The fellows are placed in groups by professional field at selected U.S. universities offering specially designed programs of study and training.


To qualify for this program, you must be/have

  • An undergraduate (first university or Bachelor's) degree.

  • A minimum of five years of full-time, professional experience.

  • Limited or no prior experience in the United States

  • Demonstrated leadership qualities.

  • A record of public service in the community.

  • English language ability.

6. Fulbright Foreign Student Program

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals, and artists from different countries across the globe to research and study in the United States for one year or longer at U.S. universities or other appropriate institutions. This program has country-specific requirements that you should check out before applying.


To qualify for this program, you must be/have

  • Have completed undergraduate education and hold a degree equivalent to a bachelor's degree.

7. Youth Leadership Program

The Youth Leadership Program fosters mutual understanding, respect, and civic engagement among young Americans and their international peers. During the exchanges, students live with local host families, students and educators participate in workshops, community service activities, team building exercises, meetings with community leaders, and leadership development. This program has country-specific requirements that you should check out before applying. 


To qualify for this program, you must be/have

  • Between the ages of 15 and 17.

8. TechGirls

TechGirls is a U.S.-based summer exchange program designed to empower and support young women (ages 15-17) from the United States and select countries around the world to pursue higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields through hands-on skills development training with American technologists. The main event of the program is an approximately ten-day technology camp, hosted on a U.S. university campus, that provides participants with an in-depth examination of cutting-edge technologies and various educational and professional paths in STEM fields. The camp’s participants get to stay with American families and enjoy some additional activities, including site visits to technology companies, leadership workshops, job shadow experiences, community service opportunities, and cultural/recreational events. 


To qualify for this program, you must be/have

  • A citizen and current resident of one of the following countries:  United States, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Egypt, Fiji, Greece, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, South Africa, Suriname, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

  • Between the ages of 15 and 17 at the start of the exchange.

  • Demonstrated advanced skills and a serious interest in technology, engineering, and/or math in your academic studies.

  • Intend to pursue higher education and/or careers in technology.

  • Strong English language skills.

  • Exhibit maturity, flexibility, and open-mindedness.

  • Will attend at least one additional semester of secondary school upon your return to your home country.

  • Committed to completing a follow-on project upon your return home.

These are just some of the available student exchange programs in the USA, there are many more opportunities and programs you can explore and apply to if you’re set on spending some time in the United States as an international exchange student. These top student exchange programs in the USA are your chance to broaden your horizons, explore the US, and immerse yourself in a new and foreign culture!


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