Ayusa Ramps Up 2015 Search for American Families to Host Exchange Students in Illinois

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Ayusa International is currently seeking volunteer U.S. host families in Illinois interested in hosting an international high school exchange student for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.

Left to right: Alec Menees, host mom Lisa Menees, Albert from Germany, Laney Menees and host dad Rob Menees enjoy a beach day.

It was easy to open our home and our lives to Albert ... He seamlessly became a member of our family.

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 intensifying its annual search for families in Illinois 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:

  •     Chicagoland areas
  •     Peoria, Morton
  •     Quincy
  •     Lincoln
  •     Champaign/Urbana
  •     Springfield, Chatham, Taylorville
  •     Shiloh

St. Joseph residents Rob and Lisa Menees, along with their children Alec, 17, and Laney, 15, count their year hosting Albert, 17, an exchange student from Germany, as a lifetime family highlight. “It was easy to open our home and our lives to Albert,” said host mom Lisa. “He seamlessly became a member of our family. We thought this would be a fun thing to do for our kids and give them exposure to other cultures around the world, but instead it changed the entire dynamic of our family unit. We learned as much if not more from Albert than he did from us,” she added.

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.

“Illinois is a popular destination for Ayusa exchange students in the U.S.,” said Jessica Anderson, Ayusa regional manager for the Heartland states. “Our students are excited about the possibility of spending a year with a host family in the Land of Lincoln and visiting the historic Midwest,” she continued. “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 Illinois 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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