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

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

Exchange student Thuc Anh from Germany and host dad Scott Henry prepare dinner in the Henry family home in Blasdell (near Buffalo).

[Thuc Anh] seems to run into friends everywhere we go, and there is a lot of hugging and squealing.

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 New York 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:

  •     Long Island
  •     Staten Island
  •     Albany
  •     Rochester
  •     Syracuse, Ithaca
  •     Malone

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.

The Henry family of Blasdell – host mom and dad Kirstie and Scott, along with nine-year-old daughter Kennedy – welcomed high school student Thuc Anh into their home for the 2014-2015 academic year. Although she grew up in Germany, Thuc Anh’s family is from Viet Nam. Early on she was worried she was not contributing enough to the household, so Scott designated her in charge of keeping the kitchen tidy. “Scott calls her his sous-chef, because she is always in the kitchen helping when we are cooking,” says Kirstie.

A death in Kirstie’s family recently required her to be away for about a week, leaving Scott at home to care for the family by himself. “Although my in-laws were there to assist, Thuc Anh really helped out while I was away,” Kirstie recalls. “Our daughter Kennedy was struggling with emotions and Thuc Anh hung in there with her, made sure her homework was done each day, and even prepared her lunch each night. Thuc Anh really made herself available to be part of the Henry family – and the community. She seems to run into friends everywhere we go, and there is a lot of hugging and squealing.”

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.

“New York 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 New York 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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