Interchange: ages 12-15


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 In the target age range at any point between June 1 and Sept 1 of year when Interchange begins
Duration 14-21 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+)

2020 Interchange partner: Graz, Austria (youth aged 12-13)


In 2020, the Detroit chapter will begin a five week Interchange with Graz, Austria.

So how will this work? The delegates from Detroit will travel to Graz to live with their partners’ families from approximately July 10, 2020 to July 27, 2020.  The same Detroit youth will then host the Austrian delegates in their homes from July 29, 2020 to August 15, 2020.

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 long weekend of the Interchange is set aside for a family vacation.  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.


All CISV activities are run at-cost. Interchange expenses include a program fee of approximately $1150 (covers training for leaders and volunteers, CISV membership, background checks, insurance, administrative costs).  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.  Applications can be emailed to Emily Summerfield at or sent 764 Pemberton Road, Grosse Pointe Park, MI. 48230.


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.


This video shows Interchange participants describing their experience:

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 . In addition, here is the Interchange communication policy developed by our chapter. Here is CISV USA’s sexual abuse prevention policy.


For more information about Interchange, please contact Emily Summerfield at or call or text 734-673-1499.




5 thoughts on “Interchange: ages 12-15

  1. I was the Detroit Leader for the Detroit / Helsinki Interchange last summer. It was an amazing experience bonding with 14 families. Within the first 48 hours it was as if the kids had grown up together. They formed friendships with a closeness that normally takes years to develop. Each delegate that I talk to has reported maintaining contact with their host family and at least two of the other Helsinki delegates. In several cases, our delegates have remained in contact with the siblings of the Helsinki delegates as well.

    Interchange is a great way to have your whole family experience CISV together.
    Charlene Wolson

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So many times, parents watch their teens go off on adventures that help them grow and learn. I love Interchange because it’s both an opportunity for teens to taste some independence and in a safe and supported way and also an opportunity for the entire family to make friends from another part of the world. My son was a delegate in an Interchange with Graz, Austria in 2010-2011; my daughter was a delegate in an Interchange with Jakarta, Indonesia in 2013-2014. We made some great memories together, especially during our family vacations with my kids’ Interchange partners in New York City. It was surprising to see how much the teens from Austria and Indonesia knew about Manhattan from film and television — which contrasted dramatically with how little we knew about their hometowns before our Interchange experiences.


  3. I participated in the 2008/2009 interchange with Graz, Austria. Immersing myself in the local culture of Graz was an experience unlike any other. While living with my host family I tried local foods, learned traditional dances, explored the city, familiarized myself with the local public transit system (something very foreign to a Metro Detroiter), hiked the alps, picked wild berries, visited Vienna, and even picked up some of the language. At the same time, those of us representing Detroit were able to share some of our culture. We taught our new friends American card games, danced the hustle and the electric slide, and cooked them coney dogs and Craft Mac n Cheese. By the end of our first summer we’d formed strong bonds with our new Austrian counterparts.
    The following summer we had the chance to showcase our home state. We took the Austrians to museums, parks, art installations, baseball games, amusement parks and ferry boat rides. We showed them the top of the Ren Cen, the beaches of the Great Lakes, and even took them on a trip to Chicago.
    Looking back on my experience, I am so very grateful for the chance I had to experience a new culture while sharing my own. I am still in touch with my interchange partner, and I was able to visit her and her family again a few summers ago while studying abroad. I would wholeheartedly recommend interchange to all who are interested in stepping outside of their comfort zone and experiencing a new culture.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interchange was great for my daughter Rebecca and our whole family. It opened Rebecca up to the three dimensional world out there, created lasting friendships and filled her with a sense of courage and responsibility and adventure. I was skeptical about how it was going to work for us as divorced co-parents, but it was seamless, providing Tara great exposure to Rebecca’s real and whole life. I appreciate the opportunity afforded to my daughter and my whole family through Interchange.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interchange is focused on a family to family interchange with lots and lots of programmatic assistance. We hosted our Indonesian CISV delegate first. Despite very different cultures, we were able to connect with Nico and his family in a very familial and personal way. I could not have felt more comfortable sending my son half-way around the world to stay with Nico’s family the next summer. Sid took away a real appreciation for Indonesian culture and we all made great friends.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s