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Welcome to our FLAGship J-1 Visa Program

Our FLAGship J-1 Visa (Exchange Visitor Program) is where foreign students from over 51 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 the FLAGship Program Works

A qualified and personally interviewed international high school student becomes part of 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. Exchange students come to the United States with a J-1 Visa, their own spending money, a round-trip airplane ticket and full medical insurance. More importantly, they carry with them the excitement and enthusiasm to learn more about the U.S. through 100% immersion in American culture.

How Are Students Selected?

All FLAG students are personally interviewed and screened by FLAG’s International Partners in accordance with pre-established selection criteria. These criteria include: good academic standing, an age range of 15-18 years old on arrival, and demonstration of adequate level of proficiency in the English language. After the international partner has approved the student, the complete portfolio is sent to FLAG’s Central Office in the U.S. for final review and approval. FLAG is highly selective regarding student’s qualifications.

What is a J-1 (Exchange Visitor Program) Visa?

A J-1 Visa, now commonly referred to as an Exchange Visitor (EV) Non-Immigrant Visa is for individuals approved to participate in work and study-based exchange visitor program. Participants are prequalified which is integral to the success of the program. Students may apply for a J-1 (Exchange Visitor Program) Visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program fosters global understanding through educational and cultural exchanges. All exchange visitors on an approved J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Visa are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.

program FAQ's

You've Got Questions. We've Got Answers.

Some of our Most Common FLAGship Program Questions:

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 at 1-800-942-3524.

Student FAQ's

Why become an exchange student?
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.
How long do students stay in the U.S.?
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 Programs.
Where do students stay while in the US?
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. 

Orientation FAQ's

What is the FLAGship student orientation?
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 other students, 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.
Do students receive a handbook?
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 is given the handbook during their arrival orientation.
Does FLAG have rules for students?
Yes! FLAG exchange students are expected to obey all the FLAG rules and policies while in the U.S. on their program. Should a student break a rule, they will have their program terminated. *Host Parents are also provided with a Host Family Handbook, which contains information on these rules.

Host Family FAQ's

What types of families host students?
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.
What happens if a student and host family are incompatible?
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.
What rules do students follow in the host home?
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!
What if a problem arises?
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. However, if further issues arise or the placement does not work out, FLAG assumes the responsibility of moving the student to another host family.

School FAQ's

Do students have to maintain good grades?
Absolutely. The FLAGship program is an academic as well as cultural exchange program. Just as in their home countries, students are expected to maintain at least a “C” average in their American schools. 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.
Do Exchange Visitor Program students with senior status automatically graduate?
Exchange student programs cannot (and should not) guarantee a high school diploma to any international student. Schools make this determination, not the exchange program. While many schools do permit international students to graduate and receive official diplomas, others do not.