WHAT IS FOUNDATION FOR INTERCULTURAL TRAVEL?
Since 1988, the founders of Foundation for Intercultural Travel (F.I.T.) have worked side by side
with some of the largest, and some of the best exchange student programs in the industry. In
1996 Foundation for Intercultural Travel (F.I.T.) was established to answer the need for a more
personalized student exchange program. The experience the program‚Äôs senior staff brings to F.I.T. is immeasurable. Understanding the needs of the student, the host family and the school is paramount to the success of any student exchange organization. At F.I.T. we pride ourselves on providing the absolute highest level of support throughout the exchange to all the participants. F.I.T. maintains independent branches throughout the globe. Our Headquarters are in New York, and our U.S. operations because of its centralized location, is based in North Carolina.
F.I.T. is designated as an exchange visitor program by the U.S. State Department, a privilege
earned only by years of proven experience in student exchange. This privilege earns F.I.T. the
right to issue DS-2019 forms to international teens to become exchange students to the United
States. These DS-2019 forms, when processed in their home country, become a J-1 visa. This
means that F.I.T., not the student‚Äôs American High School is the sponsor of the student. Council
on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), based on the basis of material
submitted and reviewed grants full listing to Foundation for Intercultural Travel, Inc. in the
2008-2009 Advisory List..
Working in cooperation with a few select programs in various countries, F.I.T. carefully screens
all incoming applicants with great scrutiny. All too aware of the ramifications of bringing in a
student ill prepared to succeed, F.I.T. imposes a stringent set of standards for our partner
programs to utilize when considering prospective applicants. Naturally, our own overseas
offices employ the same strict guidelines for accepting students. ALL F.I.T. students MUST
possess an English level of 7.0 or higher (compared to most programs that only require a 5.0) on
a scale of 1-10 with 10 representing complete fluency. We require each applicant to provide us
with a certified copy of his/her complete transcripts for the past 3 years, a school
recommendation, a written AND ORAL application, a SLEP test, a complete medical report with
immunization history and an English speaking interviewer‚Äôs full report. All interviews for
prospective F.I.T. applicants are conducted solely in English. ALL F.I.T. students MUST attend
a post-arrival orientation.
Each F.I.T. host family is carefully selected only after an extensive application process which
includes but is not limited to; an in-home interview, a complete verification of references, a
visual review of the family and residence by an experienced staff member, and finally the written
acceptance of the student into the host family‚Äòs local High School. We also make it part of our
mission to match students and host families based on common interests. F.I.T. makes every
effort to learn about its host families because we fully recognize that even the best of students
may not reach their full potential unless the host family is compatible. Even then, F.I.T. does not
rest. A senior staff member attends each post-arrival orientation during which time we get to
know our families even better.
F.I.T. Local Area Representatives are carefully screened and then are provided with initial
training necessary to get started. However, FIRST YEAR REPRESENTATIVES DO NOT
WORK ALONE. Each new representative is ‚Äúpartnered‚Äù with one of our program‚Äôs more
experienced, tenured staff members who offers guidance and provides ongoing training and
support to the new representative. This buddy system helps to assure us that students are not
matched with families based on the evaluation of someone who has little or no knowledge of
what to expect. Each F.I.T. student is assigned a Local Area Representative who is available to
the student, his/her host family and school throughout the cultural exchange. Our
representatives, students, host families and schools are supported by a network of experienced
staff members ALL OF WHOM ARE AVAILABLE 24 HOURS A DAYS, 7 DAYS A WEEK.
Foundation for Intercultural Travel is very proud of its outbound program designed for American
teens to experience the world. We offer academic exchanges where the student attends a local
secondary school as well as cultural exchanges for those who are just seeking a taste of what the world‚Äôs diverse cultures has to offer. Our program‚Äôs website attracts thousands of visitors each month and provides an inquiry form for American teens to complete and take the first step.
F.I.T., as is necessary and required, has established rules and guidelines that all applicants must
abide by. To name a few, all F.I.T. students MUST… maintain a minimum grade of ‚ÄúC‚Äù in each
subject at school, are expected to be part of their host family which means follow their rules, be
responsible for their household tasks (chores), exclusively use English while on program other
than when speaking with their natural family, abide by their school‚Äôs policies and procedures, not
drive a motorized vehicle other than that of a driver instructor‚Äôs car. Although not our desire,
students who do not abide by the rules as established by F.I.T. their host family, or their school
may be subject to early repatriation. Our program wants so much for our students to succeed.
We understand that despite the exchange lasting only between 5 and 10 months, the effect of the experience will last a lifetime!
We welcome your inquiries. Please feel free to contact us.