Ayusa Launches 2015 Search for American Families to Host Exchange Students in Georgia

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

Simone from Holland

Simone from Holland is attending Macon's Howard High School this year and is being hosted by Kyle and Lori Kelly.

Hosting gives us insight into other cultures, and a chance to show what America is really like – not how it’s portrayed in movies and the news ... [hosting] gives us new family members to cherish and love for the rest of our lives.

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 kicking off its annual search for families in Georgia 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:

  • Marietta, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta
  • Athens, Fayetteville
  • Augusta
  • Macon, Byron, Centerville, Warner Robins
  • Columbus
  • Savannah
  • Valdosta, Waycross

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.

Kyle and Lori Kelly lead busy professional lives in Macon. Ten years ago, they decided to try out hosting an international high school exchange student through the Ayusa program because they thought it would enrich their lives. They started out with a French student, Elodie, and enjoyed her company so much they kept hosting students annually from such countries as Italy, Germany, Holland and France. In 2012, Kyle and Lori traveled to Italy and organized a “family reunion” with several of their former exchange students.

This year, they’re hosting Simone from Holland, who attends Howard High School in Macon. Simone has found she’s welcomed at school, often by the same American students who befriended the Kellys’ previous exchange students. “Hosting gives us insight into other cultures, and a chance to show what America is really like – not how it’s portrayed in movies and the news,” said Lori. “But more importantly, it gives us new family members to cherish and love for the rest of our lives,” she added.

“Georgia 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 rich history and traditions of Georgia,” 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 Georgian 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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