InterExchange - Local Culture. Global Relationships.

InterExchange

About

InterExchange is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting cross-cultural awareness through international work and volunteer exchange programs. For 40+ years, InterExchange has connected young adults from all over the world with life-changing international cultural exchange opportunities.

We help young adults find opportunities including paid and volunteer English-teaching positions, Au Pair and English tutoring placements with host families, Working Holiday visa programs and Spanish Immersion. Through its grant opportunities the InterExchange Foundation supports young adults pursuing overseas service experiences.

Everyone on our experienced team has lived abroad. We're here to help you find the right program for your goals and support you leading up to, during and after your overseas adventure!

Founded
1968
Headquarters

100 Wall St #301
New York, NY 10005
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Caitlin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It has been quite a journey! Choosing to come to New Zealand has been nothing short of amazing. Going through this program was the best way to do it ESPECIALLY doing the welcome week. I cant even believe I was debating doing it before coming because I would be having a totally different experience. The welcome week introduced me to 12 people in the same boat as me and we have been having an amazing time. All the experiences we’ve had together and still are. We are now a family and have been living together. The help and guidance from staff has been amazing and so helpful, I highly recommend! The service that has been provided is something that I’ve greatly appreciated. I had many questions before coming and everything always got answered right away.

What would you improve about this program?
The itinerary changed from when I booked the trip.
Default avatar
Gretchen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went through this program for reasons that probably won't align with most of the other participants. I wanted to be able to move to and work in Quebec to be with my boyfriend that I had met while studying abroad.

Having met the criteria for this visa, the cost was worthwhile since it allowed me to break into the market here. While on a 6-month tourist visa, I enrolled at the YMCA for French courses in preparation for job interviews which began in November and ended mid-January.

Although my IEC Working-holiday visa has ended, I'll be staying in Canada and continuing in my current position - my employer has sponsored me for another two years on a closed work permit! I've convinced another American friend of mine to join me here on this program and would suggest it to others looking for a change of culture from the US.

What would you improve about this program?
More clarification about required paperwork. I did EVERYTHING and did not end up needing to submit it. I guess it's better to be safe than sorry, but I wish I hadn't felt so anxious about getting it all together just to end up not needing it.
Default avatar
Russ
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Over a year ago I was presented with a very cool opportunity to move to Toronto and level-up my career while experiencing another part of the world. The biggest hurdle was obviously - how do I get there??

A coworker told me about InterExchange and they took care of everything! Every question I had was answered before I even knew I needed help. If there was ever a time when something wasn't clear I was able to call my contact Mellisa DIRECTLY (no phone system or random support agents) and get exactly what I needed.

I can't recommend InterExchange enough! Moving to another country and being eligible for work can be a super challenging process. I wouldn't be here without the help I had through the program. If you're looking for something life-changing - this is it!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Enjoy every moment of it and take a few risks! You won't regret it
Default avatar
Tara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in Spain over the summer was amazing! I participated in another program in Italy before coming to Madrid, Spain. I lived with an awesome host family and taught their two teenagers for 3-4 hours a day during the week. I met friend who also went through InterExchange and her family was actually friends with mine. We traveled on the weekends together on our off time throughout Spain and Portugal. My favorite places were Barcelona, Sevilla, Segovia and Lisbon, Portugal. I learned so much about my family and their culture. They had a house near the mountains and a flat in Madrid. I would highly recommend living with a host family and connecting with other expats for travel! I still keep in touch with my family and plan to visit them again in the near future!

Response from InterExchange

Sounds like a perfect trip! Glad you got to travel a lot and enjoyed your host family stay. Thanks for the review!

Default avatar
Samantha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching abroad for me, was an opportunity to travel and live in a different country. Since it was my first big independent trip abroad, interexchange was 100% worth it. The training was awesome, not only did we learn about teaching, but also the culture/language. The training also helps you make friends when you’re alone in a new country! You may even meet someone who is going to the same town/school as you! I was the only one going to my town...but I could meet my new friends for weekend trips, etc! The teaching abroad experience is unforgettable and irreplaceable. Interexchange added the security that I needed in order to make such a big trip. Interexchange also helps with getting your visa (complicated process), finding a school, and communicating with the school. It was nice to always have a “go to” person for questions.

Jobs

Programs

Displaying 10 - 12 of 12

Alumni Interviews

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

Emily DeMaioNewton

Emily DeMaioNewton is a writer, poet and traveler currently abroad in New Zealand. Her work can be read in Persephone's Daughters and the Modern Love column of the New York Times.

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.
Melissa, Program Advisor at 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.