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Pen Pals

Project Exchange has partnered with Arist, a company with similar goals for cross-cultural communication, to offer the Digital Exchange Program experience using only text messages. 

Previously known as the DEP Text!

Mobile Phone

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A new, groundbreaking opportunity for middle and high school students.

There’s an ever-growing problem today for those who are interested in learning about cultures different than their own. Studying abroad is becoming increasingly expensive, and therefore increasingly out of reach, despite how important it is to the development of young minds and ideas.

At Project Exchange, we have come up with an idea to alleviate the costs of studying abroad while still being an active member of cultural exchange. The Digital Exchange Program is a virtual exchange through video chat allowing participants to speak with others from different countries at no cost. 


However, there are many in the world who don’t have access to the tools needed for a cross-border video call. That’s why Project Exchange has introduced a new branch of the Digital Exchange Program, an entirely text message-based exchange, known as the Pen Pals Program!


Program Overview

Time commitment? 
4 weeks total, 2-3 hours/week
1 daily online dialogue 

Is the program application open right now? 
​Yes! While the next cohort will not begin until October 2021, we will be accepting applications.
The program is hosted on WhatsApp.


Additional Info

Additional Information

  • Learn more about the Digital Exchange Program on this document and this webinar

  • Sign up for our newsletter here.


  • 12-18 year old students:

  • 19-21 year old students:

    • Learn about facilitating on the Facilitation Guide.

    • If you want to organize Pen Pals and work with students to deepen their exchange experience, apply here.



Luna, Cohort 3

Maria, Cohort 1

It was a wonderful experience to personally learn about someone from a different country and culture. This is the first time I make a friend from across the Ocean and it has greatly widened my knowledge and perspectives about other communities around the world. Not only did I learn something new about my partner everyday, but I strengthened my knowledge about my own culture, history, and language. I am so happy to have made a friend 5,900 miles away.

Marija, Cohort 1

I’m positively surprised that there are many students interested in learning more about other cultures and I believe that building relationships like this one is very important for self-development. I’m glad I participated in a program like this one, especially because during this time when we are quarantined I had something to look forward every day:) Even if it lasted only two weeks, it’s been an impactful and amazing experience so I encourage everyone to try some kind of curriculum that this program provides. 

Noreinys, Cohort 1

My experience in this digital exchange program has been eye-opening, I've never actually seen or known anything about India's culture from the perspective of someone who actually lives there. That was very interesting and it has broadened my outtake on India as a whole, I am thankful to be partnered with someone who was very nice and explained her culture throughly. I will take this experience with me and will utilize it and apply it to my leadership skills.


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