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International Studies and Exchange


Resources provided on this web page assist districts, schools, students, and families in supporting international students pursuing opportunities to study within the California educational system. Information is also provided to assist California students interested in study abroad.

State Guidance

California Education Code (EC)

The California Department of Education (CDE) recognizes and supports opportunities for international student exchange to support development of global citizenship and global competence. The provisions of EC Section 66015.7 reflect this support:

(a) In order to maintain and strengthen the high quality of international education in California, the Legislature encourages all public and private institutions of higher education to further develop, as their resources permit, programs that support learning about other cultures, global issues, and the exchange of Californian’s and international students and scholars.

(b) For California students and scholars, institutions are encouraged, as resources permit, to accomplish all of the following:

(1) Develop courses of study in as many fields as possible to increase students’ understanding of global issues and cultural differences.

(2) Offer courses in languages other than English to train students to communicate effectively in other cultures and to enhance their understanding of other nations’ values.

(3) Provide opportunities for students in all majors to participate in study abroad programs to enrich their academic training, perspectives, and personal development.

(4) Provide opportunities for domestic and international students to interact effectively and routinely share their views, perceptions, and experiences in educational settings.

(5) Develop innovative public educational forums and venues to explore global issues and showcase world cultures.

(c) For international students and scholars, institutions are encouraged, as resources permit, to accomplish all of the following:

(1) Encourage the presence of qualified students from other countries with sufficient geographic diversity to inspire an appreciation for differences among cultures and a deeper understanding of the values and perspectives of other people.

(2) Facilitate faculty exchange and collaborative partnership programs with institutions in other countries.

(3) Initiate collaborative research undertakings to address issues of global significance.

(4) Recruit and retain the world’s best and brightest faculty to educate California’s students as globally competent citizens.

California Office of the Attorney General

Uniform Supervision of International Student Exchange Visitor Placement Organizations Act External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
The purpose of California’s International Student Exchange Placement Organizations Act is to protect the health, safety and welfare of international student exchange visitors, promote a quality education and living experience, promote participation in exchange programs in California, encourage interaction between California residents and international student exchange visitors, encourage public confidence in exchange programs, and encourage compliance with federal immigration law.

Registry of International Student Exchange Visitor Placement Organizations (ISEVPO) External link opens in new window or tab.
California requires anyone who regularly arranges the placement of foreign exchange students in California elementary, junior high and high schools to register with the Attorney General's Office prior to making the placement. The registration requirement applies to any person, partnership, corporation or entity that within any five-year period arranges placement of foreign exchange students in kindergarten through grade twelve. California schools may check the ISVEPO Registry List maintained by the Attorney General. Schools may require proof of ISVEPO registration as a condition to registering exchange visitors.

Federal Guidance

An Important Note about Immigration Status

All children in the United States (U.S.) have the right to public education External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), regardless of their own or their parents’ immigration status. For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of Education External link opens in new window or tab. website.

U.S. Department of State Programs

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs External link opens in new window or tab. designs and implements educational, professional, and cultural exchange programs, including programs for secondary school students from other countries seeking short-term study opportunities in the U.S.

Student Visas

Visa categories are defined by the purpose for travel to the U.S. Several different visa categories permit international students to visit the U.S. for the purposes of study and cultural exchange. Many international students planning to study in California secondary schools enter the U.S. using a J-1 visa. Visit the State Department’s BridgeUSA External link opens in new window or tab. website for detailed information on the J-1 visa as well as general information on the processes for enrolling, welcoming, and hosting international students.

Two other visa types, F-1 and M-1, are also used by some international students to permit travel to the U.S. For comprehensive information on these visa categories, visit the State Department’s Other U.S. Student Visas External link opens in new window or tab. web page.

Only schools certified by the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) may enroll F or M nonimmigrant students. Visit Study in the States External link opens in new window or tab. for information on certifying your school with SEVP.

Study Abroad: California Students

United States Department of State Programs

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs External link opens in new window or tab. designs and implements educational, professional, and cultural exchange programs for U.S. citizens, including programs for secondary school students seeking opportunities for study abroad.

Access the Department of State’s Study Abroad External link opens in new window or tab. web page for information on available international study and cultural exchange programs for California students.

Other Programs

The Council for International Exchange (CIEE) External link opens in new window or tab. is a nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization offering a variety of study abroad programs External link opens in new window or tab. for high school students. CIEE also offers an array of scholarships, grants, and other funding opportunities to help high school students make their dreams of studying abroad a reality.

International Students: Study in California

Student Visas: United States Department of State

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs External link opens in new window or tab. designs and implements educational, professional, and cultural exchange programs, including programs for secondary school students from other countries seeking short-term study opportunities in the U.S.

Visa categories are defined by the purpose for travel to the U.S. Several different visa categories permit international students to visit the U.S. for the purposes of study and cultural exchange. Many international students planning to study in California secondary schools enter the U.S. using a J-1 visa. Visit the State Department’s BridgeUSA External link opens in new window or tab. website for detailed information on the J-1 visa and on enrolling J-1 visa students.

Two other visa types, F-1 and M-1, are also used by some international students to permit travel to the U.S. For comprehensive information on these visa categories, visit the Other U.S. Student Visas External link opens in new window or tab. web page.

Only schools certified by the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) may enroll F or M nonimmigrant students. Visit Study in the States External link opens in new window or tab. for information on certifying your school with SEVP.

Updates

Receive Quarterly Updates

To receive quarterly updates and resources related to global education, which includes information on international study and exchange opportunities, join the CDE Global Education listserv by sending a blank email message to join-global-education@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

To unsubscribe from the CDE Global Education Update, send a “blank” message to unsubscribe- global-education@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

Join the California Global Education Network (CGEN) External link opens in new window or tab.

CGEN was formed in 2016 to promote global citizenship through global education in California’s kindergarten through grade twelve (K–12) classrooms, schools, and districts, and welcomes the participation of all stakeholders interested in the role of global education in students’ opportunities, perspectives, preparation, and success.

Explore Resources and Information from the California Global Education Project (CGEP) External link opens in new window or tab.

CGEP provides professional learning experiences and support for K–12 educators to develop the knowledge, skills, resources, and leadership needed to foster global competence in all students.

Questions:   Professional Learning Innovations Office | PLIO@cde.a.gov | 916-323-6269
Last Reviewed: Thursday, May 27, 2021
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