Ayusa Kicks Off Search for American Families to Host Exchange Students in California

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Ayusa International is currently seeking volunteer U.S. host families in California interested in hosting a foreign exchange student for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year.

Left to Right: Host mom Lea Ronald, Ayusa exchange student Angelina from Germany, and host dad Michael Ronald enjoy a walk along the bay near San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

My experiences and the wonderful people I met here have inspired me in every imaginable way. This year was filled with love, fun and adventure; it had such a huge impact on my life.

Ayusa International, a non-profit organization that for 31 years has promoted global learning and leadership through high school student cultural exchanges and leadership programs, is launching its annual search for families in California interested in hosting international students for the 2014-2015 school year.

Ayusa is looking for California host families specifically in and around the following communities:

  •     Arcata, McKinleyville
  •     Eureka, Fortuna
  •     Fresno, Clovis, Bakersfield
  •     Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton
  •     Napa, American Canyon
  •     Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol

“We decided to host an exchange student because we wanted to offer an opportunity; to have a positive impact on a young person’s life,” said Lea Ronald of Napa, California, who with her husband Michael is hosting Angelina from Germany. “What we didn’t expect was the enrichment she has provided to ours. Angelina is not an ‘exchange student’ to us – she is a friend. She is family. And she will remain as such forever.”

Angelina, who is attending New Technology High School in Napa, shares the Ronalds' enthusiasm: "If I had to describe my exchange year in only one word I would say ‘inspiration.’ My experiences and the wonderful people I met here have inspired me in every imaginable way. This year was filled with love, fun and adventure; it had such a huge impact on my life. I feel like I became a better person and I realized that there’s places on this earth where people love me, miss me, think of me and I can’t find the words to describe my bliss and gratefulness.”

Ayusa (which stands for “Academic Year in the USA”) works with diverse families who are interested in hosting an international student of high school age. Families without children, empty nesters, military families, retirees, and single people are all welcome. Ayusa families come from all 50 states and reside in rural, suburban and urban communities. Host families provide three meals a day and a bedroom (either private or shared). Each exchange student is supported by a professionally trained local representative from Ayusa who works closely with the family, student and local school throughout the program.

How to Host an International Student
Families interested in hosting an exchange student with Ayusa can follow three simple steps:

  •     Step One: View information online about Ayusa’s program and types of students that are interested in living with a host family and spending a year in the United States.
  •     Step Two: Complete your Ayusa application for hosting, which can be done online. Ayusa will provide a list of questions about families and their local high school, request five references, and ask family candidates to sign a program agreement. An Ayusa representative can help complete the application, answer any questions and connect potential host families with other host families in a specific community.
  •     Step Three: Once the application is submitted, an Ayusa representative will assist with completion of the additional hosting requirements – a criminal background check and in-home interview with an Ayusa representative. Once a host family is approved, they may login to select a student. Ayusa representatives can also help find a student to match a family’s specific interests and activities.

Ayusa’s exchange students are 15-18 years old and come from more than 60 countries around the world, including Brazil, Japan, Germany, Ecuador, France, Peru, Morocco, China, and Spain. All students are fully insured, bring their own spending money, and are proficient in English.

“It’s not surprising that California is one of the most desired destinations for Ayusa exchange students,” said Cathy Galli-Veneveld, Ayusa regional manager for the Western states. “The Golden State is rich with history, multicultural traditions and diverse countryside – not to mention its enthusiastic and friendly families.” Cathy continued, “Hosting an exchange student also provides California families the chance to learn about other cultures around the globe, without the travel. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like sharing your California lifestyle with a student from abroad, now is the time to take action – please give us a call to start building an international friendship that will last a lifetime!”

According to The Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), more than 27,000 international high school students between the ages of 15 and 18 years old studied in the U.S. during 2013-2014 as part of U.S. government-sponsored international exchange programs. Ayusa has been a member of CSIET for more than 25 years – since its foundation. CSIET evaluates U.S.-based high school exchange programs so that students, families and schools can identify reputable inbound and outbound exchange organizations.

Ayusa is a 501(c)3, and an official U.S. Department of State designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor. Families interested in learning more about hosting a foreign exchange student can visit http://www.ayusa.org or call 1-888-552-9872.

About Ayusa
Ayusa International (http://www.ayusa.org) is a non-profit organization founded in 1981 to promote global learning and leadership through cultural exchange and leadership programs for high school students from the U.S. and around the world. In addition, Ayusa administers multiple high profile grant programs funded by the U.S. Department of State and other organizations. Ayusa is a sister company of Intrax, a family of organizations that provide a lifetime of high-quality educational, work and volunteer programs that connect people and cultures. Intrax is headquartered in San Francisco with offices on four continents.

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