35th Annual Conference


Date: November 6-8, 2019

Location: Orlando, FL – The Florida Hotel & Conference Center

Stewardship & Guiding the Student Experience. As programs, agencies, and schools, over 160 conference attendees gathered to in effort to help guide students through one or more of the following important processes: recruitment, placement, the program year/s, and return home. CSIET focused on stewardship during this two and a half day event to improve the value of International Student Exchange for our participants and their students.

We would like to thank all the  representatives from J-1, F-1 and Outbound programs at the secondary level, as well as vendors offering services to these vetted organizations who traveled from near and far to represent your student program or industry and be part of the discussion.  Conference Speakers and participants engaged and discussed prevalent topics that are important to our community. And we returned to our respective “homes” better readied to help guide our international exchange students toward a safe and meaningful exchange.

Keynote Speaker:

On behalf of the international exchange community, we would like to thank Dr. Dennis White for his engaging and insightful thoughts shared with us all during the Keynote Luncheon. Dr. Dennis White was an American Peace Corps volunteer in Iran from 1968-1970. Following his return to the United States, he earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and has worked in a variety of social service agencies and universities. He is currently a licensed psychologist in private practice in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. He has worked with many international exchange programs. He makes annual presentations at Youth Exchange Conferences and district orientations around the United States and the world.

He is past Chairman of the Rotary International Youth Exchange Committee (RIYE) and past President of the North American Youth Exchange Network (NAYEN). He is currently co-chair of the NAYEN Online Training Committee. He has written numerous articles about Youth Exchange, particularly related to Culture Shock, Reverse Culture Shock and Ethnocentrism.


Conference Presentations are now available online in our Member Center. To access the presentations, login to your CSIET Account. Click ‘Member Center’, then ‘Member Resources’, then ‘Conference Archive’.

We truly appreciate those who attended and supported this year’s conference. Because we want to make our sessions worth every minute of your time, if you have not already done so and were an attendee this year, please share your feedback with us by contacting anna@csiet.org.

2019 Conference Planning Committee:

Special thanks to this year’s Conference Planning Committee for all their work!

  • Theresa Nelson, STS Foundation
  • Alexandra Greene, Face the World Foundation
  • Cristina Figueiro, ExchangeMate
  • Christian Sandburg, Educatius
  • Vickie McCormack, Pan-Atlantic Foundation
  • Suzy Fitzpatrick, New Oasis
  • Gina McBean-Linton, Our Lady of Good Counsel
  • Nina Slupphaug, STS Education Sweden
  • Kari Owens, ICES

2019 Conference Agenda

Wednesday November, 6

Preconference Sessions:

  • A New Choice for Spoken Language Testing on J-Visa and F-Visa Programs with iTEP
    The iTEP: International Test of English Proficiency is a new testing option for J- and F-visa programs that focuses on speaking, safety, and convenience … real world situations. An overview of the iTEP test will be given as well as scoring analysis.
    Speaker: Jim Brosam
  • ELTiS Testing with Ballard & Tighe, Publishers
    Learn more about english language proficiency testing and the ELTiS online and paper formats. Ballard & Tighe will provide a brief introduction to the test and bring you updates on Ballard & Tighe’s and CSIET’s continued work to meet the assessment needs of the exchange community.
    Speaker: Melissa Cortez
  • Criminal Background Checks with IntelliCorp Records
    This session will cover criminal background check laws and guidelines and what best practices to follow to be sure you are in compliance.
    Speakers: Matt Garbincus & Evelyn Holmes
  • Tips for Protecting Youth with Praesidium
    Learn about abuse prevention from a representative at Praesidium, which has built a comprehensive array of products and services that allow organizations to assess potential gaps in their programs and implement best practices in each of the eight operations from the Praesidium Safety Equation.
    Speaker: Katie Polachek
  • Crisis Communication Basics with Anne Klein Communications Group
    AKCG will discuss principles to preserve your reputation during a crisis and retain the trust of of your program’s participants, host families, biological families and program coordinators.
    Speaker: Chris Luckach

