Basics

Which Greenheart program should our school consider?

It depends on the needs and interests of your school, and you can also engage in multiple programs! Greenheart Exchange works directly with schools to facilitate the placement of International Exchange Students and the School to School Exchange Program. Greenheart Travel works directly with schools to organize group language camps and volunteer programs, but all other Greenheart Travel programs are available to individual students looking to study, volunteer, or attend a language camp abroad. So, however your school gets involved, it is of no extra cost to provide resources and information about Greenheart programs to your students.

What makes Greenheart International a unique partner organization for cultural exchange?

Greenheart International is an ideal partner organization because of the service we provide, our mission-driven programs, and our diverse operations. Greenheart has been operating in the global field for over 30 years, and has expanded to offer cultural exchange programs in unique ways. Greenheart Exchange brings exchange participants to the U.S.; Greenheart Travel sends English speakers abroad; and the Greenheart Club empowers the cultural exchange community through funding opportunities for service projects, access to a global network, and resources for professional development. Additionally, the Greenheart Shop merges cultural exchange and commerce via its mission of fair trade.

Hosting International Students FAQs

Why should I choose Greenheart Exchange to help bring international students to my school?

Since 1985, Greenheart Exchange has created global leaders by facilitating cultural exchange and service learning opportunities for international students coming to the U.S. In addition to cultural exchange, CCI Greenheart is committed to furthering the values of volunteerism through its robust portal the Greenheart Club.

Greenheart Exchange is a designated sponsor of the U.S. Department of State for the following J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs: Secondary School (High School Program); Intern and Trainee; Summer Work Travel; and also offers the F-1 High School Academic Program, ESL Summer Camp, and various Short-term Homestay and Group programs for international participants. CCI Greenheart is currently granted full listing by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) and is a member of the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation (WYSTC), WYSE: Work Abroad Association, and the Alliance for International Exchange.

What is the minimum English Language Test for International Students (ELTiS) score requirement?

The minimum ELTiS score is 212.

What do we do if the student cannot handle the curriculum due to a language barrier?

Students are required to prove their English competency by taking the ELTiS before they arrive. If a student’s English level is still prohibiting them from achieving academic and cultural success, it is a requirement that the student get an English language tutor. This is a condition stated in the Greenheart Exchange Conditions of Participation, which is signed by both the student and their natural parents before they arrive on program.

What countries receive official credit for their year in the U.S.?

Transcript Convalidation is available for students from Spain, Brazil, Italy, South Korea and Ecuador, though not all students from those countries will go through this process. The majority of Greenheart Exchange J-1 High School students will repeat their academic year upon returning home after their exchange. However, all of our students are held to a high academic standard as required by our Conditions of Participation, which is signed by both the student and their natural parents before they arrive on program.

What classes are students required to take in the U.S.?

Students are required to take an English class while on program, and are strongly encouraged to take U.S. History.

Can students participate in ESL?

Students can be placed in ESL classes if their language ability dictates this.

What is the screening process when locating a host family?

Host families are required to complete a full application highlighting their family makeup, occupations, interests, activities, community and why they wish to host an exchange student. They are required to submit pictures of all relevant parts of their home, including the student’s bedroom and bathroom. Host families are interviewed in their home by a Greenheart Exchange Local Coordinator (LC). The LC interviews the family to confirm the entire family wishes to host, as well as make sure the host family understands that requirements of hosting an exchange student on a yearlong program. The host family is required to submit two character references, and all members of the host family who are over 18 are required to submit to criminal background checks. Final approval of host families is made by the Compliance Department in the main office of CCI Greenheart.

If a student wants to return on an F1 visa can we accept them? What is the process?

This depends if your school is F-1 certified already or not. If your school is already certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to sponsor students on the F-1 visa, then yes! The process would be very simple for a student to continue attendance at your school in consecutive years (though please note that public schools can only sponsor students for 1 year on the F-1 visa, as regulated by DHS). If your school is not already certified, it’s unlikely that you would be able to go through the F-1 certification process in time for the student to return the following school year. Schools can learn more about the F-1 certification process here.

Can students participate in sports and clubs?

International students are encouraged to get involved with sports and clubs at their school. This is a great way to get involved and meet some of their American classmates. This is highlighted for students before they leave for their program at the Pre Departure Orientation in their home countries. Students’ Local Coordinators will also suggest this at their arrival orientation.

What do I as a teacher/administrator have to do to support this either before or during the exchange?

There are many ways to support cultural exchange! Speaking with your administration about students coming to your school or bringing up hosting to your American students and/or parents are two great ways to get involved. While on their program, students love to meet classmates and teachers who are friendly, helpful, and interested in the student’s home country. Making an effort to get to know the student or encouraging them to give a short presentation on their home country to one of their classes are great ways to break down barriers and get exchange students interacting with their American peers.

Going Abroad FAQs

Why should I choose Greenheart Travel to help my students go abroad?

Greenheart Travel provides 24-hour support throughout the application, program and alumni processes. We are a small staffed non-profit that is accredited with CSIET, so you know you’ll always be talking to a real person on the other line. We are proud to always be available for your questions and concerns, and we pride ourselves on developing a personal relationship with our participants that many of our competitors do not.

Does the student need to be fluent in another language?

No. One of the main goals of studying abroad is to learn another language while you live overseas. The host family and school will not expect the student to be fluent and will help to improve their language skills.

