Ayusa Launches 2015 Search for American Families to Host Exchange Students in Minnesota

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Ayusa International is currently seeking volunteer U.S. host families in Minnesota interested in hosting a foreign exchange student for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.

Mona High of Anoka and Maria from Lebanon

Mona High, left, enjoys a day out with her exchange student from Lebanon, Maria, who is attending Anoka High School this year.

Exchange is not a year in your life, but a whole life in a year ... I couldn't ask for a better relationship with my host family. We have made lifetime memories that I'll never forget.

Ayusa International, a non-profit organization that has promoted global learning and leadership through high school student cultural exchanges for more than 34 years, is kicking off its annual search for families in Minnesota interested in hosting international students for the 2015-2016 school year.

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

  •     Minneapolis/St. Paul
  •     Duluth, Brainerd
  •     Rush City, Cambridge, St. Cloud
  •     Mankato, Faribault
  •     Marshall

Ayusa host families who open their home to exchange students contribute to the global community as public diplomats for greater international understanding. Each host family and student creates a lasting relationship that spans the cultural differences between their two nations.

Mona High, a widow with three grown children and a native of Lebanon who has lived in Anoka, Minnesota for many years, explains her initial impulse for hosting a foreign exchange student. “Having an extra room in my house, I decided to help a student experience the American way of life that everyone dreams about,” she said. “But it was for my benefit too, affecting me in a positive way. I was so happy with Maria’s energy and good attitude – this girl changed my life.”

Student Maria from Lebanon was equally enthusiastic: “Exchange is not a year in your life, but a whole life in a year… I experienced the American high school life, tried traditional food, talked about my country, went sightseeing, visited museums, and volunteered in the community,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better relationship with my host family. We have made lifetime memories that I’ll never forget.”

Ayusa 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.

“Minnesota is one of the top destinations for Ayusa exchange students in the U.S.,” said Jessica Anderson, Ayusa regional manager for the Midwest. “Our families are known for their adventurousness and enthusiasm in sharing the rich history and traditions of this beloved region,” she added. “Hosting an exchange student also allows families to learn about other countries and cultures, without the travel. If you’ve ever thought about sharing your Minnesota lifestyle with a student from abroad, I encourage you to give us a call, or check out our website to read the many stories of these international friendships that last a lifetime!”

Host families provide the exchange student with three meals a day and a bedroom (private or shared). A professionally trained Ayusa representative supports each host family, student, and local school throughout the program year. Ayusa’s exchange students are 15-18 years old and come from more than 60 countries around the world. All students are fully insured, bring their own spending money and are proficient in English.

How to Host an International Student
Interested families can learn more about the program and available exchange students, and request additional information by visiting http://www.ayusa.org or calling 1-888-552-9872.

The process to apply is simple. Families complete the online application, which includes questions about themselves and local high school, references, and a background check. Once the application is submitted, the local Ayusa Community Representative will conduct an in-home interview. They can also help each family with any questions they may have about the application or process.

After families are fully approved, they can select the Ayusa student they would like to host.

About Ayusa
Ayusa International (http://www.ayusa.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit student exchange organization founded in 1981 and an official U.S. Department of State designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor. In addition, Ayusa administers 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 provides 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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