University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

4-H International Exchange Program (LABO)


4-H International Exchange Programs 

Bringing the WORLD to your door!



Video:  Summer Inbound Program

Do you want to:

  • Learn more about Japanese culture, challenge and expand your horizons and grow as a person?
  • Create a lifelong friendship with a person from another continent and culture?
  • Share your American home, culture, family and friends with a visitor from another country?
  • Become a host family!  Click here to request an information call/email.
  • Program Dates - July 25 - August 20, 2015

What is the 4-H International Exchange Program?

 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 10-15 of these youth each year and is looking for potential host families. 

Host families who would like to host a youth 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)

Photos from the 4-H International Day & Depature Ceremony for LABO Youth at the Kentucky State Fair!


What do we do with our 4-week exchange student?

The short answer is...whatever you normally do in your home!!  The Japanese youth who participate in this program are interested in learning about the daily life of the average american family.  For some this might mean swimming all summer at the pool and playing video games.  For others, it might mean working on the family farm all day.  Whatever your family does, the exchange student should be doing it right along with you!  The best way to learn about a culture is to live it!  The Japanese youth are in the US from mid-July to mid-August.  During the final days of their homestay, they often attend classes with their host brother or sister (per the schools policies). 

 National Website for the States' 4-H International Exchange Program 


What is the application process?

Start by "Clicking Here" to start filling out your online application.  Applications are accepted year round.  There is no obligation when requesting information or beginning an application.  The application process consists of an application about your family, criminal background checks for all adults in the home, reference checks and an in-home interview.  Safety for both the hosting family and the Japanese guest are our highest concern!  Applications are usually sent out from January to April with a 100% placement goal of May 1st. 


How do I sign up?

You can "Click Here" to recieve more information or you can contact the program coordinator, Mark Mains at  You can also contact your county 4-H agent.  A list of offices and contact information can be found by "Clicking Here"


More Information

Below is more information for parents, youth and 4-H agents interested in participating in or maketing this program.  For the most current information, contact Mark Mains at ( or your county 4-H agent!


After a LONG flight, the Japanese youth are excited about their first time in the USA!
Each Japanese youth goes through a short "adoption" ceremony where they are introduced to their new host family and host brother/sister!
The Japanese exchange youth enjoy a healthy dinner on their first night in Kentucky!


Updated 2/4/15 MAM