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

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

Natacha from France with Milford host sister Hayley Steffy, teammates on the Milford High School swim team

Natacha's year with us has been a great experience. She's a family member for life, and it will be hard to see her go at the end of the year.

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 Ohio 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:

  •     Toledo
  •     Columbus
  •     Cincinnati
  •     Cleveland
  •     Elyria, Akron and Warren (NE Ohio)
  •     Athens, Chillicothe and Waverly (Ohio River area)
  •     Parkersburg, WV

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.

Hayley Steffy, a junior at Milford High School in Milford (Cincinnati area), loved French culture, and wanted to improve her knowledge of both the language and the country. She pushed for her family to do more, and this fall Natacha from France arrived to live with the Steffy family for the academic school year, attending Milford High through Ayusa’s exchange student program.

Since Natacha’s arrival in August, the two girls quickly bonded and have become like sisters. Natacha also decided to join the swim team with Hayley this winter, so they spend lots of time together. “I think that being on a sports team is one of the best things you can do as an exchange student,” said Natacha, “because it’s where you make close friends since you spend a lot of time together.”

Hayley has improved her French-speaking skills, and between her host family and the American high school, Natacha has greatly improved her English-speaking skills. The girls also had fun making traditional crepes together, among other French foods. Says host mom Cheryl Steffy, “Natacha’s year with us has been a great experience. She’s a family member for life, and it will be hard to see her go at the end of the year.”

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.

“Ohio is a popular destination for Ayusa exchange students in the U.S.,” said Mark Hoyer, Ayusa regional manager for the East Coast. “Our host families are known for their warmth and enthusiasm in sharing the rich history and traditions of the eastern states,” he 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 Ohio 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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