Southern Cross Cultural Exchange (SCCE) is an award winning not-for-profit organisation specialising in international educational exchange programs for secondary school students.  As the first student exchange organisation to be based in Australia, SCCE was founded with the belief that the international family-living experience makes a vital contribution to human understanding, tolerance of cultural differences and self-awareness – an irreplaceable opportunity to learn about others and yourself.

SCCE facilitates exchange programs to countries all over the world for both Australian and New Zealand high school students, and also organises host families and educational experiences for International students to visit here.

Our programs give our worldwide members – students, their parents, host families and volunteers – a chance to gain an education without national boundaries.  The result is friendship, empathy and personal growth.

Our Mission Statement

We believe in building a better cultural understanding between nations and people. By offering safe and exciting ways for young people to fulfil their dreams of discovering a new culture through learning, we help create better global citizens, while contributing to improved quality of life for those less fortunate.

SCCE takes pride in designing programs ranging in duration from six weeks to ten months, which reflect the values and ideals of Australian students, families, and schools.  With four decades of Australian-based experience, SCCE staff have a unique ability to respond to the changing needs of Australian education systems through the innovation, diversification and adaptation of our programs and procedures.

SCCE’s vast experience and professionalism in providing high quality exchange programs is reflected in its approval and registration with Australian state and federal education departments, and its acceptance by immigration and education authorities around the world.

Recruiting professionals qualified and experienced in the fields of education, counselling, travel and administration, most of SCCE’s staff are former exchange students whose unique experiences and knowledge, as well as enthusiasm for intercultural exchange programs, directly benefits today’s participants.

A Little Bit of History

Programs exchanging students to live in another culture have been popular for centuries, organised by universities and secondary schools. They became professionally organised by pacifist groups after WWI with the desire to promote peaceful relations among nations. There were many similar programs organised by governments. The 20th century brought forward many organisations promoting student exchange as well as the establishment of many overseas branches of universities.  After WWII, German corporations in Australia commenced sponsoring scholarships for secondary students, soon followed by a US exchange organisation offering Australian students a choice of many countries. In 1970, another US organisation arrived with a US government grant, adding many new destinations for Australia. Then, after comedian Paul Hogan, in 1984, urged every nationality to “put another shrimp on the Barbie in Australia”, several European, American and Japanese exchange organisations came to Australia.

Since its incorporation in 1983, SCCE has facilitated exchange programs for tens of thousands of students with dozens of countries.

Living Like a Local

There is truly a world of difference between a tourist and someone living as a family member for an extended period of time. An exchange program will allow you to live in a country and experience it as a local on a day-to-day basis. You will live with a carefully-selected host family as a member of the family, attending the local school, participating in school life with fellow students. You will make friends for life!

One important element of your cultural exchange program will be your role as an ambassador for Australia or New Zealand. People will be curious to know more about you and your way of life back at home.

Engage your sense of adventure and quest to understand a new culture – its language and customs – and accept the challenge of living with a host family. There is no better way to begin to understand yourself, your opinions, beliefs and ideals. Make the commitment today to learn more about the world through personal experience. We hope that you will come back home more confident and ready to become part of a changing global community.

The Host Family

The family is the oldest classroom for cultural understanding and is the centre of the exchange experience.

The rare opportunity to live as a family member in another country comes only to young participants on exchange programs. It is a unique change to gain lifelong friendships in another part of the world.

You will gradually become an accepted member of the family unit through observation and participation in the daily life of the family and its surrounding community. You will require perseverance and patience.

You will be treated as a member of the family. Volunteer host families may be the families of doctors, teachers, farmers, mechanics or park rangers. Their home may be a cottage or a castle, in a rural area, small town or big city suburb. The one thing all host families have in common is a willingness to share their home without compensation and accept you as a son or daughter.


Becoming part of an overseas school community will give you another opportunity to make international friends, discover customs and feel part of another community.

You will be given the chance to take advantage of the many new and different courses, timetables, social and sporting activities.

State and private schools must accept SCCE exchange students without educational fees. Any costs such as subject levies or supplies must be borne by the student if not waived by the school.

Subject choices vary considerably all over the world. Participants are advised to not expect continuity among educational systems, but to take advantage of the opportunity to study something different.


Our History





Unique as the first international student exchange organisation founded and based in Australia, SCCE incorporated as a national company limited by guarantee.

17 Australians selected for exchange program to the U.S.A.

Three Australians selected for exchange to France, 8 for Germany. 16 Australian host families for U.S.A. students. French and German organisations interviewed; each appointed as affiliates. Delegations come to SCCE Australia.

57 Australians selected for France. Staff appointed in NSW Groups to France for Melbourne Girls’ Grammar and St Catherine’s. Residential Arrival Orientation in Hawaii for students to U.S.A.  SCCE moves to offices on farmlet in Pearcedale, Victoria.





SCCE offers first January semester outbound program. French government attaché recruit groups to France from NSW; 163 students in total selected for France.

SCCE appoints exclusive affiliate organisation in Italy. Requested by other exchange organisations, SCCE Director founds Australian umbrella organisation to represent professional Australian exchange organisations.

SCCE elected as the first Australian full member of Federation of International Youth Travel Organisations. SCCE offers first Au Pair program to USA. Denmark added.

Switzerland added.





At request of independent schools, first outbound November 3 month programs to France, Italy and Germany added. Japan added.

Finland, Spain and Canada added.

Poland added. SCCE declined the offer of a castle for payment of 3 students.

First non-governmental exchange organisation in Russia added. Sends 5 not-to-be-forgotten students. SCCE Australian exchange students in Europe enjoying a tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg, staying with host families for two weeks.





South Africa is added.  Student tour held in July.

17 Australians selected for exchange program to the USA.

Norway and Sweden added.

SCCE national office relocates to Mt Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula.





Netherlands added.

Ireland added.

In July, compulsory residential 3-day Arrival Orientation for International Students held in Sydney suburbs. Intensive activities, exercises and games, successfully prepare students for ‘change’.

Australian family preferences for education prevail in a year of financial uncertainty. Large numbers enrol and host.





China added; first student from SCCE arrives in Beijing in August.

Residential Arrival Orientation for international students becomes ‘de riguer’ upon dawn arrival in Sydney for 3.5 days.

30th Anniversary.
SCCE appoints affiliate organisation in Costa Rica. First students from SCCE arrive for 2 and 3 month programs.  30th Year concludes with GRAND TOTALS:
8,581 Australians sent overseas
8,102 International students hosted

Mexico added. First Mexican inbound student arrives in February.
Argentina added.
England added.
SCCE receives the Frankston & Mornington Peninsula Excellence in Business Award 2014 for Community Contribution.


Southern Cross Cultural Exchange officially launches in New Zealand, with the first New Zealand student departing on an exchange to Norway on Oct 26.

Our Purpose

To further tolerance
To challenge youth towards international understanding
To encourage youth
towards further learning
To provide self-knowledge and awareness
SCCE lauded for community contribution in business excellence award

Southern Cross Cultural Exchange was pleased to be conferred the honour of the prestigious Frankston & Mornington Peninsula Excellence in Business Award in 2014 for Community Contribution, in recognition of its role in advancing international understanding between Australian communities and the rest of the world. To read a newspaper report in the Mornington News, please click on this link  http://issuu.com/morningtonnews/docs/mn_4th_november_2014 and turn to page 11 of the paper.