The FLEX and YES grants, provided by the Department of State, enable students from all over the world to study, volunteer and experience America. These students are extremely bright, talented and hardworking. They are wonderful additions to host families and high schools across the country. The chance to live and study in America means so much for these kids to see different places and join a host family for new experiences and perspectives.
To families across the U.S., if you have room in your home and are interested in giving a high school student the opportunity to see the best of America, please consider hosting an exchange student with AYA. If you have children of your own, you’ll be enriching their lives with a host-brother or sister — and opening their eyes to the culture, diversity and limitless potential of the world.
AYA is a non-profit, volunteer driven organization working to bring cultural awareness and international understanding to U.S. high schools and students from around the world. Feel free to schedule a consultation to learn more at your convenience.
You can also get an idea of how important host families are and your potential impact, by reading the following submissions from former FLEX and YES students. In their own words, they share what it’s like to spend time as a high school exchange student and explore life in America.
From Anastasiya, a Ukrainian student that lived with a family in Texas:
Holidays with My Host Family
Spending Winter and Spring Break with my host family was very special. In my country, we celebrate the New Year much bigger than in the USA, so I decided to make this evening really special. I decorated with candles and made a tea ceremony for my host family. We were drinking delicious tea, sharing our dreams and wishes for next year and just enjoying the cozy atmosphere that we created.
During Spring Break my host family and I stayed in a cozy cabin on the mountain in Bandera, Texas (the cowboy capital of the world), with beautiful scenery. It was great to wake up every morning and see all the green hills and trees from our window. During the day we walked around and saw animals like buffalo, deer, donkeys, goats and others. In the evening we were gathering around the fire. It was a great trip that made my host family and me feel even closer to each other.
From Chandrajit, a student from India, and Emmanuel, a student from Ghana; each joined host families in Indiana:
St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago
Hello from cheerful Indiana! We are Chandrajit from India and Emmanuel from Ghana. As our year is coming to a close we would like to thank our Local Coordinator, Chris, for her great work and also thank you to our host families for their big hearts.
We have experienced so many firsts this year. We have joined many sports in school and have been to so many places. This March we enjoyed the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago. We watched as they turned the Chicago River green and were wowed by all the different shades of green that everyone wore in the parade. These are the memories that will last a lifetime for us. Thanks AYA for giving us such great people to be with while we were here in the United States.
From Alona, a Ukrainian student that lived with her host family in Pennsylvania:
A Big Thank You!
I am an exchange student from Ukraine and I would really like to say a big thank you to AYA, American Councils and FLEX! This year is changing my life, my views of everything, and it is making a big difference in me!
I really appreciate my Local Coordinator, Cindy, finding a great family for me! I’d like to tell you about the two most amazing trips of my life. In October my family took me to Georgia for a couple of days to meet some of their relatives! That was just amazing!
The second one is our AYA trip to Disney. I loved Disney World so much! It was so much fun to meet students from other countries, do workshops with them and have an amazing time in the Disney Parks! I am so glad I got a chance to have this experience!
Thank you Anastasiya, Chandrajit, Emmanuel and Alona for sharing these stories. It is such a reward to hear back from you. To you and all AYA students, your bravery and willingness to learn about a foreign place and share your unique perspectives is a gift to America. We are so proud of your accomplishments and contributions to cultural exchange as part of the AYA family. Thank you again and best of luck in your future endeavors. We hope you will keep in touch!