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Foreign Exchange Program Seeks Host Families

Posted by Nick Brothers |

Staff Report

Ayusa International, a non-profit organization that for 31 years has promoted global learning and leadership through high school student cultural exchanges and leadership programs, continues its annual search for families in Arkansas interested in hosting international students for the 2014-2015 school year.

Ayusa is actively looking for Arkansas host families throughout the entire state, specifically in and around the following communities:

· Fayetteville, Springdale

· Fort Smith

· Lead Hill

· Pine Bluff

· Camden

· Beebe

Ron and Cheri Mead of Springdale, Ark., hosted Henriette, 17, from Norway and Femke, 17, from the Netherlands this year.

“We love hosting international exchange students,” said host mom Cheri, “It’s always an adventure. We’ve had good luck over several years, with wonderful students who teach us about their native country as they learn about American culture.”

Ayusa (which stands for “Academic Year in the USA”) 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. Host families provide three meals a day and a bedroom (either private or shared). Each exchange student is supported by a professionally trained local representative from Ayusa who works closely with the family, student and local school throughout the program.

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How to Host an International Student

Families interested in hosting an exchange student with Ayusa can follow three simple steps:

· Step One: View information online about Ayusa’s program and types of students that are interested in living with a host family and spending a year in the United States.

· Step Two: Complete your Ayusa application and criminal background check for hosting, which can be done online. Ayusa will provide a list of questions about families and their local high school, request five references, and ask family candidates to sign a program agreement. An Ayusa representative can help complete the application, answer any questions and connect potential host families with other host families in a specific community.

· Step Three: Once the application is submitted, an Ayusa representative will assist with completion of the additional hosting requirements – and an in-home interview with an Ayusa representative. Once a host family is approved, they may login to select a student. Ayusa representatives can also help find a student to match a family’s specific interests and activities.

Ayusa’s exchange students are 15-18 years old and come from more than 60 countries around the world, including Brazil, Japan, Germany, Ecuador, France, the Netherlands, Morocco, China, and Spain. All students are fully insured, bring their own spending money, and are proficient in English.

“Arkansas continues to be a popular destination for Ayusa exchange students visiting the U.S., perhaps because of its Southern hospitality and enthusiasm in sharing its culture and traditions,” said Jessica Anderson, Ayusa regional manager for Arkansas. “If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like sharing your Arkansas lifestyle with a student from abroad, now is the time to take action – please give us a call to start building an international friendship that will last a lifetime!”

According to The Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), more than 27,000 international high school students between the ages of 15 and 18 years old studied in the U.S. during 2013-2014 as part of U.S. government-sponsored international exchange programs. Ayusa has been a member of 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 www.ayusa.org or call 1-888-552-9872.

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