Montana State University

Montana families host international 4-H students as part of cultural exchange programs

July 30, 2015 -- MSU News Service

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International 4-H students from Europe and Asia are in Montana currently as part of cultural and agricultural exchange programs coordinated by Montana State University Extension. The Montana International 4-H Youth Exchange (M-IFYE) and the MSU Extension 4-H Japanese Summer Inbound program are part of a number of international programs operated by 4-H that provide cultural and educational opportunities for both students and their host families.

As part of the M-IFYE, high school and university students from eight European and one Asian country are staying for up to three months with families across Montana. The primary goal for these students is to learn about farming and ranching practices in the Western United States, though they will also be improving their English and general communication skills, and sharing cultural experiences with their host families. While here, students learn to move cattle, work with livestock, harvest crops, use machinery, mend fences and other tasks required of a farmer or rancher.

The M-IFYE program has been part of 4-H since 1948 when the first international exchange of students took place. The MSU Extension 4-H program sends young adults from Montana abroad for three to six months as part of the M-IFYE program.

As part of the MSU Extension 4-H Japanese Summer Inbound program, students from across Japan recently participated in an intensive English language camp at MSU before going to live with their host families for a month. In their new homes, students are accompanying their host siblings to 4-H and other camps and county fairs and participating in other, typical summer family activities.

In addition to these programs, Montana 4-H sends and receives youth from Norway, Finland, Costa Rica, Argentina, Tanzania, Australia, South Korea and Eurasian countries for summer or high school exchanges.

For more information on the M-IFYE, the Japanese Summer Inbound program, or other Montana 4-H programs, contact Stephanie Davison at

Contact: Stephanie Davison, MSU Extension, (406) 994-3502, or