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

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

L to R: Host daughter Belle, host dad Ira, student Pauline from France, host daughter Lily, host son Marshall and host mom Lynette

I remember the day my father and I picked up Pauline from the airport ... It was like we had known each other forever – we just hugged like we were lifelong friends. It honestly took one hour for us to become inseparable.

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 Florida 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:

  •     Orlando, Winter Park
  •     Clay County
  •     Ocala
  •     Tampa, Brandon, Zephyrhills
  •     Port St. Lucie
  •     Fort Lauderdale/Broward County
  •     Pensacola
  •     Jacksonville/Gainesville

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.

The Bryants – host parents Ira and Lyzette, host brother Marshall and host sisters Belle and Lily – were ecstatic to welcome Pauline, 17, of France into their Lakeland home. “I remember the day my father and I picked up Pauline from the airport,” said Belle. “It was like we had known each other forever – we just hugged like we were lifelong friends. It honestly took one hour for us to become inseparable.”

Host mom Lyzette explained, “Since my husband and I work full-time, we spend most of our evenings eating dinner with Pauline and our other children. That’s our time to laugh and learn new words, phrases, and go over interesting stories from the day. I love to cook, and Pauline loves to help – I especially like it when she makes crepes.”

Pauline enjoyed everyday life as well as excursions with the Bryant family. “Our amazing trip to Washington, D.C., allowed me to learn so much about my host country … it’s really amazing for me to see how proud Americans are of their country, and understand how France played such a prominent role in its creation,” she said. “At school, I’m involved on the yearbook staff. By doing so I have the opportunity to meet people from throughout Lakeland Senior High School and expand my English through interviewing and writing.”

“Florida is a popular destination for Ayusa exchange students in the U.S.,” said Jess Swisher, Ayusa Regional Manager for the Southeast. “Our southern host families are known for their warmth and hospitality in sharing the history, traditions and outdoor recreational opportunities of Florida,” 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 Florida 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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