Welcome Reception Sponsored by International Cultural Exchange Services (ICES)

Thursday November, 7
  • Breakfast Sponsored by J1 Simcards
  • Membership Council Meeting
  • Coffee Break Sponsored by Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG)
  • Placing and Supporting Inbound High School Students with Disabilities
    This session from the U.S. Department of State-sponsored National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange will answer common questions about how best to support students with disabilities and provide resources on finding host families and securing school placements.
    Speaker: Olivia Hardin, Program Specialist, MIUSA
  • Ethics in F-1 Recruitment
    At the higher education level, institutions are expected to act with transparency, integrity, and accountability when working with recruitment agencies; secondary-level practices do not yet align with these standards. In 2018 CSIET embarked on a process to develop standards for agencies recruiting students to US secondary schools. With the advice of several organizations, including NACAC that had recently adopted ethical standards for colleges working with commissioned agents, new standards will be piloted this year. Join a representative from NACAC, CSIET, and an agency that is going through CSIET’s new evaluation process to discuss the role of ethics in international student mobility.
    Speakers: Lindsay Addington, Director of Global Engagement, NACAC, Giulia Salamone, Head of External Relations and Support Services,YouAbroad & Chris Page, Executive Director, CSIET
  • Keynote Luncheon- Coming Home: The Rebound Experience Sponsored by National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) & Tower Bridge International
    While no two youth exchange experiences are exactly alike, there are predictable stages of culture shock and adaptation that most students experience. In a similar way, most students also experience some form of reverse culture shock, or re-entry shock, at some point during their return home. For many reasons, this can often be more surprising and difficult to deal with than initial culture shock.We have an obligation, in guiding the student experience, to view this return home as a part of the exchange process and to prepare students for what may happen. This presentation addresses the basic process of reverse culture shock and presents a model for helping students prepare for it.
    Speaker: Dr. Dennis White
  • U.S. Department of State: News & Updates on the J-1 Secondary School Program
    Representatives from the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Private Sector Exchange will discuss the roles and responsibilities of the Offices of Private Sector Exchange Designation and Private Sector Exchange Program Administration, as well as updates and best practices in the Secondary School Student Program. Topics will include the management review; health, safety, and welfare; expectations for sponsors; reminders about annual reports; and more.
    Speakers: Gia Crawford, Program Analyst, Secondary School Student Program; Ethan Bursofsky, Program Analyst, Secondary School Student Program
  • Explore Your Member Benefits with CSIET*
    CSIET’s Director of Membership and Conference Programming along with CSIET’s Director of Marketing and Communications will explore the benefits of CSIET Membership with you, including online resources and membership offers. Participants will have the opportunity to present questions in-person to CSIET staff and take part in discussion about CSIET’s member community.
    Speaker: Anna Damewood, Director of Membership & Conference Programming, Charissa Slack, Director of Marketing & Communications, and Nia Butler, Program Officer CSIET
  • The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and F-1 Compliance*
    A representative from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Student and Exchange Visitor Program will provide an overview of relevant topics affecting international student programs at the high school level. Following a brief presentation, SEVP will answer audience questions.
    Speakers: Katie Westerlund, Unit Chief, SEVP School Certification Unit and Roman Peacock, Field Representative, SEVP Field Representative Unit
  • Group Discussions
    How do these topics affect your program? EU GDPR & Understanding US Safety Perceptions from the International Viewpoint
    Moderator: James Manning, Business Development Manager, Zapp – TGMSoft & Paul Reagan, Rotary SCRYE, Recent Past-President NAYEN
  • Refreshment Break
  • When the Worst Happens: Honoring Survivors of Abuse and Holding Perpetrators Accountable*
