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Host families sought

August 22, 2012
Lehigh Acres Citizen

Academic Year in America, or AYA, is looking for Lehigh Acres families open to welcoming an exchange student into their home for four to six weeks.

This year, AYA is bringing hundreds of high school students ages 15 to 18 to the United States. With AYA's tailored matching system, families have the unique opportunity to find a student who will be the perfect fit for their household.

Students come from more than 30 countries, such as Germany, China, Brazil and Italy, and have a multitude of diverse talents and interests.

Bringing an international student into your home is an excellent way to give your family a "world view" of a different culture, according to host dad Tim McMahon, whose family has hosted five students.

"The result is that my children have made friends and traveled around the globe," he said. "My children have visited several of our students on their own and have made extremely close and personal friendships. In fact, our entire family has visited the families of two of our exchange students and developed close friendships between the families."

There are several key elements to the hosting experience. For five or 10 months, host families must provide their student with two meals a day and a place to sleep and study. Most importantly, they must welcome the student into their home as if they were a son or daughter.

To help facilitate the exchange experience, host families will receive full support from an AYA local coordinator in their community.

AYA is a not-for-profit organization designated by the U.S. Department of State to offer J-1 visas to international students. AYA is sponsored by the American Institute For Foreign Study Foundation, which was founded with the assistance of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

To learn more, call Stella at (800) 322-4678, ext. 5164, or e-mail Visit AYA online at:



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