Our Story

Youth For Understanding (YFU) is a volunteer-based global non-profit community driven by the passion of people, consisting of 55+ Member Organizations across six continents. As a leader in intercultural exchange and educational programs for more than 70 years, YFU has impacted more than 270.000 students – and their host families, schools and networks – and more than 70.000 volunteers.

Since its beginning, we have been united by the belief that full cultural immersion is an effective means to gain the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, competitive global society. We have earned the reputation as one of the world's oldest, largest, and most respected intercultural exchange programs over the past 70 years of success. At our core, we are a catalyst for positive global change, leading communities into the future. YFU will be with you every step of the way, from application to return and will help 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.

"What starts with a single person, over time, influences nations."

More than ever, the world needs YFU. Through shifting economic powers, health epidemics, civil conflict, as well as growth in social media, matters of class and equality as well as growing issues such as LGBT rights and girls education have continued to plague cultures across the world. YFU has been and will continue to be a leader in these arenas, fighting for mutual understanding by broadening perspectives and breaking stereotypes.

Cultural immersion leaves lasting impressions that ripple out, affecting others around you. Our intercultural exchange program is unique in that we offer you the journey of a lifetime: an adventure that reveals the best in people and enables you to make lifelong connections that will change your global perspective and help you become a world leader within your communities. This is how YFU creates positive global change. We enable and empower YOU.