Council for Educational Travel USA

CETUSA is a not-for-profit international student exchange organization coordinating exchange experiences for high school students, university students and young professionals. CETUSA is a US Department of State Exchange Visitor (J-1 visa) sponsor organization.

Our Mission

The mission of CETUSA is “reaching out to encourage a lifelong journey of global peace and understanding” for the students, host families and communities that are part of the exchange experience.


  • semester or year-long high school exchange with host family placement
  • outbound program where high school students in the USA can study abroad
  • training program for young professionals
  • internship program for university students

Each program has specific eligibility requirements with the opportunity to live in cities and towns across the United States.

CETUSA has a Corporate Office in Grand Rapids Michigan and also has an office in Bellingham, Washington. There are Regional Directors as well as Local Coordinators who are located in the communities where the international students are placed.

Kim Carter

Executive Director

Kim has lived abroad and is very passionate about our mission. Kim began working with CETUSA in 2014 and brings an extensive background in organizational development and communications.

Michael Dulay

Deputy Executive Director of J-1 Operations

Michael started in 2018 with CETUSA. He comes from a finance and organizational management background in the post secondary higher education industry.

Lisa Turnwall

High School Placement Director

Lisa and her family hosted their first high school student in 1981. Lisa began her career in student exchange in 2006 after a number of years in the corporate world and succeeded her mother, Peg Spoelstra, as Program Director in 2015.

Martin Emmerson

Director of Student Services

Martin comes from many years of multicultural life and work within several African countries and in the USA. This has primarily been in the ‘church’ world involving extensive experience with not only adults but personal involvement in care and education of youth.

Olivia Grigorjeva

Trainee & Internship Programs Placement Director

Olivia was a high school exchange student in 1993 in Grand Rapids, MI. Upon completion of her MBA, she joined CETUSA in 2002 and since then has helped the company grow and develop different programs, including the Trainee and Internship Program where she currently manages placement services.

Gwen Retterer

Training and Internship Operations Manager

Gwen had her first taste of living abroad when she studied in Bangkok, Thailand. Based on that experience, and many others, Gwen strives to provide others with meaningful cross-cultural experiences through the Tranee and Internship Program.

generation study abroad

Fully accredited

CETUSA is granted full listing in the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) Advisory List and is a commitment member of IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative.

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