AFS: Connecting Lives, Sharing CulturesBy Sam Johnson
Lives, Sharing Cultures" is the
motto of AFS, a
non-profit foreign exchange program for students.
For over 30 years now, the
Devils Lake, ND "Prairie Rose" chapter of AFS has successfully brought hundreds of students to the
Lake Region, hosted by local families, to "connect lives and share cultures"
in our community and schools.
In Devils Lake, the AFS experience
has enriched the lives of many local students, community members, and families,
bringing unforgettable experiences and creating life-long memories.
I can tell you this first-hand, for our
family hosted Emily (our Aussie daughter!) from Melbourne.
It was a year of pure
joy, full of fun and enthusiasm, and resulting in memorable moments that we
continue to re-live today through photographs, email, phone calls, and Facebook
postings with Emily, who went on to work for the Melbourne Tennis Association
(home of the Australian Open)!
Let me tell you, hosting an exchange
student is something you should seriously consider, whether you have children
at home or not!
I can assure you, the experience will enrich
your life in ways you can't imagine, and bring you lasting joy!
But more about that later.
began in 1914 as the American Field
Service, a corps of volunteer medics and ambulance drivers who tended to
the wounded during World War I and World War II. Following the wars, the
organization pledged to carry on its mission of volunteer service, working to
promote peace and tolerance in the world through cultural exchange experiences.
Since then, AFS
has developed programs in more than 100 countries, spreading the concept of
volunteerism to new areas of the world. Volunteer service continues to be at
the core of AFS today, and has enabled more than 400,000 individuals to embark
on intercultural learning experiences.
programs draw students from around the world who want to get to know people
from other countries. Participants live with a host family while attending high
school, gaining a fresh perspective on a foreign culture.
Studies have shown that AFS exchange programs
can have a deep and far-reaching impact on the lives of the exchange students
and their host families, helping them embark on journeys of personal growth
through intercultural learning experiences, while gaining a broader perspective
on world affairs and different cultures, building meaningful and lasting
connections with the people they meet along the way.
AFS and the
"YES" Program for America
The Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES) is
an official program of the United States government, supported through the
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the US Department of State,
and led by AFS.
is a public diplomacy initiative, authorized by the US Congress in the
aftermath of September 11, to "build bridges of international
understanding between the US and people in other countries."
"YES" students live with host
families, attend public schools, engage in activities to learn about American
society and values, acquire leadership skills, and help educate Americans about
their countries and cultures. Upon their return, the students share their new
knowledge and apply their leadership skills at home, which includes concepts
such as civic responsibility and volunteerism, the idea that citizens can and
do act on their own to address societal problems, and an awareness of and
respect for the rule of law.
students have to undergo a rigorous competition in order to be selected for
this prestigious program. Their responsibilities during their program year or semester
in the US exceed those of regular exchange students.
students are expected to be ambassadors of their countries and to teach Americans
about their culture. They are expected to be an asset to the American classrooms
they attend and contribute to their schools and host communities by engaging in
conversations about their culture, and working on various leadership projects.
Upon returning home, YES students are expected to be ambassadors of the US and
teach their family and friends about the life in America.
Devils Lake Needs Host Families!
Hawley and Jan Visby of Devils Lake are heading up the "Prairie Rose"
chapter of AFS for the Devils Lake Region, and are currently hoping to find
local host families for three students in this unique "YES" program.
need to find these host families soon -- by the end of July!
"YES" exchange students that need a host family include:
Fulden, a 17 yr. old girl from Turkey who enjoys basketball, theatre,
chess, and music. She plays the flute and especially enjoys playing music by
Daeng, a 17 yr. old girl from Indonesia who is very involved in various
school leadership programs.
a 15 yr. old girl from the French Republic of Mali, Africa who enjoys jogging,
swimming, and basketball and participating in school clubs and organizations.
All of these exchange students come
highly recommended and will certainly enrich your family's life and bring
unimaginable joy to your home and community!
process for hosting an international student is easy and painless, and either
Roxanna or Jan will be happy to tell you about it.
Contact either of them for more information: email@example.com
(701-662-5565) or firstname.lastname@example.org (701-351-2675).
"Bring the world home!" Host a
"YES" student today!
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