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

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

Middletown couple Ernest and Greta Hoff enjoy the winter holidays with their Ayusa exchange student, Eline (center) from Holland.

[Eline] loves them like they are her very own grandparents, and that is what they have been for her.

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 Delaware 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:

  •     Middletown
  •     Smyrna
  •     Odessa
  •     Townsend
  •     Bear

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.

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.

Ernest and Greta Hoff of Middletown are elderly (82 and 79, respectively), yet they applied to the program to host a high school exchange student. Ayusa matched them with Eline from Holland, who embraced them from the beginning as “Opa” and “Oma” – Dutch for Grandpa and Grandma. “She loves them like they are her very own grandparents, and that is what they have been for her,” said Ayusa community representative Patti Reichlin, who works with host parents, exchange students and high schools to optimize the cross-cultural school year.

Ernest and Greta also have an extended family, whose members often visit and take Eline places; her favorite travels have been New York City, and camping trips. She has also shared Dutch recipes with her host family, as she loves to cook. When Eline’s school year ends, her natural mother is coming for a visit and they plan to travel around the U.S. – and they want to take the Hoffs with them. “To make sure the host grandparents are comfortable, they will be traveling by motor home!” said Patti.

In Smyrna, Irv and Diane Smith, along with son Dalton, have been a host family for eight years and hosted nine students. Their exchange students come from a variety of countries, yet each one has become a part of their family – demonstrated by the fact that many former students return to visit the Smiths often. The family even includes its prior exchange students in the selection process for the next year’s student. “The Smiths have truly created one of the most amazing families I’ve ever had the privilege to know,” Patti noted.

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