InterExchange - Local Culture. Global Relationships.



We're here to connect you with meaningful travel experiences around the world, including Au Pair, Teach, Work & Travel, Educational Tours, Language Learning and more. InterExchange has been around for over 50 years. We've all lived and worked abroad so we know what it's like to prepare to take the big leap! Whether you plan to travel next month, next year, or beyond, we look forward in starting a conversation about your travel goals.


InterExchange Foundation Christianson Fellowship

The InterExchange Foundation Christianson Fellowship awards up to $10,000 to young Americans who are passionate about helping communities abroad thrive and are eager to learn about the local culture. Fellows identify a project or an organization working on an issue they care about, and with the support of the Christianson Fellowship, contribute their skills and passion to that endeavor for at least six months on-location abroad. This intercultural experience is a meaningful way to help others, improve skills, and gain insight about another culture.

$2,500 - $10,000


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Yes, I recommend this program

French Fairytale!

Becoming an au pair in France as a gap year in college was one of the best decisions I've made. I got incredibly lucky with a wonderful family that embraced me and introduced me to all things French. I learned so much from the language, to the cuisine, and much more. I was lucky enough to see so much of Europe as well during my stay and loved my first year so much that I went back for a second year with the same family a year later. But the best part by far was the people I met. I became friends with other au pairs from all over the world - from Canada to Italy - and cultivated bonds that are still strong today. And I will always treasure the golden moments with my family and the children I looked after. I truly believe that the best way to learn about a place is to live there fully immersed in the culture and way of life. There is no better way to do that then as an au pair. I will forever be grateful for what this experience gave me and pushed me toward. I am now an English teacher in the Dominican Republic with a passion for travel and new cultures that was ignited with my France stay. I would highly recommend taking advantage of this program to anyone who wants to see more of the world in a truly unique way!

What was your funniest moment?
There were so many unforgettable moments with my French family and the children I looked after, but two of my favorite moments were these. The first one was right after I had met the little boy I was going to be taking care of. I had taught him a new handshake and decided to take a video of us doing it. As soon as we finished our new handshake, he whipped around and mooned me! And I got it all on camera. The second time was when I was out to dinner with my French family. We had just finished eating and the waiter (a friend of the family's) came over to check on us. I wanted to tell him "Thank you very much" in French, but apparently I mispronounced a word and instead said, "Very nice butt." Everyone started laughing, the waiter got all red, and I was so embarrassed! It became an inside joke with the family from then on and I still smile when I remember that time.
Response from InterExchange

So nice to read your reflections on the au pair experience years later, Alyssa! We're glad it pushed you to new life experiences and hope you always look back fondly on being an au pair in France!

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Yes, I recommend this program

A leap I am glad I took!

Whether you are a first-time, intermediate, or seasoned traveller looking for a chance to be exposed to surreal and lifechanging experiences, I encourage you to consider Interexchange's SACR program. After a month, I am still seeing new ways in which I have grown as a student, friend, and leader after the program. The biggest component to my endless bliss during the 8 day program was my endless curiosity which has stayed with me to this day. It is a true expedition for both the adventurous as well as those wanting to try that side of themselves out!

Response from InterExchange

Thanks so much for the review, and for joining us on the program this January Wulf. Wouldn't have been the same without ya! Hope we have the chance to support you on another program in the future.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent Experience!

I had an amazing time during this program and learned so much from the guides, James and Pedro, and our driver, Edgar! Every day, we visited new local businesses and met new people which made this a truly life-changing cultural immersion, even if it was only for 8 days. I wasn't able to fit a study-abroad program into my time at university and this proved to be the perfect compromise. The group I went with was absolutely lovely and made the whole week that much better. Everyone was friendly and willing to try new things which allowed us all to get that much more out of the program. Overall, this was an excellent experience that I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about conservation and sustainability while experiencing a different culture!

Response from InterExchange

Thank you so much Laura! It's important to us that the program was enriching despite its short duration and we appreciate your comments. Was a pleasure to have you on the program and wish you all the best!

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Yes, I recommend this program

So much fun!

This program was amazing! I learned so much about local communities and the initiatives they are taking to help the environment. It was truly inspiring. The landscape is so beautiful and the people even more so! The food was delicious as well and accommodating for any allergies or preferences (my group had someone that was gluten free, someone vegan, and two vegetarians and we all ate really good)! James and Pedro were also so supportive and led us fearlessly! You are able to meet amazing people from around the United States that have the same interests as you and that was one of the best parts, (it was hard saying goodbye). I recommend this program 100%!!

Response from InterExchange

Thanks Savannah! Glad it was fun and you learned a lot. That's what we were hoping for! Appreciate your review.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience!

This was one of the best decisions of my life! The trip had such an amazing blend of education and adventure, I would 10/10 recommended to anyone considering it! Our leaders James and Pedro were so great and caring! The places we visited were very unique also! I am a vegetarian and I felt very accommodated, and the housing was safe and comfortable. I loved this program so much I even stayed after and explored Costa Rica more with my mom. I would definitely do this again if given the opportunity! Great experience overall :)

Response from InterExchange

So glad you loved the program CristiAna! And great that you got to travel afterwards. It was great to have you with the group. Fun trip!!


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Emily DeMaioNewton


Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I wanted to go abroad for a year, but found the vastness of that decision intimidating. I didn't study abroad in college, and the task of navigating abroad travel entirely on my own was daunting. InterExchange program provided structure and guidance to my trip. I likely wouldn't have gone abroad at all if I didn't find something like this.

InterExchange is perfect because they provide logistical help and structure without imposing any limits. I have tons of freedom but don't have to navigate logistical stressors on my own.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The program provider was there from the beginning to answer any questions I needed answered, and even to answer questions I didn't know I had!

