Interchange: Guangzhou, China!

Overview

While based on the same educational principles as CISV’s camp-based programs, Interchange encourages a deeper encounter between two cultures by placing young people within families. Delegates are matched with a partner of the same gender from another country and they take turns living together with each other’s families. In addition to family activities, all of the youth delegates from both countries get together for group activities every few days that include CISV peace education curriculum. Not only is this a profound intercultural experience for the youth participant, but it also engages the whole family in the CISV experience.

Age 13-15 at any point between June 1 and Sept 1 of year when Interchange begins
Duration 28 days per phase (phases can be consecutive or take place up to a year apart).
Size of group Delegations come from 2 countries and comprise 6 – 12 youth accompanied by an adult leader (age 21+)

2016-2017 Interchange partner: Guangzhou, China

GZ_ShangKiaJiuSq_60130_McDonaldIn 2016, the Detroit chapter will begin a two-year Interchange with the Guangzhou, China chapter. Guangzhou — formerly known in the west as Canton — is one of China’s largest cities. It was founded in 2014 BC in the southern part of the country, near Hong Kong. Today, Guangzhou is known for a mixture of ancient monuments and new skyscrapers. It’s also credited with being the birthplace of dim sum.  For more information about Guangzhou, go here.

So how will this work?

For our Interchange with Guangzhou, the delegates from China will travel to Detroit to live with their partners’ families for four weeks in summer 2016.  The same Chinese youth will host the Detroit delegates in their homes during the summer of 2016.

Each delegation will travel with an adult Leader who will participate in all group activities and perform home visits.  The same Leaders will facilitate the hosting activities for the delegations here in SE Michigan.

Interchange exchanges give your whole family the chance to experience another culture and make new friends.

What happens when we host? 

Mainly, Interchange families do what they would normally do, treating the visiting delegate as a member of the family. In addition, every couple of days, all the delegates and leaders get together for a group activity. Parents take turns carpooling Interchange delegates to these activities, which usually take place on weekdays — so parents who aren’t carpooling often won’t need to supervise their Interchange delegates on those days.

One week of a long Interchange is set aside for a family vacation. For short Interchanges, the family vacation takes place over a long weekend. In families where no parent or guardian is typically home during the day, parents often take an extra day or two of vacation time to enjoy the Interchange hosting experience with their children.

For the Guangzhou Interchange, there will be at least six delegate families from the Detroit area to share carpooling and have input into the planning of the group activities.

Cost

All CISV activities are run at-cost. Interchange expenses include a program fee of approximately $900 in Year 1 and $250 in Year 2 (covers training for leaders and volunteers, CISV membership, background checks, insurance, administrative costs). Delegates in one-year Interchanges only pay the Year 1 program fee. Additional expenses during travel phase include airfare, passports/visas, host family gifts, and general spending money. Airfare for the leaders is split among the traveling delegates.  Additional expenses during the hosting phase include general costs of hosting another person, a family vacation, and expenses for local activities/excursions for your child and guest. Hosting delegate families split group activity/excursion costs for the leaders.

Ready to apply?

Please go here for more information and forms to fill out. It’s ideal if you bring the completed forms to mini-camp.

Safety

Going abroad for up to a month is an exciting prospect for the children who will participate – but perhaps a little daunting for parents! We understand.
We know that you want to be sure your child will be looked after and kept safe before, during and after the program.

CISV is committed to ensuring that the safety of each child in our care is paramount. We have been organizing camp-based programs and family-hosted exchanges for more than six decades and child safety and protection remain our highest priorities.

Many of our volunteers are parents themselves who are sending their children to CISV programs in other countries – or may have done so in the past. They share our commitment to, and your concern for, the welfare of your child.

CISV International has comprehensive child protection policy and procedures, which are reviewed and updated regularly. CISV USA also has child protection procedures, which are in line with national legislation and requirements.

All Interchange leaders receive child protection, risk management and leadership training to prepare them to take care of your child.

Our child protection and risk management procedures ensure:

  • All Interchange leaders are locally selected and trained to international standard
  • Confidential references are reviewed locally
  • All leaders are carefully screened and police-checked, in line with national procedures and international standards
  • Host families also are screened and police-checked and visited at home by CISV members.

Our leaders are supported by our local, regional and international network of experienced Risk Managers. All of our leaders and delegates are required to have insurance and to provide their leader with detailed medical and health information. Medical care is always within easy reach. In the rare event of illness or accident, parents are called at the first opportunity and updated with full information on what steps have been taken to help their child.

More

Here is a two-page document with answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about Interchange. If you’d like to know more, please download this 32-page Interchange Parent Guide . We also welcome your help finding a great leader for our Interchange. In addition, here is the Interchange communication policy developed by our chapter. Here is CISV USA’s sexual abuse prevention policy.

Questions? 

For more information about Interchange, please contact Emilia Askari at esa22@columbia.edu, Darcie Brault at dbrault@michworklaw.com or Susan McCabe at susanmccabe@earthlink.net.

2015-2016 Interchange partner: Graz, Austria
graz town squareIn 2016, the Detroit chapter also will complete the second half of a two-year Interchange with the Graz, Austria chapter. Graz — Austria’s second-largest city — is a beautiful, historic city in the Alps featuring a chocolate factory, a palace, beautiful vistas, numerous universities and a charming downtown with a clock tower and Glockenspiel.

The Graz Interchange is not taking new applicants. To download a flyer about our Graz Interchange, click here: Graz Interchange flyer 2015-2016 For more information about Graz, go here.