Exchange program - American EducationAny of a variety of programs involving the temporary transfer of a student or teacher to a school, college or university in another country. Exchange programs are designed to broaden the student or teacher’s experience and promote international understanding. Exchange student programs vary according to whether students are in secondary school or university and whether they attend boarding or day schools. In both cases, students earn credit in their home schools for all academic work they successfully complete abroad. Secondary school students not attending boarding schools usually live full-time with host families in the foreign country. Most American-run student exchange programs are operated by private, nonprofit organizations financed by private and public donations.
Almost all teacher exchange programs, on the other hand, are financed by public grants under a variety of U.S. State Department programs created by the Fulbright Act (1946), the Smith-Mundt Act (1948) and the Fulbright- Hays Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act (1961). Under these acts, countries that wish to participate in teacher exchange programs must sign an agreement with the United States, designating the framework for future teacher exchanges. Some agreements call for the United States to send and underwrite the costs of a visiting teacher in a school or college in the foreign country. Others call for a mutual exchange of teachers, with varying degrees of financing from both countries, with both the State Department and U.S. Department of Education facilitating the exchange. There are some private teacher exchange programs sponsored by individual colleges and universities and a few private secondary schools, involving mutual teacher exchanges with comparable institutions overseas. In all cases, teachers assume similar duties in the foreign school or college. (See also American Field Service; Experiment in International Living.)