Student Exchange Program
The Memphis in May Student Exchange Program provides selected students and a chaperone with an all-expense paid, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the culture of our honored country. Each year, students are selected based on communication skills, grades, and community service.
2016 Student Exchange Trip to Canada
A delegation of high school students and a chaperone will be selected to serve as Exchange Students for Memphis in May International Festival, and will have the opportunity to travel to Canada during March 2016 (travel dates to be determined). Selected students and chaperone will stay with host families and will attend classes at a host high school. The Memphis in May International Festival funds the round-trip airfare for each student and coordinates all arrangements with the host country.
Application forms are supplied to all Shelby County and Municipal Schools, as well as private high schools. To be considered, applicants must provide a completed application form (found below), official school transcript, a 500 - 1,000 word essay, and three letters of recommendation, no later than Dec. 4, 2015, and be available for an interview by the selection panel in early January of 2016.
Student Exchange Chaperone & Host Family Applications
Host Family Application
About the Student Exchange Program
Each spring, a group of Memphis in May exchange students travels to Memphis in May's honored country for 10-12 days - enough time to give students a true taste of the country without interfering with their school year. All students stay with selected host families in the host country, attend classes at a host high school, visit famous monuments and landmarks, and experience a different culture first-hand. Prior to travel, preparation sessions are held with emphasis on orientation to the culture and country the students will visit, along with travel details and student responsibilities as Memphis in May ambassadors. The program is offered at no charge to the students or accompanying chaperone. Selected students are encouraged to share their experiences and new knowledge of the honored country with local school and community groups after their return. The Memphis in May Student Exchange Program is open to any 11th or 12th grade student enrolled in a public, private, municipal, or authorized home school within Shelby County; the student must be enrolled from August to June of the current school year. Teachers, parents, guidance counselors, and administrators are encouraged to recommend high school juniors and seniors to apply for this unique opportunity each fall. Applications are posted at the beginning of each school year. Contact Carley Kirby, Program Assistant.
What People are Saying About the Student Exchange Program
Memphis Exchange Students
"I’d like to send out a huge thank you to the Memphis in May organization for orchestrating this entire trip. It’s truly been a blessing to be able to bring the culture and pride of the city of Memphis to the people of Warsaw. I believe that we’ve all been very fortunate to observe the culture and lifestyle of a country such as Poland, given that we’re given rare opportunities to study the nation. The program has definitely given me an insight into the similarities and differences between our hometown and that of our hosts, and I’m glad that I’ve been able to share this experience with a group of such worldly, talented, and intelligent students from both Warsaw and Memphis. You’ve all touched my life in ways unimaginable, and I hope to stay in contact with you all in the future!"
- Ron, 2015 Exchange Student to Poland
"Because of Memphis in May, I was granted an experience of a lifetime. I never thought that I would have such an experience when coming to Poland. It has truly given me great joy and has completely changed me. I loved everything about Polska and if I could, I would redo my experience 100 times more. It’s astounding how 10 days can create such an honorary experience and even give you a new family. I’m so blessed to have known the host families, who offered 12 strangers their love and hospitality and treated us as their own. I can’t wait until they come to Memphis and experience our culture! I hope we replicate the same amazing adventure and transform their lives as they have transformed ours."
- Ajia, 2015 Exchange Student to Poland
"It was with great pride and joy that I watched my husband and children nurture this amazing student. Everyone in the family wanted to make sure she felt comfortable....She was very open about life in Tunisia and it gave all of us a greater sense of unity....It was a great experience and hopefully we will have another opportunity to host a foreign student."
- LeeAnn Kelly, Host Mom to 2010 Tunisian student
"This was a really great experience for our entire family! We loved having Thomas and Branco. In fact, after they left I went into Branco's room and he had left us a picture he drew and a lovely long letter thanking us for our hospitality. I cried!! Such sweet students!"
- Lisa Browne, Host Mom to 2009 Chilean students
"As a teacher, I was able to obtain valuable practical experience and applied professional development opportunities that have improved my language fluency and cultural competency. The cultural richness of Chile provided me with opportunities that simply cannot be replicated through videos and other instructional aids."
- Kim Pitts, Arlington High School, 2009 Chaperone to Chile
"I had a lot of fun seeing my students learn from their own experiences in Tunisia....Overall, I was very impressed with every student on the trip. They all adapted and coped very well. They were all also very polite, intelligent and kind individuals. They made my job as a chaperone very easy, and we had a lot of fun as a result...Thanks to Memphis in May for giving me this opportunity, I hope to be able to match the efforts made by Tunisians for their families. The emphasis and importance placed on education in Tunisia has also motivated me as an educator."
- Ludovic Bruneau, White Station High School, 2010 Chaperone to Tunisia