Who Can Go on Exchange


You can participate in a YFU New Zealand exchange program if you are:

  • Between 15 and 18 years old (students who are between 14 and 18 years old and who are or will turn 19 years old can apply for some programs).
  • In good physical and emotional health.
  • Have average C (on an A to E scale) or better school grades over last two years.
  • Have achieved NCEA at your level or can produce evidence of expected level achievement in NCEA when the Certificate is to be issued.
  • Still at school when you apply. Year 13 students can go on exchange for 2 to 12 months to some countries but must apply while still at school.
  • Mature, flexible, adaptable, responsible and willing to be challenged.

Language Requirements

In most countries you are not required to have studied the language before you go on exchange. Introductory language camps or sessions are conducted during arrival orientations. An intensive language course before you go will be of enormous benefit in helping you to adapt to your new life with your host family and at school.  Generally:
student exchange

  • France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland (French and German speaking) Belgium (French speaking) and Canada (French speaking) all require 2 years of study of French/German to go on exchange from 3 to 12 months .
  • The two month program to France requires a minimum of 6 months previous study of French.
  • You can still go to Germany, Austria or Switzerland if you have not studied German as there are intensive language courses at the beginning of your exchange at an additional cost of $1000 for those who do not have two years study of the language.
  • For Italy it is recommended that you have studied Italian at school or in an intensive short course before you go but it is not compulsory.
  • For Japan it is necessary to have studied Japanese for at least 2 years to be eligible.
  • For Korea it is necessary to have studied Korean for at least 6 months.
  • Spain will accept students without Spanish knowledge, but some knowledge of Spanish would be an advantage.

Please see each destination page for information on each individual language requirement.

If you are not able to participate in an outbound program but would like to find out more about the benefits of exchange why not talk with your parents about hosting a YFU exchange student for between two and ten months. Click here to find out about Hosting.

No one could have the exchange experience without our volunteer host families who welcome an exchange student into their homes as families do for our students in our partner countries. Learn more about hosting by calling us on 0800 833 624 (Free call) New Zealand.