Times were that the appearance of several foreign exchange students on the roster of a Michigan high school team created controversy and hard feelings.
That changed as the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), created in 1984, grew into its role in setting standards for student exchange programs and as state high school associations came to rely on the CSIET Advisory List of International Educational Travel & Exchange Programs.
The MHSAA came to count on students from listed programs being properly placed in schools, without regard to athletic potential; and we made exceptions to our athletic transfer rules for those students.
In MHSAA member schools, a student placed through a CSIET-listed program is immediately eligible and may participate a maximum of two consecutive semesters or three consecutive trimesters in any and all MHSAA member schools.
In most years Michigan ranks second in the nation (behind Texas) in the number of students attending high schools through CSIET-listed programs (2,011 in 2008-09); but as a result of the controls now in place, there is rarely a concern that foreign student eligibility has created competitive imbalance between interscholastic athletic teams. Rather, the sense is that it is creating healthy cultural awareness – never more in need than it is in our world today.
For more information on youth exchange, visit www.csiet.org.