For parents: about student exchange programs

​What you need to know

Secondary school student exchange programs are offered around the world. They provide a cultural and educational experience for students and school communities. A student exchange program is a reciprocal program where Victorian students attend a secondary school in another country, while students from other countries study in Victoria.

In Victoria, secondary student exchange programs can only be provided by student exchange organisations (SEOs) that we approve.

Parents and schools should only deal with VRQA-approved SEOs. These SEOs must comply with a number of requirements including:

  • our guidelines
  • Victorian Child Safe Standards
  • host family screening
  • safe and supervised travel
  • host family accommodation standards
  • emergency management procedures.

For a list of approved SEOs, see:

Fees and costs

Exchange students studying in Victoria do not pay school tuition fees, and host families volunteer to provide accommodation. The same applies for Victorian out-bound students studying abroad.  However, costs involved include the SEO's program participation fees, airfare, and travel insurance.

Accommodation and welfare arrangements

The host school is responsible for the exchange student during school hours, as well on school activities and excursions. This applies to inbound and outbound students.

The SEO is responsible for arranging suitable accommodation and support, and for the general welfare of the exchange student throughout the program, including during school holidays.

SEOs are responsible for recruiting, selecting and screening local host families for exchange students, and for monitoring and supporting students and host families during the exchange program. All SEOs are required to have local coordinators in Victoria to support exchange students and their host families.

Host families should not hesitate to contact their local coordinator if they have any concerns about the exchange student they are hosting.

If a concern is not satisfactorily resolved by the local coordinator or the SEO, parents should contact us:

Relatives as visiting international students

A parent, school, club or organisation that is not a VRQA-approved SEO cannot arrange private student exchange programs into Australia.

Parents and organisations seeking to enrol international students holding visitor visas in Victorian schools may seek enrolment if the student will be either:

  • residing with a parent for the duration of the enrolment
  • residing with a close family relative for the duration of the enrolment.

All government schools and most non-government schools charge tuition fees for visitor visa enrolments.

For more information about studying in a government school, see:

For information about studying in a Catholic or independent school, contact the school directly.

See also: