The first thing you need to do is research the various programs that are out there. Do it carefully! There are a great many of them. Those currently certified to operate in the U.S. can be found at www.csiet.org. Since a program is only as good as its local people, I suggest that you also ask your school counselor.
Rotary is the cheapest, but it also is one of the most competitive and has additional responsibilities that go with it.
I would recommend a non-English country because one of the primary benefits of an exchange year is language immersion. Be aware, if you choose a French speaking country, two years of high school French is generally required. Most other countries do not have a language requirement (good for us Americans!).
An exchange year is an exciting and wonderful opportunity! I hope you can realize your dream!
Rotary is indeed the cheapest and they have a good reputation in most countries.
Check out these websites:
http://www.rotary.org (click on the youth exchange link)
http://www.cultures-shocked.org... (forum for exchangers)
Good luck and have fun!
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