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Social Systems


Develop an Educational Exchange Program

If you have cultural assets to share with an exchange program, click here to get involved.

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Tool Information


  1. Celebrate Culture
  2. Education
  3. Awareness
  4. Youth


This tool encourages regional schools to develop educational exchange programs by offering an opportunity for students from around the world to experience rural farm and ranch life, prairie ecosystem, tribal culture and middle western culture.  At the same time exchanging allows Kansas students to experience the wider world.  For all involved exchange programs expand perspectives, foster understanding and diplomacy skills, improve life skills and maturity.  These experiences help students find their unique career path and life path and probably help them to gain admittance to universities of their choosing.  

Photo by the LEAF Project, 2011

CC BY-SA 2.0


A growing loss of connection to the natural world is a gathering concern.  International exchange programs offer a better understanding of how living systems around the globe are connected. Today's world economy requires greater understanding of world languages and cultures.  In addition to knowledge sharing around the world, cultural exchange programs benefit the individual tremendously as they grow and expand their perspective.  Amazing things happen when students are removed for a time from the expectations of their culture and placed into situations where they are faced with who they are, essentially, as a world citizen.  They gain insights into their own character and discover talents they may not have had to find if they were always at home and within their comfort zone. At the same time, the experience of hosting those from other cultures brings with it an expanding sense of pride of place and awakens a sense of wonder for all those who get to experience their place through a new comer's eyes.  

Photo by AFS-USA Intercultural Program, 2013

CC BY 2.0


Photo by Thomas Shahan, 2011

CC BY 2.0


Additional Information


The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers more than 1500 Americans grants to study, research, and teach abroad with full or partial support from the Fulbright Program.  This program is geared toward college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals and artists to study, conduct research and or teach English abroad.



People to People International Ambassador Programs offer travel programs for students who demonstrate leadership and diplomacy skills.  Their program is cultural exchange and travel program for students.



AFS-USA (formerly the American Field Service), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a leader in intercultural learning and offers international exchange programs in more than 40 countries around the world through independent, nonprofit AFS Organizations, each with a network of volunteers, a professionally staffed office, and headed up by a volunteer board.

They've been exchanging students throughout the world for more than 65 years. That’s six decades of history and experience in international education with an exemplary record of safety, security, and service to students, parents, and educators. AFS-USA works toward a more just and peaceful world by providing international and intercultural learning experiences to individuals, families, schools, and communities through a global volunteer partnership.

It is possible to host a student or to find an exchange program for students who wish to study abroad.  There are also chapters of AFS that can host gatherings of foreign students traveling in the region to get together to celebrate cultures of the world.  Schools and communities can host these gatherings to share their culture and experience many cultures of the world.  



The Council on International Educational Exchange offers the most comprehensive line up of exchange programs and services available.  Their programs include: study abroad, teach abroad, high school study, and gap year programs; international faculty development seminars; summer work and travel exchanges; internships; professional training programs; and volunteer opportunities.



The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Exchange Programs offer hundreds of exchange programs for students to study music, art, language, sports, business, cultural affairs, science, and many types of leadership programs.  The also coordinate with those who might like to host a program.  



The International Educational Exchange, Inc.  provides international exchange opportunities to students, recent graduates and young professionals.  They offer work and travel programs, internships, and training programs.  



The Institute of International Education is a private non-profit leader in the international exchange of people and ideas.  They manage fellowships and scholarship programs, develop leaders, assist threatened students and scholars, promote international development and provide educational services,  


Implementation Strategy

Champions and Partners

Local AFS chapters in Kansas regional Schools

Parents and Students interested in other cultures


Medium (3-8 years)



Cost Details

Costs associated with developing local chapters or researching exchange programs

Cost associate with raising scholarship funds

Funding Sources

Fulbright Scholarships

The Institute of International Education, scholarship management program

Local business donations & fund raisers

Membership dues

Implementation Details

A brief outline of the first few steps necessary for implementation are provided. The steps outlined here are provided only as a suggested starting point and other approaches are certainly valid.

1. Start by organizing a local chapter of a group like AFS and host exchange students staying in nearby regions to come to the Flint Hills for an event.

2. Encourage local families to host foreign exchange students

3. Encourage local students to apply to exchange programs and study abroad

4. Develop long term relationships with exchange programs to develop ongoing structured programs

5. Develop a local fund manager to manage scholarship programs and raise endowment funds



Case Study

The AFS USA Blog Posts From Students


There are many videos and blog entries from foreign students whose lives are forever changed by the experience of being welcomed into a new family and immersed into a new culture in a deep and personal way.  The courage of such a year spent away from everything familiar and yet hosted in a loving way by local families is unforgettably expanding.  The blog also shares the experiences of families who open their homes and lives to host a student and find that joy shared double and that grief shared halves.  This expanding experience enriches family and community life for everyone it touches.  


It is so easy to host and it is fun and exciting to strike out on an adventure abroad.  This organization is an easy way to expand what Kansas students get exposed to in the world.