About Us

Education Travel & Culture

Education Travel & Culture (ETC) is a non-profit [501(c)(3)] educational exchange organization. Our purpose is to promote international understanding and goodwill by providing high quality educational and cultural exchange programs in the United States and abroad. ETC provides inbound program opportunities for high school students throughout the world to study in an American high school and live with an American family. Host families provide room and board, a quiet place to study, and an American family experience for guest students during their semester or academic year in the United States. ETC’s outbound program offers students the chance to study and live in a foreign country. To find out information about ETC’s sister organization and short term summer student exchange program, please visit Northwest International Student Exchange (NISE) at www.nwise.org.


In 1999 ETC was designated by the U.S. Department of State as a J-1 visa program. Participating students receive DS-2019 forms in order to obtain J-1 visas. ETC is a member of the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET). 


To promote international understanding and goodwill by providing high quality educational and cultural exchange programs for high school students.


ETC has been a member of CSIET since 2000 and has maintained a full listing on their advisory list since 2002. ETC has been awarded the Darkness to Light Partner in Prevention distinction each year since 2015. This distinction represents ETC’s commitment to the prevention of child sexual abuse and to helping children grow up in a healthy home. Also, ETC has been awarded in 2019 & 2020 with the Top Non-Profit Award

United States Department of State
About Us
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2020 Great Non profits

ETC Staff

ETC maintains a professional staff at its main office in Portland, Oregon. It also has a network of Local Coordinators (LC) that serves as the local support for the students, host families, and schools. The LC calls and visits each host family and student on a regular basis to assess the student’s progress and assists both the student and the host family with the adjustment process. The LC submits this information in a written monthly evaluation to the ETC main office, the student’s natural parents and overseas sponsoring organization. The LC also monitors the student’s progress in school and provides assistance as needed.

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Alix Nathan

 President CEO

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Brenda Ferland

Field Director


Jocelyn Oswald

Program Manager


Sheri Quiros

Regional Manager

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Kristie Halander

Regional Manager


Teresa Thompson

Senior Field Manager 


Gia Allen

Senior Field Manager 


Michele Avila

Senior Field Manager 

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Jessica Gutierrez

Senior Field Manager 

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Michaela Ricciardi

Senior Field Manager 


Kirsten Boone

Administrative & Training Manager


Silvia Phillips

Student Support Manager


Chelsea Swift

Administrative Coordinator

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Heidi James

Marketing Specialist 

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Shanika Peplinski

Recruitment Specialist

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Jamie Krauss

Student Support Specialist

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Trina Trenbeath

Student Support Coordinator


Colleen Arreguin

Training Specialist

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Rosie Sanchez

Onboarding and Training Admin Assistant

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Ashley Hunter

Field Admin Assistant

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Amanda Thayer

Field Admin Assistant

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Andrea Jones

Student Support Coordinator

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Darcy Zeiger

Student Support Coordinator

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Gianne Francisco

Administrative Assistant



Our host families learn about a new culture by providing a place to stay for a foreign exchange student.


Local coordinators become part of the ETC team by mentoring exchange students and helping recruit host families.


It’s time to have an adventure abroad. Choose your destination and have one of the best experiences of your life!

Find your Student

host family interest form