Exchange Students come from all over the world. I’d say that the last “normal” (pre-pandemic) year was 2019. I took a look at July 2019 J-Visa issuance and noted the range of countries represented. Just look at the L’s. There were students from Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Luxembourg! Where are your students from?
The High School Exchange Visitor Program is one of the most popular programs of all the exchange programs. To me, the high school exchange visitor is synonymous with “exchange student”. You, the school administrator, are an important cog in the wheel of public diplomacy as we welcome these future world leaders to our US high school campuses. Your exchange student of today will be a political, social or business leader of tomorrow.
Exchange programs reach far and wide around the globe, but still, you can see from the chart below that about half of the J-1 exchange students come to the USA from European countries. If you include F-Visa students, the picture changes with many more Asian countries taking the leading spots. But, for the traditional J-Visa exchange, Germany, Spain and Italy hold the top three spots. Note that even in 2020, with the impact of COVID-19, the relative positioning of the countries has remained pretty much the same.
As students are arriving now in schools across the country, we will be looking to update you on trends we see. The Delta variant is having a significant impact on travel and placements, and some countries are more affected than others with difficulties in opening embassies and consulates for visa appointments. It looks like we might have more applications this year for January semester enrollments as well. As we hear from sponsors and schools, we will keep you informed.
We also know you are experiencing students who are homesick, adjusting to a second language, fitting in with a new family. We encourage you to utilize the resources provided by the local coordinator of your program sponsor. Additionally, this newsletter, in the future, will interview leaders in the field to help you make your exchange program even more successful.