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). 

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

In 2017-2018 Kentucky will host two Japanese Academic Year Program exchange students. We are excited for this opportunity and invite you to get involved! 


Four Week Short-Term Inbound Program:
  • July 23rd -August 17th
  • Pick-up and drop-off are in the Louisville or Lexington area. 
  • Program Flyer
  • Contact your county extension office for more information (link). 
Academic Year Program:
  • Begins in August and ends around May. 
  • Program Flyer 
  • Contact your county extension office for more information (link). 


  • Online Application - APPLY ONLINE
  • Choose the State
  • Choose Option 2
  • Fully complete the online application with family picture(s)
  • Reference Form (2 references required from non-family members)-Online
  • Disclosure Form (required for all individuals 18+ living in the home) -Online
  • Home Visit - a home visit will be scheduled once the above information is collected.
  • Camp Form - this form is used to receive permission for the delegate to participate in summer camps (sports camps, 4-H camp, church camps). Expenses are paid by the program.  - PDF
  • Acceptance Letter & Directions (Information Packet #1)
  • Orientation Letter & Cultural Information (Information Packet #2)
  • Orientation Power Point 
  • Incident & Auto Accident Report form - link
  • Travel Release Form 
  • Departure Letter/Information

Additional Information

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.

Volunteer Opportunties

The International Exchange Programs in Kentucky cannot be possible without families who volunteer to host exchange students. Click this link to sign-up! 

State Contact:  Rachel E. Noble | | 859.218.0991

Revised 1/26/17 - REN