This year, AYA is bringing hundreds of high school students to the U.S. to learn about American culture while living with volunteer host families and studying at high schools across the nation. American families have the unique opportunity to learn about the student’s culture during this mutually rewarding exchange.
AYA can help families find the ideal student for their home. The result is an enriching, lifelong relationship with a young person from abroad. In addition, for families looking to learn more about a specific culture or language, hosting a student is a fantastic way to experience the world without leaving home.
Students are ages 15 to 18 and arrive with full medical insurance, spending money, and the hopes of experiencing life in America through the eyes of a caring host family. The students stay with their host for five or 10 months and attend the local high school.
Who can host a student through AYA? According to AYA Director Melanie French, an important aspect of the AYA program is that there are many types of people who can host.
“Just as there is no typical American family, there is no typical host family,” states French. “Retirees, single parents and young couples are all able to give an international student a good home. Some host families may not even have children of their own. Bringing a student into your home can mean giving the gift of culture to yourself, your family, your community – whomever would benefit from exposure to a new culture.”