Through language immersion, your students will both learn the practical language skills in a classroom while also being forced to use them with local, native speakers during the excursions and/or host family experience. Studies show that 4 weeks of a full language immersion experience can be equivalent to a yearlong college language course because of the intensity of use.

Will my students’ language skills be good enough?

We require two years of foreign language study for Argentina, Spain, France and Japan. The language requirement is waived for all other country destinations. For English speaking countries (Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand), you are already set!

Is it safe to send my students abroad?

We do not send our participants to any destinations where we do not travel ourselves. With any place you travel to, it is always a good idea to take some precautions. Prevention involves many “common sense” precautions such as staying on well-lit main roads, traveling in groups and not carrying large amounts of cash or expensive items.

How are host families selected?

Host families go through a thorough interview process and are carefully screened. They must complete an application, their references must be checked, and an in-home interview must be conducted by the partner organization. Many current host families have hosted numerous participants year after year.

What kind of assistance will my students receive while abroad?

There is a strong network of people working together to ensure your students’ time abroad is successful. This includes your program manager in the U.S., your students’ natural parents, the local coordinator abroad in your program location, the host school and host family. Immediate assistance will be provided by your students’ local coordinator and/or host family as they will be in the same region.

Can we speak to current or past participants?

Yes! Check out our blog or find us on Facebook to talk to current participants right now!

Does the school pay for your programs or does the student?

The student pays for our programs so sharing them with your students is of no extra cost to your institution. If your school is organizing a group trip with us and would like to be responsible for any portion of the cost, we can certainly arrange that.

Do you offer any scholarships, financial aid, or special discounts?

We do! We offer scholarships to our teen language camps and high school abroad programs. We also give special discounts to students whose families have hosted one of our Greenheart Exchange students. If your institution is interested in partnering with Greenheart Travel as an affiliate provider, we may be able to offer additional discounts.

How much do the programs cost and are there any payment options?

The program costs all vary, but exact prices and cost breakdowns on every program can be found on our site. Our trimester high school abroad programs offer a more affordable option to students looking to study long-term, and the price of our teen language camps for 2-6 are highly competitive. Partial payments leading up to deadlines are accepted, although every participant will be given a precise payment plan with specific deposit deadlines that must be met.

What do I as a teacher/administrator have to do to support this either before or during the exchange

One of the main benefits of using a third-party provider is less work for you!

Do you have faculty trips? If we have a group, do we get a discount?

Yes, we can accommodate groups for strictly faculty as well as faculty-led groups of students. For every ten participants, the eleventh participant goes free!

Do you have programs for adults?

Yes, many. We offer paid teach programs, volunteer abroad, work abroad, and TEFL certification courses for adults. For teachers looking to travel over the summer, we recommend our Teach in a Homestay and volunteer programs.

For more information on Greenheart Travel programs, please fill out our brief Contact Us form on our website or call us toll free (US) at 1.888.227.6231.

Mutual Exchange Programs: School to School Exchange FAQs

What is a School to School Exchange?

This is a true exchange. Your school hosts a group of students for two to three weeks, and later in the year, your school group visits those students in their country.

What do I as a teacher/administrator have to do to support this either before or during the exchange?

Teacher Coordinators are expected to get approval from administration/school board, recruit students to participate, submit participant details and hosting calendar, collect money from participants and submit payment to Greenheart Exchange, collaborate with International Teacher Coordinator and CCI Greenheart regarding itinerary and program details, chaperon during hosting and travelling, and regularly communicate changes with the CCI Greenheart Program Manager.

How much does it cost for students to participate? What is included?

Costs vary by group and depend on a number of factors including group size, additional excursions, season of travel, when bookings are made, etc. The typical range is $1800-2300 and includes flights, medical/accident insurance, 24/7 emergency support, ground transportation needs and guidance and materials from Greenheart Exchange.

Who pays for activities when the international group is here?

When U.S. schools are hosting, they are expected to be true hosts and pay for excursions and transportation required for activities. It is recommended that Teacher Coordinators collect $100-150 on top of the program price to cover these expenses. When the American group is abroad, their activities and transportation will be provided for them.

How are payments made to Greenheart Exchange?

Greenheart Exchange will send invoices to your school for the deposit and balance. You can issue a single check for each payment made out to Greenheart Exchange.

How much do teachers pay?

Teachers do not pay anything! Organizing the logistics of this group is quite the task and you will be working as a chaperon during the exchange. The price of the leaders is included in the price of the participants.

Will we need visas to go abroad?

Usually no. There are some locations that will require a visa for minors travelling. Your Program Manager will advise you of any visa needs and assist with completing the process. Usually, the only requirement is to have a passport that is valid for at least six months following the scheduled return.

Do I need School Board approval?

Maybe. This really depends on your school. You should speak with your principal or administrator as early as possible to figure out the rules and regulations about hosting and travelling.

Where will the students stay?

Students will stay in homestays with their exchange buddy sharing a house or flat with the family, eating meals with them and learning their culture.

What will the students do while they are here/abroad?

During a 2 week School to School Exchange, the expectation is that each hosting group will organize 2 full day excursions, 3 half day excursions and a Greenheart volunteer project. Your Program Manager can send you a sample calendar as well as ideas for volunteering.

Can we travel in the summer?

No. Schools must host and travel within the same academic year. This is due to both liability issues and program constraints. The School to School Exchange program is meant to be an educational immersion program, so the expectation is that participants are spending time in the school and participating in school sanctioned activities.