Phase 4: Pre-Departure Preparations

InterExchange provides participants with a program handbook and our Inside the USA guide, but you should develop additional pre-departure materials and orientation programs to prepare participants for their time in the U.S. We also require that participants complete a mandatory online orientation, which can be accessed through their online application dashboard.

This orientation is 45 minutes and gives participants an overview of what to expect in the U.S. and how to prepare for their program. Participants should complete this orientation prior to arriving in the U.S. but must do so no later than 10 days after arrival or they will not be permitted to remain in the U.S.

This is a very important requirement, and we request your assistance with ensuring your participants complete the orientation. In addition to our resources, participants are encouraged to seek out additional information on their own as well.


InterExchange does not provide housing. Some employers offer housing as part of the participant’s compensation, but most employers are not able to supply this benefit. However, employers can provide participants with resources like local websites and apps to find affordable options. Additionally, employers are familiar with their cities and can advise participants on which neighborhoods to search and the expected price ranges for each location.

We also encourage International Cooperators to serve as a resource. You may consider putting new participants in touch with past or current participants who have lived in the same cities to ask for recommendations and advice. Further, some participants pass along apartments and cars to incoming participants once their program ends. Anything you can do to facilitate this sort of sharing process will benefit the participants. You may also refer participants to the Housing Information section of our website.

Culture Shock & Preparedness for Cultural Exchange

During the initial screening process, you will determine whether potential applicants are prepared for a cultural exchange program. It is recommended that you discuss topics such as culture shock and the differences between their home country and the U.S., especially with regard to American culture and business practices. The more information you provide, the better prepared participants will be once they arrive in the U.S.

Please feel free to refer participants to our Cultural Compass feature to find tips and recommendations for learning about life in the U.S., as well as our tips on managing culture shock.

Next: Phase 5: Arrival in the United States »

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation