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4-H Youth Development

Global Citizenship

Due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, most Kansas 4-H International Exchange Programs for summer 2021 have been cancelled.  The Kansas 4-H Japan Exchange program traveling to Japan and delegates from Japan living with Kansas 4-H host families will operate during summer 2021. 

Kansas 4-H Exchange Programs are truly "learn by doing" experiences in global citizenship. Kansas 4-H Exchange Programs are conducted by Kansas 4-H Youth Development and K-State Research and Extension. Kansas 4-H Exchange Programs began in Kansas with the International Farm Youth Exchange, then later named the International 4-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) Program when 17 Americans traveled to European countries in 1948 to fulfill a dream of striving for world peace through understanding. Kansas 4-H International Exchange Programs today collaborate with the IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. for exchanges with 4-H alumni from 19-25 years old. In addition, Kansas 4-H collaborates with States' 4-H International Exchange Programs. S4-H Programs involve 4-H aged youth from 12-18 years old. Both IFYE and S4-H are separate programs for different age groups. They are true partners promoting cross-cultural and global education programs. 

Opportunities to travel are available for 4-H members and alumni between ages 13 and 26. The application deadline for all travel options for 2022 will be November 1, 2021, for full consideration. Other arrangements must first be cleared with Mary Kay Munson. Screening interviews and the first orientation session will be held in late November in the Junction City, KS area.  Specific questions may be directed to Mary Kay Munson, Kansas 4-H International Exchange Coordinator at 785-238-3631 or e-mail munson@ksbroadband.net.

Kansas 4-H has also been participating with the Kansas 4-H-Japanese Exchange since 1977, in collaboration with S4-H Programs.  Kansas 4-H again will be hosting Japanese youth and adult chaperones in Kansas from mid-July to mid-August.  We will need host families for the four-week period. If your family would like to get involved or you would like to know more details about hosting a Japanese youth in your home, please contact Aliah Mestovich Seay, Extension 4-H Specialist & Faculty Liaison for Global Citizenship & Exchange Programs; 785-532-5800; and email: aliah@ksu.edu.

Kansas 4-H & States' 4-H International Exchange Programs (S4-H)

States' 4-H International Exchange Programs (S4-H) collaborates with participating states (including Kansas) in coordinating 4-H exchanges for 4-H members 12-18 years old with partner organizations. Current partner organizations include Labo and LEX in Japan; Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) in the U.S. State Department; Finnish Suomen 4-H-Litto; National 4-S Foundation of Costa Rica; Norske 4H; Korean 4-H, Taiwanese 4H and Romania.  

Many people have fond memories of Labo and LEX.  Here is a brief history of both.  Labo:  In 1971, the two-way Labo/4-H exchange program officially began. Kansas began exchanges with Labo in 1977. Kansas has hosted more than 3,100 representatives of the Labo program. In addition to sending Japanese youth to the U.S., Labo hosts youth from U.S. 4-H clubs.  LEX - The Institute of Language, Experience, and Exchange (LEX), was founded in 1981 and began sending youth to Kansas and the USA in 1982 and continues two-way exchanges. LEX involves parents and their children in small groups learning together languages, songs and games from other countries.

IFYE Association of the USA, Inc.

Kansas has a long history of involvement in cross-cultural exchange programs beginning with sending one of the first International Farm Youth Exchange delegates in 1948. Kansas partners with the IFYE Association of the USA, Inc., and with 4-H and rural youth organizations to provide home stays in countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. IFYE Representatives are unmarried young adults, 19-25 years old, who spend generally from three to six months living with host families learning their culture.

2021 Exchange Opportunities

4-H Member (S4-H Program) Opportunities (ages 15-18)

  • Japan (ages 12-18)

4-H Alumni (IFYE) Opportunities

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Botswana
  • Costa Rica
  • Denmark
  • England
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Norway
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Wales
  • Other Countries May be Possible