    From independent schools and churches, to Wall Street and Hollywood, society is undergoing a revolution in the empowerment of survivors of sexual abuse. With it, organizations are reshaping how they investigate allegations of sexual abuse, past and present; how they hold perpetrators accountable; and how they are rethinking the avenues they provide for safely reporting misconduct.Our exchange community, too, must rethink how it upholds its promise to protect.In this session, experts in responding to sexual abuse of minors – the nation’s foremost attorney serving independent schools, Caryn Pass, Esq., a nationally respected independent sexual-assault investigator, Julie Freudenheim, Esq., and CSIET’s crisis-communications partner Chris Lukach, APR – will discuss how the exchange community can apply the lessons learned to helping survivors in our J-1 and F-1 programs.
    Speakers: Caryn Pass Esq.,Chair Education Practice, Venable LLP, Julie Freudenheim Esq. Senior Managing Director, T&M Protection Resources, LLC, Chris Lukach ,President, AKCG – Public Relations Counselors
  • Reception Sponsored by IntelliCorp
Friday November, 8
  • Breakfast
  • Student Safety: Identifying and Preventing Child Sexual Abuse*
    AFS-USA’s deep commitment to preventative youth protection has led to the creation of new training resources for our volunteers who regularly interact with students and families. We will share these resources and materials have been designed to build awareness of red flag behaviors related to child sexual abuse. Identifying these precursors to abuse enables volunteers to address these behaviors before abuse takes place. Training is also provided on methods for reporting abuse when they believe it has occurred and additional materials define appropriate behaviors and practices volunteers should maintain to protect themselves from false allegations rooted in cultural misunderstandings. The objective of the session will be to share resources and training strategies, and have attendees walk away with ideas on how they might implement these types of resources and tools with their own field staff and volunteers.
    Speaker: Candace O’Malley, Organizational Development Specialist, AFS-USA
  • Coffee Break
  • World Viewpoints: Understanding the International Agency Perspective
    Panelists from three international agencies will discuss questions and relevant insights regarding the recruitment process and working with students and natural parents, as well as U.S.-based partners and schools.
    Speakers: John Cedergårdh, CEO, STS Education AB, Bettina Sandersleben, Die Austauschexperten GMBh, Stephen Zhang, Shanghai DDXG,and Zephyr Peling, Program Director, Face the World
  • Exchange Programs Advocacy: Alliance for International Exchange
    This session will provide a view from Washington, D.C., focusing on policies affecting U.S. Department of State educational and cultural exchange programs. Ms.Yang will provide an update on congressional and administration actions impacting educational and cultural exchanges, as well as discuss the Alliance’s advocacy efforts to promote and strengthen exchange programming.
    Speaker: Sue Yang, Senior Director for External Relations, Alliance for International Exchange
  • Guiding Members Through the F-1 Certification Process*
    Join CSIET’s Executive Director for guidance on becoming a certified program on CSIET’s Annual Advisory List, from the application to final results. The session will cover: Certification Categories, Completing the CSIET Application for Certification, States Served/Countries Served Forms, CSIET F-1 Audit Template (and Likely Sources), External CPAs and the Agreed Upon Procedures, Staff Scoring of Reports, Staff Issuance of Certification Letters and Materials, Accreditation Committee Hearing and Responses, and Due Process.
    Speaker: Chris Page, Executive Director, CSIET
  • Student Panel Luncheon
    With personal stories from recent exchange students whose lives have changed as a result of the hard work of many of our attendees, the Student Panel Luncheon is a great reminder how what we do affects so many lives.
  • 7 Tips to Promote Youth Mental Health*
    This session will be delivered live via Skype as an interactive discussion about the common stressors all teens face and the specific pressures of navigating a new culture. Dr. Collins will introduce practical tips grounded in prevention science to help increase communication with international students, develop coping strategies and decrease the negative impact of these pressures. Participants can come away with information and resources to provide to their staff, volunteers, and host families on mental health.
    Speaker: Dr. Tammy L. Collins, Lead Evaluator, Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery, MURC