Secondary Exchange Program

Student exchange programs provide Australian secondary students with the opportunity to undertake studies overseas and for overseas students to study in an Australian school. Student exchange programs provide a broad educational experience for students and participating school communities.

Exchange students must enter the country on a Student Visa Subclass 500 Secondary School Exchange Program issued via an Acceptance Advice for Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form. A minimum exchange period in the ACT is 3 months or one academic school term.

Student Exchange Programs are offered in ACT public schools with the aim of providing opportunities for:

  • Educational enrichment by introducing students' to a different educational philosophy, environment and curriculum.
  • Cultural awareness and understanding among students' in the local school and community environments.
  • Further development of students' linguistic skills.
  • Promoting international understanding and cooperation.

Sister school relationships, short term cultural visits, twinning arrangements and Memoranda of Understandings (MoU's) between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, and governments of other countries, do not form part of international secondary student exchange programs in the ACT. Should a sister school relationship involve an exchange that is for three months or one school term, then this exchange fits within the National Guidelines for the Operation of International Secondary Student Exchange Programs in Australia and the host school will need to registered as a Secondary Exchange Organisation (SEO).

Secondary Exchange Organisations Registered to Operate in the ACT

  • AFS Intercultural Programs
  • Australian Institute of International Understanding
  • Rotary International
  • Southern Cross Cultural Exchange
  • STS International Exchange
  • Student Exchange in Australia and New Zealand
  • Youth for Understanding
  • The Society for Australia - German Student Exchange Inc ACT/NSW

ACT Secondary Student Exchange Reference Group

The ACT Secondary Student Exchange Reference Group oversees the regulation of student exchange programs within the ACT and is the official regulation body responsible for:

  • Issuing guidelines to secondary student exchange organisations and schools seeking registration.
  • Registering and approving secondary student exchange organisations and schools.
  • Maintaining contact with representatives of secondary student exchange organisations and schools.
  • Conducting annual surveys of registered secondary student exchange organisations and schools to confirm program details and reciprocity balances.
  • De-registering organisations and schools that do not comply with the relevant standards.

Working with Vulnerable People checks or the equivalent, must be obtained for all members of host families over the age of 18 hosting inbound and outbound exchange students. Department of Home Affairs provide useful information on how to apply for Police Character Checks in counties outside Australia.

Secondary Student Exchange Program Forms

Contact Us

International Education Unit
ACT Government Education Directorate
GPO Box 158 Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: +61 2 6205 6764
CRICOS Registration Number: 00643J