Hosting International Students

AFS: Connecting Lives, Sharing Cultures
By Sam Johnson

     "Connecting 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.

Exchange Student Resources

Click the link below for:
International Exchange Programs

     AFS 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. 
     AFS exchange 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.
     "YES" 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.
     "YES" 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.
     "YES" 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!
      Roxanna 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.
      And they need to find these host families soon -- by the end of July!
      The three "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 Tchaikovsky.
      • Daeng, a 17 yr. old girl from Indonesia who is very involved in various school leadership programs.
      Astou, 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!
       The 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: (701-662-5565) or (701-351-2675).
"Bring the world home!" Host a "YES" student today!

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