High School Exchange Students Need Host Families in Virginia for 2016-2017 School Year

Share Article

Ayusa International is looking for volunteer families in Virginia, like the Saddler family of Virginia Beach, interested in hosting a foreign exchange student.

L to R, back row: Host mom Shane, elder daughter Alicia, host dad Bill. Front row: younger daughter, Haylee, exchange student Fedi from Italy and son Logen

The bond of an exchange student going through the ups and downs of a year in high school with you is life-changing.

Ayusa International hopes to find families throughout Virginia who will volunteer to open their homes to an international exchange student for the 2016-2017 school year. Families like the Saddlers, who welcome Ayusa international exchange students, contribute to the global community as public diplomats for greater international understanding. Currently, Ayusa is seeking host families in the following cities:

  • Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Norfolk
  • Amherst, Buckingham, Cumberland, Powhatan counties
  • Prince Edward County, Appomattox

The Saddler family from Virginia Beach has hosted several Ayusa exchange students over the last several years, including Antoinette from France and most recently Fedi from Italy. Host mom Shane shares, “Through the exchange program, it's like we are growing our family -- as though we have sons and daughters all over Europe. Some have returned to visit us, and we can’t wait to go see them in their home countries!“

Hosting has also been a great experience for the Saddler children. They enjoy having exchange “siblings” from all over the world who teach them about cultural differences and similarities. “I get to meet many students and they teach me about their ways of life in faraway countries,” explains Logen, 11. Older sister Alicia, now 19, agrees that it is unlike any other experience: “The bond of an exchange student going through the ups and downs of a year in high school with you is life-changing.”

Ayusa works with families from all backgrounds who are interested in hosting. Many families are not the typical “nuclear family” that so many think of as American. Families with or without children, empty nesters, military families, retirees, and single people are all welcome. Ayusa families come from all over the country and reside in rural, suburban and urban communities.

Connie Coutu, the Regional Manager who supports the state, notes that Virginia is a particularly welcoming state for exchange students. “Families like the Saddlers who take these students into their homes and their hearts really bring to life the tradition of Southern hospitality,” she says. “In addition, Virginia embodies a lot of American history, so exchange students learn about both older traditions and modern-day life in the U.S.”

Host families volunteer to provide their exchange student with three meals a day and a bedroom (private or shared). Each host family, student, and school is supported by a professionally trained Ayusa representative throughout the program year.

Ayusa’s exchange students are 15-18 years old and come from more than 60 countries around the world. 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. The local Ayusa Community Representative conducts 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.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Patsy Barich
Visit website