Expand your horizons on a four-week exchange.

Experience another culture while sharing yours as part of short-term exchange

Are you interested in discovering a new culture and learning more about who you are, but uncertain if you can commit to a full-year of studying abroad? Is your family willing to host a student from another country? Then the short-term exchange program (STEP) is a great opportunity for you to explore.

As a STEP participant you’ll embark on a 3-4 week experience where you’ll live with the family of an exchange student who is of the same gender and around your age in another country, while immersing yourself in another language. You and your host sibling will then travel to the United States where the student will live with your family for the same period of time.

    Is STEP right for you? It might be if…

    • You’re curious and like learning about other cultures
    • You’re open to other traditions, perspectives and ways of doing things
    • You love meeting new people and making lifelong friendships
    • You want to learn more about yourself and your personal interests
    • You’re looking to stand out on your college or job applications
    • You’re interested in being a positive ambassador for your country


    • Age: 15-19 years old
    • Must have a valid passport
    • Available to travel during the summer months
    • Your family is able to host during the summer months
    • You cannot have a job or other time commitments that would interfere with hosting another student
    • Home visit
    • Background check for family members
    • Participation in orientation

    What’s Included

    • Coordination of family member background check and home visit
    • Youth protection card
    • Orientation meeting

    Participation Costs

    • Application fee
    • Visa and passport expenses
    • CISI insurance while abroad
    • Cost of round-trip airfare to and from your home
    • Travel agency fees
    • Emergency and spending money


    • Fall – Apply
    • Spring – Find out your family match and participate in orientation
    • Summer — Travel
    I want to apply to STEP

    How to Apply

    Ready to pack your bags? Learn about applying.

    Where can I go on short term exchange?

    Explore Countries

    ESSEX exchanges with countries in regions all over the world.

    I have questions about the STEP program

    Contact Us

    Interested in short-term exchange, but want to learn more?