Ayusa Asks Florida Families to Host a Foreign Exchange Student

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Ayusa International seeks volunteer U.S. host families who would like to host a foreign exchange student in Pensacola, Celebration, Zephyrhills, Naples and the Orlando area.

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“Florida host families get the opportunity to show these young visitors the ‘heart’ of our state and country, which is likely a very different picture than they may have seen on the news,” said Pat Balli, Ayusa regional manager for Florida.

Ayusa International, a 30-year old non-profit organization that promotes global learning and leadership through cultural exchange, study abroad and leadership programs for high school students, is looking for Florida families to host an international high school student for the 2012-2013 school year.

Ayusa has confirmed high school availability for multiple foreign exchange students in high schools in Pensacola, Celebration, Zephyrhills, Naples and the Orlando Area (especially Seminole County) but is still looking for local families to host the students. Interested applicants in these communities should visit http://www.ayusa.org or call 1-888-552-9872.

“By hosting an international student, Florida host families get the opportunity to show these young visitors the ‘heart’ of our state and country, which is likely a very different picture than they may have seen on the news or in the movies,” said Pat Balli, Ayusa regional manager for Florida. “And, for us, the home countries of our students become more than just a spot on the map. Hosting allows us to enhance our knowledge of other peoples and cultures, helping all of us to become citizens of the world.”

Ayusa’s international exchange students are 15-18 years old and come from more than 60 countries around the world, including France, China, Mexico, Sweden, Chile, Tunisia, Germany, and Japan. All students are fully insured, bring their own spending money, and are proficient in English.

“When I was a freshman in high school, my family opened our home and life to an outgoing and intelligent foreign exchange student from Tunisia named Mouna, who forever changed my preconceived notions of Muslim culture,” said Jacquelyn Mason, an Ayusa host sister in Oviedo, Florida, whose family is hosting another international student for the upcoming school year. “Even three years after she lived with us, I continue to learn from Mouna. She is my role model.”

Every year, more than 28,000 international high school students ages 15 to 18 years old come to the U.S. to study as part of U.S. government-sponsored international exchange programs.

There is no “typical” American host family and Ayusa welcomes all interested families, with or without children, from both urban and rural communities. Host families provide three meals a day and a bedroom (either private or shared). Each student is supported by a professionally trained community representative from Ayusa who works with the family, student and local school for the entire program. All host families must pass a criminal background check and home visit from an Ayusa representative before being eligible to host.

Ayusa has been a member of the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) for more than 25 years – since its foundation. CSIET evaluates U.S.-based high school exchange programs so that students, families and schools can identify reputable inbound and outbound exchange organizations.

Ayusa is a 501(c)3, and an official U.S. Department of State designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor. Families interested in learning more about hosting a foreign exchange student can visit http://www.ayusa.org or call 1-888-552-9872.

About Ayusa
Ayusa International (http://www.ayusa.org) is a non-profit organization founded in 1981 to promote global learning and leadership through cultural exchange, study abroad and leadership programs for high school students from the U.S. and around the world. In addition, Ayusa administers multiple 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 provide 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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Melanie Vuynovich
Ayusa
415-434-5512
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