Study in a U.S. High School

  • Experience the world! Attend a high school in the US and your life will never be the same

  • Overview

    Perhaps you’ve dreamed about becoming an exchange student since you were old enough to go to school. Maybe you had a sibling or a friend who studied abroad and shared their experience with you. Whatever your reason for being here, we are excited for you and your future. You are about to embark on a journey that thousands of others just like you have done before and many thousands will do after.

    Greenheart Exchange has been a sponsor of the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa since 1985. In our first year, we helped seven Spanish students find host families and attend high school in the U.S. on the J-1 visa. Now, we welcome over 1,000 participants each year who live with American families and study in high schools all across America.

    There are two visas for high school programs:

    • J-1 Visa High School Program (cultural exchange program): Attend a public school in one of many locations across the U.S. while living with a welcoming American host family. You’ll improve your English, make friends and gain leadership skills as you serve as an ambassador of your culture. You can choose either a semester program or an academic year.
    • F-1 Visa High School Program (academic program): This program allows you to choose a specific geographic location and even choose the school you’d like to attend. All F-1 participants live with local host families. Program lengths vary from 3 months (one trimester) to all 4 years of high school. At select schools, you may also be able to graduate with a high school diploma within one year.

    The Department of State implemented a toll-free number (1-866-283-9090) for secondary school students, which was effective August 1, 2009. The toll-free number can be used by host families, exchange students and the public to report circumstances impacting the students’ health, safety and well being during their exchange visitor programs. You may also email the Department at jvisas[at]state[dot]gov.

  • J-1 vs. F-1 Visa

    J-1 Visa Basics

    • Attend public high school on the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa
    • Live with an American host family
    • Have a strong command of the English language (acceptable score on the ELTiS)
    • Be between 15 and 18 years of age upon arrival
    • Willing to accept a placement anywhere in the continental U.S.
    • Healthy and above average maturity to be able to succeed on an intellectually and emotionally rigorous program


    F-1 Visa Basics

    • Be between 14 and 18 years old
    • Average grades (C) or better
    • Intermediate to advanced English
    • Social maturity and flexibility, willingness and capability of becoming a fully participating member of an American host family
  • Chicago Welcome Program

    Program Dates:

    Wednesday, August 7 – Saturday, August 10, 2019

    Program Price:

    Please consult with your sending organization.

    What is the Greenheart Chicago Welcome Program (CWP)?

    Greenheart Exchange’s Chicago Welcome Program is an additional offering to all Greenheart J1 and F1 high school exchange students. This 4 day, 3 night program prepares students to have a successful exchange year. Students will gain in-depth information on what it will be like to live with an American family, attend American high school and how to have a successful year in the U.S. They also will learn about the importance of volunteerism in American culture and participate in a service activity. In addition, we will be exploring the City of Chicago, seeing the sights, shopping, and having a ton of fun! Activities may include a city tour, Millennium Park, the Willis Tower Sky Deck, or Navy Pier. Students will make new friends and leave prepared to have the best year of their life!

    What is included?
    • Lodging
    • Meals
    • Ground Transportation
    • Sightseeing and Shopping in Chicago
    • Entertainment
    • 24 hour supervision by trained trip leaders
    • Orientations and workshops provided by Greenheart Exchange staff
    What isn’t included?
    • Flights to and from Chicago, IL
    • Incidentals (money for souvenirs, etc.)

    For more information, contact your sending agency.

  • Greenheart Trips: Hawaii

    Want to get more out of your exchange experience? Join other J-1 and F-1 exchange students and American high school students on a Greenheart Trip to Oahu, Hawaii!! This is not your average tourist trip.

    Hawaii is one of the United States’ most unique states with a very distinct culture and environment. Enjoy sandy beaches, surfing, swimming and hikes in the tropical paradise of Hawaii. On the trip you also will learn about the Hawaiian culture and history, through a Luau and visits to cultural sites like Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center.

    Here’s how we are different:

    • Small and social: 20 participants per group maximum, everyone stays in communal lodging
    • Volunteering: Each group does unique volunteering opportunities that benefit the local community
    • Interactive: Learn from one another in hands-on workshops and activities that allow time for sharing cultures and discussing global engagement
    • Come prepared to make lifelong friends from around the world!

    Greenheart Trip Basics:

    • Open to Greenheart Exchange students, American high school students, or exchange high school students from other sending organizations
    • Complete a short application to finalize registration
    • Pay a program fee of $1,300 USD, which includes all lodging, food, and ground transportation, but does not include  your flight to and from Hawaii
    • Activities may include: Catamaran cruise, Surfing, Snorkeling, Hikes, Campfire

    Trip Dates:

    • Spring Break Trip 1: March 8-14, 2020
    • Spring Break Trip 2: March 22-28, 2020
    • Spring Break Trip 3: March 29-April 4 , 2020

    Interested in attending?
    Click here to complete an inquiry

  • FLEX/YES Programs

    Greenheart Exchange is designated to administer the FLEX and YES Grant programs for international high school exchange students. Both programs are administered in partnership with the U.S. Department of State by a consortium of nonprofit organizations led by American Councils for International Education.

    About the FLEX Program

    The Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) was established in 1992 shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. The program provides an opportunity for students to gain leadership experience, learn about American society, and foster mutual understanding across cultures. The Department of State recognizes that youth exchange is a key component to building bridges between citizens of the U.S. and countries around the world.

    FLEX students are from the following countries (may vary annually): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine.

    About the YES Program

    The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES) was established in October 2002, in response to the events of September 11, 2001. The program awards scholarships to high school students from countries with a significant Muslim population. YES students come from more than 40 countries.

    Application Information for Participants

    Interested participants should apply through American Councils, as Greenheart Exchange only acts as an approved placement organization but is not responsible for recruitment of participants.

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