Professional Exchanges

An American exchange participant talks with two young female students.
Young professionals can get the work experience while gaining other useful career skills overseas. Mid-career professionals can explore new ways to collaborate with professional colleagues in other countries or add an international dimension to your expertise.

What is a Professional Exchange?

Professional exchanges provide opportunities for Americans to gain career experience or to share their knowledge or skills while living in a particular country. These exchanges can last from a few weeks to a couple years.

Examples of professional programs include:

  • Temporary teaching or work positions
  • Advanced research opportunities
  • Internships at an organization or institution
  • Short-term cultural, sports, or artistic collaborations

Professional exchange positions are generally awarded based on:

  • Previous academic performance, research, or professional experience
  • The significance of the applicant's proposed studies, research, or instruction
  • Language proficiency or age eligibility

You may be asked to submit project portfolios or letters of reference from colleagues who are familiar with your work. Professional exchange programs will work with you to get appropriate visas for your experience. Some will also arrange the placements and experiences in the host country, usually for a fee or as part of a fellowship opportunity.

Participants with Disabilities

Many people with disabilities have traveled to other countries to gain career experience or to share their expertise in a variety of professional fields, including education, law, public policy, sports, theatre, business, and more.

You have the right to apply to any professional exchange program. Some programs will have experience hosting participants with disabilities, while others may be less familiar with how to make their programs accessible. Programs that are based in the U.S. need to be inclusive in who they select and accept for their opportunities and must work to find placements that meet your accommodation needs overseas.