Youth for Understanding USA
Through creating global learning opportunities, YFU promotes international understanding and world peace. YFU has been selected to administer more government and corporate scholarships than any other high school exchange organization. The YFU global network is united by the belief that full cultural immersion is the most effective means to gain the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected and competitive global society.
YFU is different from other intercultural exchange organizations because of its thorough preparation and program support that’s backed by a global team of volunteers, many of whom have been exchange students or host parents themselves. From the moment you become a part of the YFU family, they’re with you every step of the way. Thousands of parents across the globe trust YFU with their teenagers every year, and thousands of students every year choose YFU to help them discover their inner selves.
Make the world your home.
YFU advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities.
- Learning For Life
- Volunteering: Engaged and Dedicated
- Caring: Personal and People‐Oriented
- Valuing Diversity: Inclusive and Fair
- Promoting Quality, Transparency, Sustainability
- Cooperating in International Solidarity
Youth for Understand partners in more than 60 different countries, to provide intercultural exchange programs. YFU provides support and expertise to students and their host families. The YFU global network is united by the belief that full cultural immersion is the most effective means to gain the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected and competitive global society. YFU USA helps provide opportunities for students by working in partnership with governments, corporations, foundations, schools and educators worldwide. Through creating global learning opportunities, YFU promotes international understanding and world peace. YFU has been selected to administer more government and corporate scholarships than any other high school exchange organization.
Youth For Understanding is one of the world’s oldest, largest and most respected intercultural exchange programs. YFU's history began very humbly in the United States in 1951 in an effort to heal the wounds of World War II. Understanding that the hardships prevalent in Germany after World War II were having devastating effects on the country's youth, placing them in a cycle of bitterness, hopelessness, and despair, American minister John Eberly made a proposal to church leaders. He asked to bring teenagers from war-torn Germany to the United States to live with a family and attend high school for a year. In 1951, German teenagers from Germany and Austria were selected by the Army of the Occupation to come to live in the United States with American families for one year under the auspices of the US Department of State. In 1955, the first American teenagers went to Europe during summer vacation for ten weeks. These students were placed in European families with the assistance of returned exchange students and their parents. In the mid-fifties, the program grew to include Scandinavia, and later expanded to western and central Europe. YFU bridged the Pacific in 1958 when the first students came from Japan. The Pacific program now also includes Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, and China.
Youth For Understanding was introduced to Latin America in 1958, beginning with Mexico; South American countries opened their doors to YFU in 1959. Status as a non-profit educational organization was achieved in 1964. The International Center relocated from Ann Arbor to Washington, DC in 1978.