WACO, Texas – COVID-19 kept many foreign exchange students with plans to visit America for the last school year at home. Now they hope 2021 will be different.
“It’s created a little bit of an influx,” says Ayusa community representative Christin Sherburne. “Now we have more students this year than we ever have had before that are needing a home.”
The Ayusa exchange program is working to place those students as quickly as they can so they can start school in time.
“They become a part of the family and build these lasting connections,” says host dad Brett Boyd.
One Central Texas man started hosting students four years ago, and has taken in boys from all around the world.
“It’s just really been a rewarding experience to mentor young men,” Boyd said. “You know, kind of more more so, I guess, in a big brother perspective.”
One of his favorite parts about hosting is it’s a way to give back to the community.
“Not only is it an enriching experience personally, but it also helps that the other kids of the high school meet kids from other parts of the world that they might not otherwise have a chance to do,” Boyd said.
All families need is a background check, five references, and an in-home interview. Sherburne says even if you’re not in the position to host a student, you can still help.
“If they do not have the capability or the room to be able to host this year, they may know of somebody that can,” Sherburne said. “Just spread the word and share that this is a real need that’s happening right now.”
If you are interested in becoming a host family or learning more about the process, you can click here.
“Please consider being a host family,” Sherburne said. “I would say just jump in and go for it, because I don’t think that you’re going to regret it.”