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||13-14 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+)|
This video shows Interchange participants describing their experience:
New Interchange partner in 2017: Falster Island, Denmark
In 2017, the Detroit chapter will begin a one-summer Interchange with Falster Island, Denmark chapter. Falster is in the Baltic Sea, about 1.5 hours south of Copenhagen. It has about 44,000 residents and two large towns founded in the 12th century. Farming and tourism are two prominent local industries.
Below are some photos from the Falster chapter’s 2016 Interchange.
So how will this work?
Interchange exchanges give your whole family the chance to experience another culture and make new friends.
Each Interchange 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.
For the Denmark Interchange, our delegates and leader from Detroit will visit Falster to live with their Interchange partners from about June 24-July 9, 2017. Then the Danish delegates and leader will travel to Detroit from about July 12-July 27, 2017, living with their Interchange partners. Here is a link to the tentative calendar for this Interchange.
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 and one weekend of short 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.
For the Denmark 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.
All CISV activities are run at-cost. Interchange expenses include a program fee of approximately $1050 in Year 1. A portion of that fee is a non-refundable commitment fee due at the time of selection. If an Interchange has a second year, as our Guangzhou Interchange does, the fee for the second year is $250. These fees cover training for leaders and volunteers, background checks, insurance.
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 and excursions for your child and guest. Hosting delegate families split group activity and excursion costs for the leaders.
Ready to apply?
Please go here for more information and forms to fill out.
All applicants are required to participate in an overnight CISV activity in the Detroit area. Check the Local page for details about timing and location as they develop.
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.
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 23-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.
For more information about Interchange, please contact Emily Summerfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016-2017 Interchange partner: Guangzhou, China
In 2017, the Detroit chapter also will complete the second year of a two-summer Interchange with the Guangzhou, China chapter. This Interchange is full and is no longer taking applications. 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. Here’s a flyer about the China Interchange for you to download. Here’s the CISV China webpage. If you scroll down, you’ll see photos of members of the Guangzhou chapter.
Photo credits: All photos on this page were downloaded from Wikimedia Commons and republished under a Creative Commons Share Alike license. The photo at the top of the page –detail of house in Stubbekøbing on the Danish island of Falster– is attributed to benjar. The other photos from Denmark are borrowed with thanks from our friends in the Falster chapter. The photo from China is of ShangKiaJiu Square in Guangzhou. No photographer is listed.