Frequently Asked Questions
What are the program dates and duration?
You can participate any time of year and for any duration between 1 and 3 months. Let us know your desired length, and we’ll look for a host family open to that time! The highest demand for tutors occurs in September, October, January, and February, however, we have placements year-round. Summer placements are limited, though.
Can I add additional weeks to my program once I’m abroad?
You must confirm your total program duration prior to your program start date.
What kind of experience do I need?
This program is open to anyone who likes working with young people and is prepared for the experience of immersion with a host family abroad. That being said, it’s best if you’ve had some experience working with youth such as babysitting, tutoring, coaching, student/assistant teaching, classroom teaching, being a camp counselor or volunteering with kids.
How does the program fee discount work if I’m taking a TEFL course?
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification is not required to participate in the program, but we recommend getting certified if you’ve never taught English before. Also, if you’re interested in paid classroom roles in the future you might consider obtaining a TEFL certificate as this is often a requirement.
If you take a TEFL course with International TEFL Academy, you’ll receive $100 off your program fee. International TEFL Academy offers internationally recognized online and in-person TEFL courses. Mention InterExchange and you’ll also get $50 off TEFL tuition (in addition to any promotions they are running)!
Please note that your TEFL course must be with International TEFL Academy in order to qualify for this discount.
Do I need to know French?
Nope. You don’t need to know French, nor will you be required to take French classes abroad (although you’re welcome to if you want!) Usually, at least one member of your host family will speak conversational English. We encourage you to at least learn the basics, as it will help you learn more about the culture.
When should I submit my application?
Aim to submit your application at least three months before you’d like to start. You’re welcome to apply earlier if you’d like, which will give us more time to find the most suitable placement for you.
What are host families like?
Our French partner screens all of our host families for safety and ensures they understand the program. Just as our applicants here in the U.S. must, all families submit applications and references, have an interview, and pay a program fee.
The makeup of our French host families varies, but they’re well known for being welcoming and excited about cultural exchange. Most of our families are middle class and have children in either elementary or middle school.
How does the host family matching process work?
We’ll look for a family that’s open to your desired duration and start date. Once we have a potential match, we’ll email you their profile and encourage you to set-up a video call so you can get to know each other better. We’ll provide an interview guide so you can make the most of your call and ensure it’s a good fit. We usually present one family at a time, and most participants match with the first family presented.
The host family matching process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks (sometimes longer if you applied more than three months in advance).
Where will I be living?
Most families are in the outskirts of Paris. Sometimes we have placements in the South of France.
Can I be placed with or close to a friend?
Families can only host one participant but if you’d like to be placed close to a friend, we’ll do our best!
Will I be able to connect with other English Tutors in France?
Absolutely! We’ll connect you with other participants throughout the country at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for our InterExchange participants in France. Our in-country partner will also help you connect with other participants.
If I’m not accepted into the program will I receive a refund?
Yes. We have high acceptance rates, but in the unlikely event that we can’t accept your application you’ll receive a full refund of the deposit.
If I decide not to work with a presented family, am I eligible for a refund?
Please see the stipulations of our refund policy.
Will I have Internet access?
The majority of our families have Internet access in their homes.
Do I need a visa?
Nope! U.S. citizens don’t need visas to enter the Schengen area (which includes France) and are permitted to stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. You’ll simply enter France with your valid U.S. passport. For programs starting in 2021 or later you will likely need to obtain an ETIAS authorization online before traveling.
Can I earn money while on the program?
This is a voluntary and unpaid position. Your host family provides a private bedroom and all meals, so your major living expenses will be covered.
Why do I have to pay for a volunteer program?
InterExchange is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, which aims to keep program costs low for participants. That being said, program fees make it possible for us to promote our programs, pay staff to review applications and provide support, cover costs of international partner agencies, and reinvest in the InterExchange Foundation so we can support even more aspiring global citizens. If you have any questions about the fee for your program please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.