Frequently Asked Questions by Prospective Students

I'd like to join the SHARE! program as an exchange student.  What's the first step?

The first step for all prospective students is to find an agent in your home country that offers a J1 High School Exchange Program.  All J1 high school students must apply through an agent.  Search online, ask at your school office, or contact the U.S. embassy to find a list of agents.  Your agent may have you apply through SHARE!, or through another J1 exchange program in the U.S.

Can a family who I know host me?

Perhaps.  The J1 visa rules say that students may not stay with relatives, or in a home where the student's native language is the primary language spoken.  You also may not live with a coach or teammate of a school sport that you play competitively.  Finally, your program sponsor must have a coordinator in the area where you will live.

What are the age / grade level requirements?

You must:

  • Be at least 15 years of age, but not more than 18 years and six months of age as of the program start date

  • Not have finished more than 11 years of primary and secondary school, not including kindergarten

  • Not have previously participated in a secondary school student academic year or semester exchange program or attended school in the United States in either F-1 or J-1 status.

Will I be able to have a job in the U.S.?

Students may not work part-time or full-time jobs. However, they may accept occasional work, like yard work or baby-sitting.

How does my sponsor choose host families?

Sponsors must:

  • Provide potential host families with a detailed summary of the exchange visitor program and the duties and obligations of a host family’s participation;
  • Request a detailed summary and profile of the host family, the physical home environment, family’s composition and community environment;
  • Conduct in-person interviews with all family members residing in the home;
  • Request two personal references for the host family from the school or community to attest to the host family's good reputation and character;
  • Ensure that the host family has adequate financial resources to host the student; and
  • Verify that each member of the host family who is 18 and older has undergone a criminal background check.

Will I be placed alone or with another student?

Some host families like to host more than one student.  Students cannot be from the same country or speak the same language.  Also, you and your parents would need to agree to a placement with another student.

What will my host family provide me with?

  • A bed, adequate storage space for clothes and personal belongings, reasonable access to bathroom facilities and study space if not otherwise available in the home;
  • Three quality meals a day; and
  • Transportation to and from school and school activities.