A student exchange program is a program in which a student, usually in secondary or higher education, chooses to live in a foreign country to study, among other things, language and society. These programs are called 'exchanges' because originally the objective was an exchange of students between different countries. No trade off is in fact required, so a student is permissible to go to another country without finding a counterpart in that country to exchange with. Students live with a host family, who are usually unpaid volunteers and can be a customary family, a single parent, or a couple with no children at home. Host families are vetted by the association coordinating the program. Student exchanges became popular after World War II, and have the aim of helping to increase the participants' understanding and broadmindedness of other cultures, as well as improving their language skills and expansion their social horizons.
An exchange student usually stays in the host country for a relatively short period of time; often six to ten months, in contrast to international students or those on learn abroad programs which can last for several years.
These programs are available from a number of service-oriented organizations, such as World Education Program (WEP), Study Abroad UK,  Rotary International's Rotary Youth Exchange, Forte International , DM Discoveries , PAX-Program of Academic Exchange, and AFS. Civic organizations in some cities offer similar programs, including the Kiwanis or Lions Clubs.
Some students on exchange programs can receive academic credit from the country they study in.