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

“Hosting exchange students has been such a rewarding experience for our family,” said Julie Mohn, an Ayusa host mom from Abilene. “We have gained so much knowledge about other cultures and have really enjoyed sharing our American culture with our students. Hosting provides such a wonderful learning and sharing experience for not only our family, but also the school and the community as a whole. We have gained some truly wonderful ‘daughters’ that will be in our family and in our hearts forever.”

Andover is one of several Kansas communities and surrounding areas that have high school availability for foreign exchange students – but still need local families to host them. Interested applicants in these communities and surrounding areas should visit www.ayusa.org or call 888-552-9872. 

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, Lebanon, Germany, and Japan. All students are fully insured, bring their own spending money, and are proficient in English. 

“Hosting a student is a rewarding experience for the host family, the student, the school, and the community,” said Jessica Anderson, Ayusa regional manager for Kansas. “Hosting opens the door to learning about other cultures all around the world while sharing your own. It is a great way to impact the world one student at a time.”

Every year, more than 28,000 international high school students 15-18 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 Ayusa online at www.ayusa.org or call them at 888-552-9872.