Tennessee 4-H International Exchange Program

Being a host family is an experience that will last a lifetime. The States’ 4-H International Exchange Summer Inbound Program brings nearly 700 young people from around the globe to homes across the United States every summer. As members of 4-H families, exchange participants experience life in the United Staes and share their own culture in a variety of ways. This experience will allow your family the opportunity to expand their global perspective, while opening a brand-new world to a young person from overseas. You and your family can join in this unique adventure by hosting this summer. All it takes is a warm heart, an open house, and a passion for international experiences.

State’s 4-H Summer Hosting Promotional Flier

“Why Do Host Families Host?” Flier

Tennessee 4-H International Exchange Program logo

Watch this clip to hear how Tennessee host families and exchange participants describe their experience in one word!

Do you have an interest in traveling to Japan this summer? Tennessee 4-H offers members the opportunity to live with a Japanese host family and experience daily life in Japan through the States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs. Exchange delegates immerse themselves in a world that most visitors rarely get to see while building friendships that will last a lifetime.

Two programs are offered, a 4-week homestay (July 10-August 9, 2024) and an 8-week homestay (June 12 -August 9, 2024). The only difference between the two programs is the 8-week experience offers an intensive Japanese language class during the first four weeks. Delegates must be between the ages of 15-18 for the 8-week program and between the ages of 12-18 for the 4-week program.

The 4-week program fee is $3,600 plus airfare and includes an overnight national departure orientation and national departure debriefing in a U.S. gateway city, arrival orientation, in-Japan expenses (lodging, meals, and transportation), camp fees, orientation materials, States’ 4-H t-shirts, and accident and sickness insurance. The 8-week Nihongo program fee is $5,600 plus airfare and includes those things covered in the 4-week program plus the additional 4-week intensive Japanese language program with accompanying cultural excursions.

Below you will find a listing of the delegate online application documents.

  • 2024 Online Application Link: https://smr.to/p92010
  • Applicant Instructions – Instructions for applicants to access, view, and apply for the OB programs using the online application. <document link>
  • Blank Application – For applicants to see an example of what the online application looks like. <document link>

Please note our state application deadline is December 1, 2023. The national deadline is December 15. Based on past experience, applications are not accepted after the national deadline. There is a minimum number of applicants accepted (20 for the 8-week program and 60 for the 4-week program) so if anyone interested should apply as early as possible.

If you have any questions, please reach out neither Jamie Harris (jhharris@utk.edu) or Steve Sutton (ssutton2@utk.edu).

Young people who participate in 4-H international opportunities:

  • Develop an appreciation of the social, economic, political and cultural contributions of other countries.
  • Better understand how culture influences values, beliefs and attitudes.
  • Instinctively appreciate the value of international collaboration, understanding, and empathy.
  • Expand the global citizenship component of their 4-H project.
  • Practice foreign language, verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
  • Share the international experience through presentations in their community.

How old are the delegates?

Delegates are between the ages of 12-18 with the majority being 12-14. 

I don’t have children living at home, can I host?

Yes, families without children of the appropriate age may host an adult chaperone.

Where will my visitor be from?


What are the requirements for host families?
To host a youth delegate, you must have a child living in your home who is the same gender and within 3 years of the hosted youth.

Will they speak English?

All students will have studied English in school, but their speaking abilities are limited. Host families should be prepared to communicate imaginatively.

What are the expectations of the host family?
The Japanese youth will become a member of your family and participate in your daily life. No special activities need to be planned. The youth want to experience American culture, make new friends, and improve their English by staying with your family.

How long will they stay?

3 1/2 – 4 weeks.

When will they arrive?

The Japanese delegates will arrive July 21, 2024, and depart August 16, 2024.

Will the exchange student be able to attend school with me?

You will need to discuss this with your school principal well in advance of the delegate’s arrival. Policies are set by your local school board. In most cases, the school is very open to having exchange students at their school.

How much will it cost?

Lodging, meals, transportation, and any cultural excursion fees.

Families must apply to host through the States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs website. The 2024 online application link is…


New applicants will need to register and create an account to complete the application. Those families who have hosted in the past can reactivate their application by logging into the site using their email address and the password they created.

If you would like to preview a blank application, an example of what it looks like is available at…


Once your profile is created and the application form completed, the state 4-H office will be notified and contact you.

The application process includes the online application, a background screening, reference checks and an in-home interview. 

If you have questions concerning the application process, contact Jamie Harris (jhharris@utk.edu) or Steve Sutton (ssutton2@utk.edu) for more information.

Check out the State’s 4-H International Exchange Programs site at www.states4hexchange.org.

You can learn more about Labo, our Japanese partner organization, at https://labo-exchange.com/.

If you have any questions about the International Exchange Program, please reach out to Jamie Harris (jhharris@utk.edu) or Steve Sutton (ssutton2@utk.edu).