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

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

Failor family in Dallastown with

Scott and Ruthie Failor flank their Italian exchange student Benedetta (Benny) during Dallastown High School graduation ceremonies, where Benny received a certificate of participation.

Being an exchange student brought out a side of me I never thought was there ... I built a new confidence and a new way to see the world. I also made memories that will last a lifetime.

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 Pennsylvania 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:

  •     Pittsburgh
  •     West Grove, Gradyville, Norristown
  •     Center Valley
  •     Altoona
  •     Murrysville
  •     Shinglehouse
  •     Hanover, New Oxford
  •     Montoursville

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.

Ruthie and Scott Failor of Dallastown are long-time fans of the Ayusa exchange program, having hosted four other high school foreign exchange students before their year with Benedetta (“Benny”) from Italy. “Hosting is the greatest experience we ever had,” said Ruthie. “It brings many hearts into one family.”

Benny talked about the personal growth she achieved during the program: “Being an exchange student brought out a side of me I never thought was there,” she said. “I built a new confidence and a new way to see the world. I also made memories that will last a lifetime,” she added. Benny and her parents in Italy are already planning a visit with the Failors in order to maintain the family bond.

"Pennsylvania is a great state for hosting high school foreign exchange students,” said Ayusa senior regional director for Pennsylvania Doris Junga. “Our state was the first capitol city of the United States, and we have myriad multi-cultural events in which our exchange students have been able to participate. This region offers monthly activities for our students, which gives them the opportunity to see two of the most popular places they have dreamed about visiting – New York City and Washington, DC.,” Doris continued. “Pennsylvania has hosted over 5,000 Ayusa students over the past 30 years – I would highly recommend your family to join us this year for an extraordinarily rewarding cultural learning experience."

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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