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

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

Fremont host mom, Diane, left, enjoys the holidays with Julie, right, an Ayusa high school exchange student from South Korea

The minute Julie got off the plane she called me ‘Mom,’ and it touched me in a way I never imagined. She is the daughter I never had!

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 Nebraska 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:

  • Omaha, Bennington
  • Lincoln
  • Shelby
  • Wymore
  • Gurley, Merna (western Nebraska)
  • Hamburg, Iowa

Diane Brown of Fremont, Nebraska, was a first-time host mom this past year for Julie, 16, from South Korea. “I can tell you it has truly been a blessing!” Diane recounted. “The minute Julie got off the plane she called me ‘Mom,’ and it touched me in a way I never imagined. She is the daughter I never had! My two grown boys, their fiancées, and all my friends will tell you how Julie puts a smile on everyone’s face each day with her experiences here in Nebraska at Fremont’s Bergen High School.”

Diane reminisced about taking Julie into Omaha to an Asian market in search of her beloved kimchee, a spicy pickled cabbage that is a Korean staple. “When we stepped inside the market, Julie exclaimed, ‘Just like home, Mom!’ Diane recalled. “She called a Korean friend in Atlanta who was also on an exchange year and they celebrated finding their favorite foods in the U.S. I did try kimchee and found it very spicy, but Julie made sure I had some milk to drink to cool down my mouth,” she laughed.

She added that hosting Julie for the academic year was also a healing experience for her, on the heels of a recent divorce. “Hosting a foreign student has always been on my bucket list, but I wasn’t able to do it until now,” she said. “This year with Julie has given me a boost of confidence that I can takes on new experiences and adventures on my own, with love and support from my kids. Life only gets better from being involved with such a wonderful exchange program as Ayusa’s!”

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.

“Nebraska is an increasingly popular destination for Ayusa exchange students in the U.S.,” said Heather Wells, Ayusa regional manager for the Midwest. “Our families are known for their generosity and enthusiasm in sharing the rich history and traditions with visitors. It’s all part of ‘Nebraska … the good life,’ a state tag line since the ‘70s,” 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 Nebraska 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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