Be Your Home Country Ambassador!

The FLAGship Program
Welcome to our FLAG J-1 Visa Program

Our FLAG (Exchange Visitor) Program is where international students from over 25 countries around the world come to the United States to live with an American host family for one academic semester or year. By joining our FLAGship Program, students become ambassadors of their home country and are encouraged to share their own culture and customs with their American host family. It is exactly this type of exchange that fosters global understanding, thereby eliminating stereotypes - the ultimate goal of international student exchange.

How Does It Work?
Students Apply & Interview

An International Partner personally screens and interviews eligible students between 15-18 years old in accordance with rigorous selection criteria. After approval, the student's portfolio is sent to FLAG’s Central Office in the U.S. for final review and approval.

Get Started
Students Receive a J-1 Visa

The student applies for a J-1 Visa, required for a study-based exchange program. The goal of the FLAGship program is to foster global understanding through educational and cultural exchanges. Students return to their home country to share their exchange experiences.

Learn More
Students Join a Host Family

After a student qualifies, they join an American host family for one academic year (10 months) or semester (5 months) while attending a local high school as a full-time student. They arrive with their J-1 Visa, spending money, round-trip ticket and full medical insurance.

Learn About Hosting

Since 1989, FLAG has placed more than 6,500 students from 25 countries around the globe.
FLAGship Program FAQs
We know that the decision to embark on a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is a life-changing event. Below you will find some of the most common questions we are asked about the Exchange Visitor Program experience as a whole. If you have any additional questions not addressed below, please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 1-800-942-3524 (FLAG) or by emailing
Becoming an exchange student in today's "borderless" world provides the opportunity to experience another culture and an experience of a lifetime. The interest in expanding horizons to learn about another culture, while sharing one’s own culture and a different of way life, will prove to be unforgettable.
Students may participate in a semester (5 month) or year (10 month) long program. There is also an option for a shorter stay with FLAG’s specialized Short-Term Program.
FLAG students are matched with volunteer host families who provide room and board for the international student during their stay in the U.S. Students can expect to be treated like a real family member and not merely a visitor.
FLAG works to place students with families who share common interests and hobbies. Host families come in all shapes and sizes. Some families have young children, high school aged children or no children at all (even empty nesters!). Some families have two parents and others have a single parent. Families come from all religious backgrounds, ethnicity types and economic statuses.
FLAG international students are carefully matched with potential host families for compatibility before the student arrives in the U.S. Our trained Local Coordinators do their best to take into account the profile of each student as well as that of the host family, recognizing each one’s individuality and what they might have in common. Rare as it is, there are some occasions where the student may have to be moved. FLAG ensures there is always a Local Coordinator nearby to assist both the family and the student in these circumstances.
The best advice FLAG can give any host family is this - treat the student as you would your own child. Students are to follow the exact same rules as the rest of the host siblings (same curfews, same chores, etc.). This is the best way to make the student feel like they are part of the family versus treating them “special” or as a guest. International students dream of being a part of an American family and experiencing 100% immersion into American culture. What better way to do this than to include them in the American day-to-day experience, even if it means washing dishes!
FLAG has great success in placing the right participants with the right host parents. Although, we do understand that sometimes a problem or issue may arise, FLAG provides extensive personalized support throughout the year directly to both the host family and the student. Each student is assigned a local FLAG Coordinator. If further issues arise or the placement does not work out, FLAG assumes the responsibility of moving the student to another host family.
Orientation is a vital first step in each student's journey towards a successful and positive program. Orientation is so many things to each student: an opportunity to meet others, the beginning of a support system, a chance to let reality set in that their journey has officially begun, a refresher on rules, a place to learn coping mechanisms, and it's where they meet alumni and staff. For everyone, it is a chance to create lifelong friendships with like-minded teenagers from around the world. It is an opportunity to learn among peers who have many of the same goals but come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and stories. FLAG believes so strongly in the importance of this arrival orientation that it has become mandatory for all FLAGship students.
Yes! All students are given a handbook that outlines the policies, procedures and regulations they must follow during their entire program stay in the U.S. Each student receives the handbook before departing their home country.
Yes! All FLAG students and their natural parents are informed about FLAG's program rules as part of the application process and sign an Agreement to abide by them. All students attend specialized orientation meetings before departing their home country and after arrival in the U.S. Violation of program rules may result in disciplinary actions including the possibility of program termination depending on seriousness. Host parents also receive a specialized orientation prior to arrival of the student, and are provided with a Host Family Handbook, which contains information on all program rules.
Absolutely. The FLAGship program is an academic, as well as cultural exchange program. FLAG expects students to maintain at least a “C” in each of their U.S. classes. Normally, international students do well in American schools and as such, maintaining good grades should not be a problem. FLAG Local Coordinators follow the progress of each student and report to FLAG should anyone fall out of good academic standing with their school.
Exchange student programs cannot (and should not) guarantee a high school diploma to any international student. Schools make this determination, not the exchange program. Some schools do permit international students to graduate and receive official diplomas, others do not.