Our Story

YFU is a non-profit international educational organization with organizations in more than 50 different countries, we are one of the world’s oldest, largest and most respected intercultural exchange programs. More than 260,000 students and their host families have benefited from the support and expertise of YFU. The YFU global network is united by the belief that full cultural immersion is the most effective means to gain the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected and competitive global society.

At our core, we are a catalyst for positive global change. YFU has demonstrated real leadership when faced with provocative topics. Issues that mattered through the last 60 years matter equally as much today. Through shifting economic powers, health epidemics, civil conflict, matters of class and equality as well as growing issues such as LGBT rights and girls education, YFU has and will continue to act as a leader, doing the right thing, even if we make others uncomfortable with our actions. The impressions made by the students themselves as well as the broadened perspectives of host families, ripple through schools and across entire communities.

The world needs YFU. Today, social media, including YouTube and Facebook have begun to replace the broadcasts of the past. Yet, the more mass and social media seem to connect us, the easier it is to form stereotypes, and we can be fooled into thinking that a country’s reality matches what we see in the news and online. YFU cultural exchange programs provide the ultimate reality check to a worldview based on stereotypes.

YFU offers the journey of a lifetime. An adventure that reveals the best in people, and enables you to make lifelong connections that will change the way you see the world. YFU is with you every step of the way, from application to return, and helps you stay in touch with the international community long after returning home. We create a safe, supportive environment in which to explore and gain a deeper understanding of different cultures.

History Mission & Values