Exchange students from Korea, Italy, Palestine, Germany, Czech Republic and Morocco visiting Cherokee with members of their host families.

AYUSA is a leading nonprofit organization promoting global learning and leadership through foreign-exchange student programs. Exchange students enjoy living in Western North Carolina. Local host families volunteer to welcome a teenager from a different culture for a school year or semester.

Melissa Hughes, the mother of a local host family, shares,“Hosting an exchange student is an experience my family will never forget. We were able to meet a very special young man who taught us love and acceptance of others from other customs and cultures in a world where terrorism and hatred were running rampant. It was a wonderful learning opportunity for each of my children. They will never forget Mohammed and the special bond that they shared with him while he was a part of our family.”

Exchange students attend local high schools, speak English, have insurance and their own money for personal expenses, and can share a room. Host families come from many backgrounds: They are business owners, teachers, nurses, farmers, artists, managers, first responders, ministers, social workers and at-home parents. Families with school-age children, younger children, grown children or no children, and single parents and single people are all welcome to apply to host.

For more information on hosting, call Regional Director Anne Raybon at 298-8873, or meet the students at www.ayusa.org.

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