About YFU South Africa

Youth for Understanding South Africa is an international youth exchange organization that promotes intercultural exchange programs between South Africa and the world. YFU South Africa is a registered non-profit, volunteer-driven organization and has been in existence since 1995. We form part of a world-wide family of YFU national organizations with offices in more than 45 countries. Although each national organization is autonomous, all YFU partners are bound and committed to specific international agreements and standards related to their exchange programs.


YFU mission statement

YFU advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families, and communities.



The first Youth for Understanding national organization was founded in the USA in 1951. The initial purpose of YFU was to bring young post-second world war Germans to the USA to experience democracy by living with American hostfamilies and attend high school for one year. The idea spread from there, and today YFU is one of the largest and most respected international exchange organizations. In South Africa, the organization opened its doors in Cape Town in 1994, and we received our first exchange students from Germany in 1995. Since 1995, YFU South Africa has received and sent hundreds of high school students on our 6-week, semester or 1-year exchange programs.