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YFU Blog - Recent stories about Youth for Understanding

Courtney Bassil - Volunteer & Host Parent - Minnesota


Duties: YES Cluster Coordinator & Area Coordinator

Courtney Bassil is passionate about her volunteer work with YFU.  She is the YES cluster coordinator for St. Paul, MN, an Area Coordinator, an Area Rep, and a single host parent.  Courtney keeps her YFU community strong by annually planning a number of events for host families and students in her field. Those in St. Paul recognize that Courtney takes time and effort to make each student she mentors feel special. Full of energy and passion, she can relate to students and is a strong advocate for YFU and international exchange. YFU recently caught up with Courtney to ask her what drives her passion and commitment…

YFU: What drives you to volunteer with YFU students and families?

Courtney: The belief of being in a global community drives me. When we open our doors to these young ambassadors, we really get a chance to learn about our global community – what separates us and what makes us the same. Host families discover many new things about our communities that we share with the students… many things we didn't take a moment to see, visit, or experience, but when we host, we see our community through new eyes.

YFU: What’s the most rewarding aspect of volunteering with YFU?

Courtney: As a single parent placement with no natural children, I am lucky to say I have eight amazing kids around the world.

YFU: Do you have any funny ‘lost in translation’ stories? 

Courtney:  I think one of the memories that stand out for me is when I was a chaperone for a student travel tour to the West Coast. A young lady left her camera on the counter at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. When she realized she didn't have it, she was sure it would still be where she left it. She was from China, and in that country if you leave an item behind in these situations, it will probably be there until you return to pick it up. That was not her experience!

YFU: What’s the most unusual place/time you have ever told your ‘YFU Story’?

Courtney: I once overheard a young lady in church speaking German. I had to share with her the amazing opportunities YFU has for American students to travel abroad, particularly to Germany. I encouraged her to apply for the Congress-Bundestag (CBYX) scholarship.

Would you like to share your YFU Story? Please submit your stories and pictures!