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+)

This video shows Interchange participants describing their experience:

New Interchange partners in 2018: Provence, France and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


In 2018, the Detroit chapter will begin two one-summer Interchanges. One, for 14- and 15-year-olds, will be with the Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia chapter. The other, for 13- and 14-year-olds, will be with the Provence, France chapter.  Provence is in the sunny south of France, on the Mediterranean coast. It is known for its summer fields of lavender, its Roman ruins, and its beautiful coast — with related opportunities for water sports. Provence was the home of the French Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne. It’s also famous for its food, including many breads and cheeses plus ratatouille, the vegetable medley that lent its name to the Pixar film about a rat chef!

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, is a city of 1.3 million on the edge of the large, open steppes, where nomadic herders still live in wool huts called gers, which they disassemble and carry as they follow their sheep, goats and yak across the high meadows. Mongolia is the least-densely populated country on earth, with a total of about 3 million citizens — about 4.3 people per square mile. It is a fascinating, quickly-changing place with an active CISV chapter.  Hospitality is deeply revered in Mongolian culture. So are horses, dumplings and throat singing, which is when you sing two notes at once.  Here’s a short travel video about Mongolia.  Below are some photos of CISV Detroit members visiting Mongolia a few years ago.


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. If the delegation is greater than 7 delegates, we will add a Junior Leader or Co-Leader.

We are still working out the specifics of the France Interchange.  The dates and tentative calendar will be posted as soon as possible. Check back regularly! The timing of the Mongolia Interchange is tentatively set. Here’s a tentative calendar for the Mongolia Interchange, which might yet change a bit. Please click over to July and August to see the tentative plan: 

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 both the Grenoble and the Ulaanbaatar Interchanges, 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.  A portion of that fee is a non-refundable commitment fee due at the time of selection.  These fees cover training for leaders and volunteers, background checks and 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 the France Interchange, please contact Emily Summerfield at For more information about the Mongolia Interchange, please contact Emilia Askari at

The image at the top of the page — and all the photos from Mongolia — were made by Emilia during a trip to Mongolia. The photo of Provence was shared on Flickr under Creative Commons License by Decar 66 — thanks for allowing CISV Detroit to use your image. 


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.


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