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All ongoing exchange programs have been terminated

With the spread of the new coronavirus, a plan is being implemented with the aim of sending all students around the world back to their home countries

In YFU, it is our foremost priority to ensure our students’ safety and wellbeing. In the past weeks, we have been closely monitoring the news from health organizations and national governments regarding the pandemic of the new coronavirus. Due to the most recent developments, YFU has had to take the difficult decision to terminate all exchange programs currently in progress. YFU believes it is in the best interest of its students that they be together with their natural families during this challenging time.

Based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and national government pronouncements, we have implemented a global plan that aims to guide and support our member organizations to facilitate the return of each student to his or her home country safely and effectively, with the full support of YFU. This plan prioritizes repatriation of students located in high-risk countries or in regions with imminent border closings or flight cancellations. In commitment to the WHO advice to prevent the spread of the virus, program participants must comply with quarantine requirements after their return.

"This decision was made precisely to protect our students, in addition to their host families and our entire network" says Gregory Matheson, Secretary General of YFU’s Global Office. "It is important to emphasize that we are an organization that mainly works through a worldwide network of volunteers. So, if any student cannot return to their country of origin at this very moment – which is likely to happen in some cases – either because of the lack of flights, the closing of borders or quarantine, we have people ready to help and take care of those students. We are only who we are because of this important network of people around the world" Mr. Matheson says.

We would like to express our gratitude to all our students and their families for choosing YFU when embarking on such a powerful experience. We are truly saddened by the fact that your program could not be completed as planned, but we are looking forward to welcoming you back to our Global YFU Community.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, as we work through the ramifications of these unprecedented times. For questions on current programs, students and families should contact their local YFU organization. Any general inquiries should be directed to YFU Global Office.

We sincerely hope that the circumstances will start to improve soon, and we will again be able to make the world our home!


“We need to focus on all the good things we gained this year, as participants of an exchange program: we have forged unbreakable bonds with people from all around the world, who will be part of your life forever! As a student, you have learned a new language and amazing new things about a culture that you never knew before. As a host family, you have enriched the lives of your students in a way which they will remember forever. In a way, you all stepped out of your comfort zones and learned new things about yourselves and the world. And in effect, you have all become #globalcitizens and part of the #YFUfamily!

Regardless of where your journey takes you, know that you will always find support within our community!

Gregory Matheson
YFU’s Secretary General