Westfield, PA – July 3, 2018 – The Foster family from Westfield have been named the Host Family of the Year by Academic Year in America (AYA), one of the most respected high school foreign exchange programs in the United States.
For the past year, the Foster family has opened their hearts and their home to Ruolin, an exchange student from Malaysia, who attended Jasper-Troupsburg Junior/Senior High School in Jasper, New York for the 2017/2018 school year. The Foster family was nominated by Ruolin in recognition of their selflessness and for the love they shared to help make the exchange experience unforgettable.
“I can’t thank my host family enough for all the cute and little things they have done for me, those tight hugs, nice food, the surprise gifts on Valentine’s Day, and the list goes on!” states Ruolin. “They did a lot of things that make me feel loved and from them, I have learned how to show appreciation and kindness to others. They make me a better person. Winnie the Pooh said, ‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.’ My ‘something’ is my host family.”
To be eligible for the AYA Host Family of the Year Award, host families were nominated by their exchange student or Local Coordinator. Students and Local Coordinators were asked to write an essay about why their host family should be nominated. After the submissions are reviewed, a national winner will be chosen by a committee made up of Academic Year in America staff.
“We are very proud of the Foster family as they have exemplified the very best of cultural exchange,” states Melanie French, Director of AYA. “By sharing the American culture as well as learning more about Ruolin’s culture, they have done their part to help bring the world together.”
AYA’s high school exchange students are ages 15 – 18 and arrive with full medical insurance, spending money and the hopes of experiencing life in America with the support of a caring volunteer host family. The students stay with their hosts for either 5 or 10 months and attend a local high school.
This August, AYA is again bringing highly qualified high school students to the U.S. to learn about American culture while attending school and living with volunteer host families. Families all over the country have the unique opportunity to learn about the rest of the world during this mutually rewarding exchange.
To learn more about hosting, contact Academic Year in America at (800) 322-4678 and visit AYA on the web at www.academicyear.org.
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Academic Year in America is a not-for-profit organization designated by the U.S. Department of State to offer J-1 cultural exchange 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. AYA has helped more than 30,000 students and host families participate in high school exchange to learn about other cultures and language and build lifelong friendships.
This program opened my eyes to a culture and society I knew very little about. I made great friends and had a fabulous time during the process. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.Jessica Cobb, Western Michigan University
I chose this program because of everything it offered. The fact that everything was included made the experience much less stressful. The people working for the program definitely ensured we got the most out of our time here. The AIFS cultural activities and excursions were excellent. It was a wonderful life experience I will have with me forever.Stephanie Bingham, Oklahoma State University
Growing up with an au pair made me much more aware that there were cultures and societies other than mine. This had a significant impact on me specifically because I was exposed to foreign cultures at such a young age.Ryan Comerford, age 21