FLAGship Programs

FLAGship Program

 

FLAG's J-1 FLAGship Program is where foreign students from up to 51 various countries come to the United States to live with a host family for one academic semester or year. By joining our FLAGship Program, students become ambassadors of their home country. Students are encouraged to share their own culture and customs with the American host family. It is exactly this type of exchange that fosters global understanding, thereby eliminating stereotypes. The ultimate goal of international student exchange.

While in the United States, the FLAGship exchange students enrich American institutions, as well as American families and businesses. FLAGship exchange students are bright, motivated and leaders in their home countries. Students between the ages of 15-18 are eligible to participate. In addition, the J-1 FLAGship Program includes predeparture orientation meetings, a three-day arrival orientation weekend and personal assistance throughout the exchange student's stay.

*Optional travel is available at an additional cost.

 

Download Our FLAG Brochure

 

 

How Does It Work?

A qualified and personally interviewed international high school student becomes a 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. The exchange students come to the United States with a J-1 approved 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 the American culture.

 

How Are Student Selected?

All FLAG students are personally interviewed and screened by FLAG’s International Partners according to a pre-established selection criteria. These criteria include: good academic standing, age range of 15-18 years old on arrival, demonstration of adequate level of proficiency in English. 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 Visa?

An Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa is for individuals approved to participate in work and study-based exchange visitor programs. Participants are prequalified and are integral to the success of the program. Students may apply for an exchange visitor J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The Exchange Visitor Program fosters global understanding through educational and cultural exchanges. All exchange visitors on a J-1 visa are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.

 

General FAQ's

Becoming an exchange student in today's "borderless" world provides the opportunity to experience another culture - 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 of life will prove to be unforgettable.
Student may participate in a semester (5 month) or year (10 months) program. There is also an option for a shorter stay with FLAG’s specialized Short-Term Programs.
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 in 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 other 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 to the U.S. Our trained Local Coordinators do their best to take into account the profile of each student and that of the host family, recognizing each one’s individuality as well as what they might have in common. Rare as it is, there are some occasions in which the student may have to be moved and FLAG ensures there is always a Local Coordinator nearby to assist both the family and the student in these circumstances.
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 the American school. Normally, international students do well in American schools and as such, maintaining good grades should not be a problem. FLAG Local Coordinators do follow the progress of each student and report to FLAG should anyone fall out of good academic standing with the school.
Exchange student programs can not (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.
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 part of the family verses treating them “special” or as a guest. International students dream of being part of an American family and experiencing 100% immersion into the American culture. What better way to do this than including them into the American day-to-day experience. Even if that does mean washing dishes!
From day one, FLAG orients the exchange student on one of the primary rules of the program -limited contact with home country. This is an important rule for students because it helps them immerse into the American culture faster and with less culture shock. Students are simply unable to detach from the day-to-day life of their natural parents and friends back at home if they stay “plugged in” daily through social media, cell phones and laptops. FLAG works hard at orienting students on the importance of making American friends, spending time with host family and soaking up the American culture. Their stay is limited, so making the most of that time is crucial. Students are encouraged to limit their contact with natural parents to one pre-arranged time per week.
Orientation is a vital first step in each students 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 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 amongst 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.
FLAG International welcomes American and international students, teachers, language teachers, community organizers, homeschool parents or groups, and youth group leaders.

 

The staff at FLAG welcomes the opportunity to make anyone’s dream of interculturalexchange a reality. Please contact FLAG today.