Before I left, a representative was available via email and phone to answer my questions about cities in New Zealand, public transport, car costs and availability, food, packing tips--no question was too small. Most importantly, the representative called me before I left to let me know that I would need to get a year's supply of my prescription medication from my doctor before I went abroad. That was something I hadn't thought of, and something that would have been disastrous if I hadn't known to make those preparations in advance.

Ultimately I had to make all preparations myself, like booking flights and accommodation after the first week, but InterExchange prompted me along the way and gave helpful instructions for other things like how to set up a bank account.

Once I arrived in New Zealand, the InterExchange office became a great resource for recommending hostels, promoting all sorts of job opportunities, and giving travel recommendations. I also signed up for the welcome week, which was a great way to make friends and start out my year abroad on a confident note. During that week, we toured around the northern part of the North Island and saw the best sights to see. It was great not to have to navigate the beginning of my trip--being in a new country on the other side of the globe was overwhelming enough at first--and this week of travel ignited my passion to see the rest of the country.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

My main piece of advice is to be gentle with yourself. Being in a new country is overwhelming, and it's okay if at times you're unhappy. It takes a while to settle in to a new place. Try not to feel like if you're not doing something exciting at all times - you're wasting your time abroad. Sometimes you need to take a minute, or a few days, to breathe and settle into a routine. Try to hold onto activities that make you feel like yourself--reading, writing, drawing, running, whatever it may be.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The best thing about this program is that an average day or week can look however you want it to look! I know people I met during the welcome week who have jobs giving kayak tours, working on farms, who bought bus tickets and are traveling the country still.

I'm currently living in a very tiny town on the South Island working at a bookshop and a café. Most days, I have quiet mornings during which I work on writing fiction and poetry, which is exactly what I wanted from this year. There are opportunities for hiking, making new friends, watching the sunrise from all sorts of locations.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I began my experience abroad shortly after graduating from college, so it's the first time I'm completely in charge of my schedule and my responsibilities, like finances. I was afraid of becoming overwhelmed by all the new responsibilities of adulthood while also trying to navigate myself within a new country and culture.

InterExchange helped with a lot of this--helping me set up a bank account, answering questions about buying a car or what cities are most affordable. I took things slowly and continue to ease into it. I've started my travels by living for a few months in a small town where I'm less likely to get overwhelmed and where things will start to look familiar more quickly. After my time here, I plan to branch out, travel more and live in busier places. I'm trying to take the transition in sections, and it's working!

What did you like the most in the program?

New Zealand is more beautiful than I could have imagined. During the InterExchange welcome week, we kept visiting places and thinking we would never see a more beautiful sight, and then half an hour later we'd turn a corner and somehow see an even more beautiful view. One night, we went kayaking and saw bioluminescent algae that glows in the water like stars. Even during stressful times, the beauty of the place makes the visit worth it.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Melissa Horine

Job Title
Work Abroad Program Advisor
After traveling to Japan frequently as a child to visit relatives and receiving a BA in Anthropology, Melissa has been drawn to all corners of the world, from West Africa to Europe to South East Asia, and finally back to Japan, where she lived and worked in Tokyo for 3 years. Now back in New York City, she continues to live in an almost-foreign-culture in Brooklyn, while advising young Americans on how they can have their own work abroad experiences with InterExchange.

What is your favorite travel memory?

During one vacation week in Japan, a friend and I took a bike tour of the bridges and tiny islands dotting the sea between two of the major southern islands of Japan. I was completely unprepared for this type of activity, having only ridden my bike a maximum of 45 minutes through city traffic at a time. There were injuries, moments of doubt, totally unexpected surprises, and encounters with some truly warm and beautiful people (as well as a couple of strange ones). We talked our way into sleeping on the dining room floor of one bed and breakfast and spent another night curled up in private booths in an internet café. We soaked our bodies in natural hot springs and took in some beautiful art on an entire-island-turned-art gallery called Naoshima. The sense of accomplishment and exhilaration I felt at the end of the trip was indescribable and I’ll never forget the views from the top of some of the most impressive man-made structures I’ve ever stepped on, nor the taste and smell of the hole-in-the-wall old school restaurants where we indulged in authentic Hiroshima okonomiyaki and Takamatsu curry udon.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I’ve learned to listen a lot more. Working with mostly young adults, I’ve noticed that not only does everyone have different motivations and goals for their cultural exchange, they’re all in different points of their life journeys. While many are looking to take a break from school or work for a bit, others are interested in gaining language skills, and some are looking to earn some cash and see the world. My reasons for working abroad were unique and specific to me, and I think it’s great that we can facilitate these types of opportunities for people with a wide range of interests and motivations.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I think the fact that we are a relatively small organization, and I work in one of the smallest departments within it, allows us to give real, quality and personalized service to each and every one of our applicants and participants. I’ve worked at large organizations that were very focused on numbers and quotas and were less than pleasant places to work at, let alone work with from the customers’ perspective. At InterExchange, we value the effect of the work we do, doing our best to live up to our organizational mission and each of us genuinely cares about how global understanding through intercultural exchange can influence our society in monumental ways.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Empathy. Keeping a finger on the pulse of our prospective participants helps us to determine in which direction to take our current and new initiatives. A lot of self-examination helps to clarify and expedite processes and practices. Being a 24/7 advocate for cultural exchange (study, work or travel abroad) helps to create more of a public dialogue about intercultural exchange programs and opportunities. Being aware of the level of knowledge our participants have about intercultural exchanges or gap years in theory, so that we can reflect and come up with ways to reach new audiences and/or create ambassadors who will promote these types of programs in the future.

Professional Associations

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