About YFU

Who is YFU?

Youth For Understanding (YFU) Student Exchange New Zealand is an independent, non-profit, non-sectarian, volunteer-based organisation dedicated to young people, families and communities to promote social responsibility, mutual respect, personal growth and intercultural understanding.

YFU Student Exchange was originally established in the United States in 1951 to build friendship between the youth of the United States and Germany after the Second World War. The program was an immediate success and has expanded to 50 countries worldwide.

YFU Student Exchange began in New Zealand in 1985 when a group of volunteers formed YFU New Zealand as an incorporated society. YFU Student Exchange New Zealand is approved as a student exchange organisation by the Ministry of Education in New Zealand. The YFU Student Exchange network of organisaitons has successfully exchanged more than 250 000 students worldwide and has been praised by many organisations and governments for its contribution to intercultural understanding.

The strength of the YFU network of which YFU Student Exchange New Zealand is part are the worldwide quality standards in program management supported by YFU’s International Secretariat which monitors all our programs.

Daily communication among the YFU organisations occurs though an inter-office intranet which links all YFU National offices around the world. This ensures that there is very timely and high quality professional support for students, their host families and their natural parents at all times.

Our Mission

“Make the World your Home”

YFU advances inter-cultural understanding, mutual respect and sound responsibility through education exchanges for youth, families and communities.

Why Go on Exchange with YFU?

YFU Student Exchange has:

  • Over 60 years experience in achieving international understanding through exchange
  • A global network of organizations working to internationally agreed-upon quality program standards
  • A not-for-profit worldwide network, of highly experienced and trained staff and volunteers to advise and support students and families in every country

With such a network YFU can provide you with:

  • A guarantee of country of choice
  • A carefully screened host family according to our worldwide standards
  • A strong support network to help you with any difficulty you may experience while on exchange
  • A trained and dedicated local support person to assist and advise you while on exchange
  • An immersion experience with an educational focus rather than a travel experience

Our Staff

Our New Zealand office is in Palmerston North. Our staff is very experienced in all the educational and cultural aspects of student exchange. They have lived or worked overseas, been host families to exchange students or participated in exchange programs and speak a number of languages. They will provide expert advice and help with any questions or issues you or your parents may have.

Our Coordinators and Volunteers

YFU Student Exchange New Zealand has a network of local coordinators who organize host family and outbound student interviews and YFU Student Exchange orientations and other social activities for students, host families and natural families.

All our volunteers are very experienced in a student exchange. They have all been involved with exchange programs as a participant, a host family or as a natural parent of an exchange student. They are highly trained in supporting and advising families and students. Such experience and training mean YFU Student Exchange New Zealand provides expert advice and support for natural parents, exchange students, host families and to teachers and schools.

Our staff and volunteers in every YFU Student Exchange organization around the world have similar experience and expertise in supporting students through in-country orientations and through regular contact with students and their host families.

Our Service Guarantee to You

YFU will:

  • Provide you with a quality exchange program based on timely and professional advice and support at all stages of the program from the time you enquire until you return home
  • Support your natural parents, throughout your exchange with friendly and timely responses to their queries and concerns
  • Maintain our 24/7 emergency phone to support natural parents, host families, volunteers and students in times of difficulty. Help is always a phone call away in any YFU Student Exchange organisation anywhere in the world
  • Ensure staff and volunteers are open and honest in all their communication and dealings with students, host families, natural parents and with one another in accordance with YFU Student Exchange New Zealand Code of Conduct policy
  • If any of our staff or volunteers do not meet this service guarantee please email nationaldirector@yfu.co.nz