Interchange: age 12-13/13-14/14-15 years, duration 2*2 or 2*3 or 2*4 weeks

Two-way family exchange program for 12–15 year olds; each exchange lasts between 14 to 28 days

The first Interchange was held in 1961.

While based on the same educational principles as CISV’s camp-based programs, Interchange encourages a deeper encounter between two cultures by placing young people within families. Group activities during the exchange, such as a mini-camp, are a vital complement to the in-depth family experience.

Interchange takes place in two ‘phases’ – your child joins a delegation that visits another country and is hosted there by a CISV family. Then in return you and your family host a child from the delegation from the country your child visited. Interchange exchanges give your whole family the chance to experience another culture and make new friends and to be part of your local CISV community.

An experience for your whole family

An Interchange involves not just your child but the whole family. As part of your child’s Interchange, you will host a child from another country in your home and get involved with local CISV social and educational activities. CISV offers your family a taste of the CISV experience along with dedicated support and advice.

 

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weeks
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years age range (12-13, 13-14 or 14-15)
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nations
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or more weeks at a host family

Video

  • Caring for the homeless – an IPP in Leeds

    Through the International People's Project (IPP) I had the opportunity to hear a voice that is rarely heard elsewhere. Those of homeless people. We were a group of 27 participants, from 13 different countries, who experienced this special experience in Leeds, England on a two-week camp thanks to our partner organization St Anne's Community Services. We got to know the structure of this initiative and the people behind the projects. Our main task was above all to help the clients to eat with them, to have conversations and to get to know them. This experience has taught us that you can land on the street for a variety of reasons, often structural. Being homeless is rarely a decision. These people have lost all hope of a functioning civilian system. A man, 30 years old, homeless and alcoholic, says to us: "Do not condemn and you will not be condemned, there are always reasons". Listening to these people, talking to them, getting to know them, not judging them was the most valuable experience that we were able to experience in this project. We have realized that listening is the first important step. Often, decisions are taken on these people and (pre-) judgments about them without being given the opportunity to share their opinions. Often we heard that everyone can become homeless. During our time at this partner organization, we met homeless people with very different backgrounds. With this IPP, we have been able to make a small change in this local community with little time, and we ourselves have learned a great deal during those two weeks.

    Tanja, Teilnehmerin
  • Village participant at age 11, written 2 years later

    For me, my Village in Rome was a great first experience with CISV. There, for the first time, I dealt with topics such as poverty, racism and world peace in a playful way. That was exhausting, but instructive. And from the PreCamp I already knew a bit, what to expect. In between there were many games, and a lot of sports. I found many new friends. It took a while to get all of us together, but then it went well and was really funny.

    My host families were really cool and showed me a lot. That gave me an idea of ​​the country.

    To many children who were at my camp and to a JC, I still have loose contact today. It was a great experience. I like to remember it. Since then I have been to two Youth Meetings and had an Interchange. And on New Year's Eve, I drive away again with CISV. I hope to meet someone from my village again.

    M.H.
  • Mother, several children in CISV

    As my 11-year-old said he would like to go abroad for four weeks to an international camp, I thought that was a good idea. I hoped that contact with peers from other cultures would broaden their horizons and bring them both social and language skills. When he came back, I was surprised how much he had developed in both respects. He suddenly had friends all over the world, some of whom he still has contact with today, but also developed a tremendous understanding of foreign languages. The camp was definitely not an "English grammar learning camp", it took away any fear of being alien and gave it a lot of openness. At CISV Camps, children learn about how living together works, even if not all are the same. How to deal with being different. This camp had another epilogue: two months later, the then-almost twelve-year-old flew to Sweden alone and fulfilled his only birthday wish: to visit his Swedish friends for a few days. These experiences are for him to this day "highlights" of his childhood and youth. In the meantime, all my children are CISV children, we have a lot of experiences, also as homestay and interchange family. And I still think it's an important part of their social and emotional education to enable my children to experience CISV.

    Katharina H.
  • Village Leader with CISV Childhood Experience

    My first time CISV was nineteen years ago. At that time I was eleven, drove to Graz as a rather cautious and rather closed child and came home after four weeks rather dirty, rich in experiences and knowledge and with a bunch of new friends. (First of all I think I demonstrated my Egyptian bellydance to my family.) I was rather cautious, but in these 4 weeks I not only learned that different languages ​​and cultures do not have to be obstacles, but that it was perfectly okay, as I was, in all my idiosyncrasies, completely independent of my familial, cultural, other socialization. In the summer of 2014, I experienced my sixth CISV camp. I write "mine" because, as with any previous CISV experience, I have grown back a bit, from myself to the people I met, because I have faced new challenges. But actually I should write: "ours" - because I was allowed to accompany four great, eleven-year-old children as they made friendships, became more open, interested, self-confident; how they began asking questions and perceiving injustices, how they consciously learned their own origins and how they learned to think globally, how they behaved in solidarity and empathy, and how they helped make these 4 weeks an unforgettable experience for all. Of all my CISV experiences, I appreciate my last two when I was allowed to be Leader at Villages, most of all: Because I helped shape why CISV was founded and because I've seen a well-functioning and harmonious Leaders Group (which also made up of very different personalities!) has created a safe and loving environment for a motley troupe of children, within which calm children suddenly voiced opinions, anxious children could forget their homesickness, self-confident children acted as ties of the group.  

    Cathrin