International Cultural Exchange Services

Enriching Our World Through Cultural Exchange

International Cultural Exchange Services (ICES) is an international nonprofit youth exchange organization committed to educational study abroad programs. For almost three decades ICES has promoted a more peaceful world by advancing international awareness and cultural understanding to thousands of American families and exchange students from all over the world.


ICES was founded in 1991 by John J. Crist, as the President/CEO. He has worked in the U.S. as well as Sweden, Spain, Brazil and England and has been in the student exchange industry for over 35 years. The ICES staff truly understands the challenges that exchange students may face; many of the team members have lived abroad and learned another language while overcoming cultural differences. This understanding and compassion is transmitted through ICES’s exceptional customer service.

As the global community we live in becomes increasingly interdependent and subject to change, today’s young people will face numerous challenges on the journey to becoming tomorrow’s leaders. We believe the foreign student exchange experience helps young people of all nationalities embrace those challenges and discover new opportunities that will help them dream and achieve more than they ever thought possible.

In May of 2016 ICES developed the IQ USA brand to define its Academic Service, F-1 & Short-Term programs. With the strength of 25 years in business, ICES and IQ USA offer experience in J-1 & F-1, Short-Term and Academic Service programs along with a reciprocal program, the High School Study Abroad for American students!


ICES is a designated as an official J-1 sponsor through the U.S. Department of State. They meet meticulous government regulations that assure the students, partners and host families have safe and positive experiences. 

ICES has been a member of the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange (ALLIANCE) since 1997. They have maintained a full listing with the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) for 25 years. 

ICES President John J. Crist, has served four terms on the CSIET Board of Directors. CSIET establishes standards for operating international exchange programs, they monitor compliance and disseminate information regarding international educational travel organizations. 


With 38 office staff members and a team of 425 local coordinators, they are dedicated to providing participants with experiences that will have a positive impact on their lives for years to come. The team manages over 1,300 students yearly, with a network of school partners in all 50 states. The students come from 39 countries and are supervised by trained coordinators and compassionate student counselors.


The partners help ICES to recruit and screen students ensuring that each student is emotionally prepared for the challenges inherent in studying abroad. The partners administer language exams and conduct interviews with students and parents prior to accepting them into the ICES program. The ICES president believes in building long-term relationships that allow them to learn and understand their partners’ expectations so they can provide excellent service to our international program participants.


U.S. schools play an important role in the success of the inbound programs. ICES staff focus on building and strengthening relationships with schools across the nation. The school partners work closely with ICES to serve the best interest of the students and host families.


ICES High School Exchange Programs for American Students offer the students the opportunity to explore the world and learn about different cultures while learning about themselves.

Students who are ready to embark on their Study Abroad experience may choose the desired program and country right away, while high school students still in the process can learn more about student exchange by becoming a volunteer in the Global Ambassador Program for American High School students.


As an American who can speak a second language, you will be a more desirable candidate in the job market and you will gain a new perspective for the ever-changing global world we live in.

Learning a foreign language through immersion will accelerate the learning process, and you will become fluent in no time. A study abroad experience will change your life; you will meet another culture head-on while making new friends that may be with you for life! It is not only about the fun times you will have, this experience with help you grow as an adult while giving you challenges that will shape who you will become.

ICES High School Study Abroad Programs are affordable and may be customized to meet your specific needs. You decide if you want to study for a year or just a semester, and ICES can provide both public and private school alternatives in your country of choice. ICES High School Study Abroad Programs for American Students are available in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Oceania.

A trained local coordinator will place American students with pre-screened and carefully selected host families who have a genuine desire to share their culture.


The rewards of hosting an International Exchange Student are many; your family will learn and grow with the experience as you build a life-long relationship! Join thousands of other families and host a student today! Your adventure begins here.


Your role as a host family is to provide room & board and a nurturing home environment for your exchange student. The rewards of hosting are many; your family will learn and grow with the experience as you build life-long friendships. 

ICES provides host families a network of support starting at the local level. The trained local coordinators are available to help with any questions or concerns you and your family may have during the hosting experience. Local coordinators will visit your home and provide you with detailed information about the hosting experience, while answering all of your questions. Host families are given an orientation before their students’ arrival to ensure they understand all aspects of hosting.


Students around the world contemplate and dream about an exchange experience, they wonder what things will look like once they are actually living with an American family and going to school. The impact an exchange experience has on these students is profound and meaningful. Being a host family not only gives students a place to call home, it changes their view on Americans, their perspective on life – it gives them the gift of friendship and of “family.” As you change their lives, you change yours, cultural differences melt away and the rewards of hosting come with the realization that you made a difference – you changed lives! 

If you are interested in hosting a student, please call (800) 344-3566, they have an energetic and knowledgeable staff that is happy to tell you more about the hosting experience.


International high school students from Europe, Latin America, Asia, Oceania and Africa are excited to become a part of your family. Their partners overseas carefully select and pre-screen students, ICES follows up with additional screening for maturity and adaptability. Students come with medical coverage and their own spending money, they participate in a pre-departure orientation as well as an ICES arrival orientation so they understand the rules and expectations of their program.

  • Program length is 5 or 10 months
  • Students are between the ages of 15 -18
  • Arrival dates are during the months of August and January


While the summer program students may vary in age and language abilities, they all share the same desire to experience life with an American family. Hosting a summer program student will bring culturally rich experiences to your family and community. In the short time they are here, the students not only improve their English, but learn about American culture from their experiences with your family.

  • Programs length is 1- 6 weeks
  • Students are 12-18 years of age
  • Programs also start in January
  • Students typically come as part of a group with adult chaperons

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