Kentucky 4-H Exchange Programs
State Contact:  Mark Mains, Extension Specialist | | 859.218.0991

2016 Hosting Dates are July 23-August 18.

Click Here (link) to access our Online Enrollment Application for Hosting! 

Are you willing to accept a visitor in your home who becomes as close as a family member?  Do you want to learn more about other cultures?  Are you a fan of anime or manga?  Do you have an interest in challenging yourself to expand and grow as a person?  Participants in the 4-H International Exchange program are given these opportunities and more! The 4-H International Exchange program offers families the opportunity to host an international youth in their home for the summer or the year!  Whatever your interest, there is an opportunity for you! 

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

What do we do with our exchange youth?  The short answer...whatever your normally do!  The youth who participate in these exchange programs are interested in getting to know about YOU and YOUR FAMILY.  For some families that is up at dawn and working on the farm.  For other families, it's lounging poolside for a good part of the day.  They are here to become a part of your family and create bonds that last a lifetime!

Do they need their own room?  Japanese youth participating in the four week exchange program only need their own bed (they can share a room) and a drawer or corner to store their luggage and personal items.  Academic year exchange youth do need to have a dedicated room and study space. 

Do they speak English?  English proficiency depends on age and year in school.  It is very unlikely that they will have conversational English skills.  Language will be a barrier that you face in the exchange program.  However, with some patience, resources we provide and creativity, it's a barrier that can be overcome.  Families have employed gestures, translator apps, language dictionaries and other ways to help with the language gap.

Do I need to make special food?  No!  Eat whatever your family would normally eat.  The exchange youth are excited to try new American foods.  Don't worry about trying to create a special menu. 

What if they get homesick?  Homesickness is a possibility.  We encourage the youth to stay active and moving to keep their minds off of being home.  Eating well, getting good sleep and being in a loving family help alleviate this issue.  In more signficant scenarios, the state 4-H coordinator and Japanese chaperone will talk with the youth to help them.

What if they get sick, injured, etc?  The youth who particpate in this program are fully insured medically and for accidents.  There should be no out of pocket medical costs for a family.  If there are, they are reimbursed as quickly as possible. 

Exchange Programs & Opportunities

Inbound Hosting (hosting in your home)

  • Hosting from Japan 2016 - 4 Weeks - PDF
  • Hosting from Japan 2016 - Academic Year Program - PDF

Outbound Hosting (travel to another country)
Please Note:  Outbound Travel opportunties are only available to youth who have hosted inbound delegates in the previous two years. 

  • Outbound to Japan 2016 - 4 Weeks OR 8 Weeks - PDF
  • Outbound to Norway 2016 - PDF
  • Outbound to Korea 2016 - PDF

Kentucky 4-H offers opportunties for families to host during our FOUR WEEK summer program or our ACADEMIC YEAR program.  Our month long summer program is our most popular with 15-20 youth staying with Kentucky families from mid-July through mid-August.  See the above flyers for dates.  

Conducted for over 25 years, the 4-H International Exchange Program has given a multitude of Kentucky families the opportunity to host a Japanese youth in their home for four weeks during the summer. Each year, over 20 states across the country welcome 500+ Japanese youth between the ages of 12-16 to their state to experience American culture by living with a family. Kentucky 4-H hosts 15-20 of these youth each year and is looking for potential host families. Host families who would like to host a youth for the four week summer program should have a child in the home between the ages of 11-16. They are paired with a Japanese child of about the same age and same gender. Any family with an appropriate age child is welcome to apply!  An adult chaperone travels with the delegation and stays with a host family. Anyone is welcome to apply to host an adult chaperone (singles, older individuals or couples, families with or without children). 

Location & Dates

Dates vary by program. 

  • Japanese Summer Exchange - July 23-August 18, 2016.  Pick-up and drop off are in the Lexington area.
  • Academic Year Exchange - Begins around August 1 through the end of the school year

Check with your county 4-H agent/extension agent for information or additional information or contact program Coordinator, Mark Mains (email) directly.  

Application Information & Process

  • Online Application - link
    • Choose the State
    • Choose Option 2
    • Fully complete the online application with family picture(s)
  • Reference Form (2 references required from non-family members) - PDF
  • Disclosure Form (required for all individuals 18+ living in the home) - PDF
  • Home Visit - a home visit will be scheduled once the above information is collected.

Other Links

  • Kentucky 4-H FaceBook Page - link
  • States' 4-H International Exchange Program Website - link
  • States' 4-H International Exchange Program FaceBook Page - link

Information for Selected Host Families
  • Acceptance Letter (Letter #1) - Coming Soon!
  • Orientation Letter (Letter #2) - Coming Soon!
  • Orientation Power Point - Coming Soon!

Promotional Information

  • Brochure - PDF

Revised 11/23/15 - MAM