Wry Exchange

What is CSIET?
07-23-07, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program | Tags:

Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) is an organization that evaluates high school foreign exchange programs to ensure they adhere to certain practical and safety standards, and lists all approved exchange groups in their annual directory. Some school districts in the United States insist that any foreign students they accept into their schools must travel through CSIET approved programs. Other school districts will not permit the students to play varsity sports unless the program is CSIET approved.  My local school district will permit my students to play sports because we have CSIET accredition.  There are some good programs without CSIET accredition.  It’s a HUGE hassle to be CSIET approved, but it’s a great seal of approval.

 From the CSIET homepage-The Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) is a private, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to identify reputable international youth exchange programs, to provide leadership and support to the exchange and educational communities so that youth are provided with meaningful and safe international exchange experiences, and to promote the importance and educational value of international youth exchange.  CSIET has been promoting international youth exchanges since 1984.  (CSIET.org)


4 Comments so far
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You state that the CSIET seal is “a great seal of approval.” Can you explain why you believe this to be so? It is fact that CSIET’s membership is ‘paid for’ — not earned. When a CSIET member violates a CSIET standard, how does CSIET rectify the situation? Answer: They don’t. Membership dues are paid for and the “seal” can be distributed. Many state that the CSIET standards aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. I’ll ask you this: Why have so many CSIET members placed students in the homes of convicted felons and registered sex offenders? What a false security the CSIET seal provides to natural parents across the globe. Your thoughts?

Comment by Joyce

I see from your address that you are from an exchange student organization that I’ve never heard of before. All I can go by is my program’s experience with CSIET. I vehemently disagree that CSIET membership is ‘paid for.’ My program worked long and hard to gain approval from CSIET. We had to provide documentation on everything, from an annual audit to host family training. CSIET sends surveys to random samples of our host families, schools, inbound students, and outbound students to ask for their opinions. As a small 501(c)(3)program, we spend money cautiously. We think spending the money on an official audit, and CSIET is worth it so our students can have a better year.
CSIET is a volunteer organization. They can’t ‘make’ any program do anything. They can only drop programs from their membership.
All of my program’s volunteers, counselors, and host family members over age 18 have background checks. I can’t speak for any other program. As volunteers, I think we do the best we can to ensure the students have a safe, happy, memorable year.

Comment by Wry

Appreciate your response. CSIET drop programs? Since when? Seriously, name one. Doesn’t happen, Wry. The agency you work for faught ‘long and hard’ for CSIET approval? Why? The largest exchange agencies known for placing students in the homes of registered sex offenders are also CSIET members listed in Full standing. Wry, you’re intelligent; just haven’t done your research. As for the 501(c)(3) agency you volunteer for — ever search http://www.guidestar.org to see how much it’s worth? These “not-for-profits” are worth millions — don’t kid yourself. And I hope you’re a “paid” volunteer? Reps get paid between $450 up to $900 per placement, and let’s not forget those ‘bonus incentives’ which always seem to send reps screaming to find 30 families in four days… Regional Directors are paid about $60,000 to $80,000 a year and Presidents of the top orgs btwn $110,000 to $230,000 a year with other “perks” that would amaze you. Kudos to you for performing background checks. Still, too many agencies cannot be bothered. And for those agencies that still place students in the homes of convicted felons, and clearly accepting more students than there are host families available leaving kids abandoned in garages and basements; they, too, are CSIET members in Full standing. CSIET is a joke. It’d be funny if it weren’t for dealing with the welfare and safety of students. When a complaint is filed, who reviews the complaints? Answer: Top execs of the larger student exchange companies. Yes, research the CSIET Board/Evalution Committee, then the pieces of the puzzle will begin to come together. As for CSFES — not a placement agency. Far from it. CSFES advocates for the welfare and safety of all exchange students, which is why we’re on top of the games of CSIET. They will not be entertained.

Comment by Joyce

I learned long ago that I can’t fix the entire world. I can help by devoting much of my free time to exchange students. I know I make a difference. I don’t know about other programs, except when my kids ask me to help their friends in the other programs. I know of kids who pay a lot of money and are just dumped here. I think they have a lot of money to spend making certain their CSIET application is perfect. We have one guy putting ours together on nights and weekends.
My program is honest. The money is spent on the students. We aren’t worth millions, we’re worth about $1.98. We are ALL volunteers. We get reimbursed for postage, that’s about it.
We are members of CSIET so our kids can play varsity sports. That’s the only reason. It may not seem like much, but the kids have a much better year if they can make friends early on in their year.
We’re also a true exchange program. A kid goes out, a kid comes in. Each ofour students have their local counselor, and others to lean on.

Comment by Wry

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