Section 3: International Youth Exchange

This is an extract from the CYEC Youth Exchange Starter Pack. You can download a full copy of the pack here and you can download the section you are currently viewing from the bottom of this page.

International Youth Exchange


  • an equal partnership between two youth groups across national boundaries


  • young people of a common age (15 – 25 year olds)
  • sharing some interests in common
  • coming from a local community


  • of ideas, views, attitudes and culture
  • learning to live and work together
  • sharing similarities and differences in ways of life
  • two-way (reciprocal) – groups visit and host each other

Youth exchanges are a popular way of experiencing another country and culture. They are not a holiday, but a chance to meet and have meaningful contact with young people from another country and find out about their lives. They give you an authentic experience - a chance to get under the skin of another culture and become part of a local community, not simply a tourist.

Commonwealth youth exchanges aim to contribute to better international and inter-cultural understanding. They can also help increase your understanding of a fast changing and globalising world. They are a rewarding and challenging experience of active global citizenship. They celebrate diversity and Commonwealth values.

They also aim to contribute to young people’s personal and social development. Exchanges often take 2+ years to develop and complete. This allows everyone the time to participate fully in all the planning, organisation and decision-making and to learn new skills. For this reason youth exchanges are a very powerful instrument for young people’s development.

There are over 50 Commonwealth countries with which you could do an exchange - check out the map. Think about where your group already has international links that could become a youth exchange partnership. CYEC’s Handbook ‘Contact’ gives further ideas on how to find a partner group.

Attached files

Download Section 3 of the Exchange Pack116.59 KB