Ayusa Steps Up Search for American Families to Host Exchange Students in Arizona

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

Left to right: Ayusa student Oguzan from Turkey, host parents Sam and Susan of Peoria, and Ayusa student Iqbal from Indonesia explore the rock formations of Arizona

One of our favorite things was to cook dinner together ...Sam and I also had fun showing them around the sights of Arizona, which are very different from Indonesia and Turkey.

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, continues its annual search for families in Arizona interested in hosting international students for the 2014-2015 school year.

Ayusa is actively looking for Arizona host families throughout the entire state, specifically in and around the following communities:

  •     Phoenix
  •     Tucson
  •     Flagstaff
  •     Casa Grande
  •     Mesa
  •     Glendale/Litchfield Park
  •     Peoria
  •     Yuma

This past year Susan Huber and Sam Thornton of Peoria, who have no biological children, opened their home to two exchange students, Iqbal from Indonesia and Oguzhan from Turkey. Both boys attended Liberty High School and savored the differences between secondary school in America and in their respective countries. In particular, Iqbal enjoyed bowling, “school spirit” and the “amazing size and energy” of Liberty High. Oguzhan appreciated his English teacher, Mr. Pischke, who built a lot of interactivity in his lessons and “made English so fun and not boring,” Oguzhan said.

“One of our favorite things was to cook dinner together,” said Susan. “The boys cooked dishes from their countries as well as learning to cook American dishes. Some of our most memorable times were sitting around the table eating together, sharing interesting stories about their homelands. Sam and I also had fun showing them around the sights of Arizona, which are very different from Indonesia and Turkey.”

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 and criminal background check 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 – and an 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, the Netherlands, Morocco, China, and Spain. All students are fully insured, bring their own spending money, and are proficient in English.

“Arizona is a popular state for Ayusa exchange students visiting the U.S., perhaps because of its Southwest flavor and scenic landmarks, but also for the host families’ enthusiasm in welcoming cultures from around the world,” said Connie Coutu, Ayusa regional manager for the Southwestern U.S. “If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like sharing your Arizona 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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Patsy Barich
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