Since 1981, Academic Year in America (AYA) has placed over 30,000 exchange students with volunteer host families throughout the United States. Behind every success story is a dedicated Local Coordinator, also known as an LC.
Let’s take a closer look at what it’s like to work with exchange students as an LC:
What is a Local Coordinator?
AYA Local Coordinators develop a volunteer host family cluster and foster relationships with area high schools, facilitate host family and student relationships, and ensure that they adhere to program regulations.
What does a Local Coordinator do?
Before the exchange year kicks off, our amazing Local Coordinators work tirelessly to find volunteer host families. Their job is to screen, interview, and select families in their community who can provide an incredible exchange experience for exchange students.
After AYA exchange students arrive in the United States, our LCs make sure they feel right at home. They run fun orientation sessions, plan awesome intercultural activities, and are always there to support both the students and their host families throughout the year.
While helping these exchange students become a part of their new community, Local Coordinators pave the way for meaningful cross-cultural friendships.
Requirements for Local Coordinators
Let’s go over some of the basic requirements to become a Local Coordinator and work with exchange students:
- Be at least 25 years old
- Pass a background check
- A valid driver’s license and reliable transportation
- Ability to provide interim room and board for exchange students in case of emergencies
- Internet access and strong computer skills (bonus for knowing your way around social media!)
- Ability to complete the AYA training program and U.S. State Department certification (virtually)
So, what qualities make a great Local Coordinator?
AYA has amazing LCs across the country from a wide range of backgrounds – but there are a few traits that our exceptional Local Coordinators share. If you’re wondering if you’re a good fit for the role, ask yourself if you:
- Truly enjoy working with people, especially teenagers.
- Have a genuine passion for cultural exchange and international education.
- Love meeting and connecting new people.
- Can work independently and effectively at home.
- Have strong communication skills.
- Are willing to network and promote a meaningful mission.
The biggest perks of being a Local Coordinator
One major benefit of the LC role is that you can work with exchange students. As an LC, you can help these young people adjust to a new culture, navigate a new school system, and make new friends. You’ll also learn about other cultures and see your own life from a global perspective.
Here’s what else you’ll love about being an AYA Local Coordinator:
- You’ll receive a stipend for every student placed.
- You can travel internationally! There’s an incentive trip to an exciting new location each year for LCs that place a certain number of exchange students.
- Flexible hours – create a schedule that fits your needs.
- You’ll develop a new network of friends and relationships in your community and abroad!
I love being a Local Coordinator because I have seen the difference that it has made in my own family’s life, as well as in our community. It has allowed so many people to learn and connect with so many other cultures and countries. It’s also opened doors for myself and my family to travel and learn about new places, as well.Debbie, AYA Local Coordinator in Colorado
Why Academic Year in America (AYA)?
At AYA, we truly believe in the value and benefits of high school exchange programs for international students to experience life in America and share their unique backgrounds and culture with people in the United States.
That’s why we work hard to support our Local Coordinators with extensive training, resources, and ongoing support.
We have educational opportunities as well from really amazing professionals that come and teach us whether it be about mental health training or just communication skill building.Regenia, AYA Local Coordinator in Ohio
Choosing to work with exchange students can be incredibly rewarding and can have a lasting impact.
Our goal is to educate, guide, and assist international exchange students and American host families as they interact with each other and their communities. We’re passionate about helping everyone involved in the program have a positive and enriching experience!
Think you might be a great fit? Reach out to us today to learn more about being an AYA Local Coordinator!