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641 S St NW Suite 200



Filtering by Tag: USA

Campus Ambassador Introductions: Grace


Studying abroad allowed me to become much more independent and self driven as well as gave me a passion for travel and an understanding of the importance of international relations.

As I sit on the curb with my host sister and host aunt, I sing Disney songs quietly to myself to pass the time while waiting for the bus to come to take us home. It is five thirty in the morning and I’ve been up for almost 24 hours consecutively. I am on the verge of an emotional breakdown from exhaustion and culture shock, but in the middle of it I think “Well, this is what you signed up for as an exchange student.”

 I had the opportunity to take a trip up to the mountains of Ecuador during my school vacation. I went up to Lake Quilotoa, a volcano crater lake at more than 12,000 feet, and then hiked 12 km back to the hotel.

 The YFU Ecuador trip to the Galapagos Islands was a great bonding experience with the other exchange students and the sights were spectacular.

This is one of my favorite memories from the ten months I spent in Ecuador because it is such a clear marker of the ways in which my exchange changed me. I had been in country for maybe two weeks when my oldest host sister asked me if I wanted to go with her to a dance that night. It was a Friday so I had gotten up early to go to school and I was already a bit tired. I said yes anyways though because it was a new experience and that is definitely what I got. I had never been to any event even remotely similar and I spent the whole night sitting in a chair on the edge of the dance floor, completely overwhelmed by the intensity of the music and the sheer number of people dancing. I can’t say I enjoyed myself very much on that occasion, but in retrospect I can see it as one of the defining moments of my exchange.

 For an art exam, a couple of my friends and I did a presentation as mimes about the day of friendship.

 In Ecuador, New Year’s Eve is a bigger holiday than Christmas. At midnight they burn paper mache dolls to symbolize the end of the old year and to welcome in the new. The parties last all night with fireworks, dancing and entertainment.

Studying abroad allowed me to become much more independent and self driven as well as gave me a passion for travel and an understanding of the importance of international relations. The experiences I had in Ecuador were life changing and I want to help to provide this opportunity for many students in the future.

 Manta, Ecuador is located directly on the beach and el Colegio del Pacifico, my school, was a ten minute walk away. One day the juniors and seniors took a field trip down to one of the beaches to do athletic activities.

  The school year on the coast of Ecuador runs from February to May so during the break YFU requires students to complete volunteer hours. I did mine at a daycare center in a classroom with children ages one to three years old. It was one of the most fun parts of my exchange; every day the kids made me smile and laugh. I also know a plethora of children’s songs in Spanish.

 I lived in the commercial center of Manta, Tarqui, a street market. This picture was taken from the window of my host family’s apartment. There was always noise and traffic at every hour of the day, no matter what.

One Month


Guest post from YFU Alum AnnaSo it has been one month since I returned from the USA. I remember the day that I arrived and the fear of being alone in a new country, but soon I got used to it and it started to feel like home.

One month that I don't see all the people that I love so much: my amazing host family, my adorable friends and even those unknown people that randomly smile at you in the street.

One month that I don't walk through Boonton to buy a coffee at Dunkin.

One month that I lost my American life in order to try to find my old Brazilian one. But after all I can't find it cause it isn't lost to be found, it's just a chapter that I finished to come to another part, another me, another version of 'Anna from Brazil'.

After all that, I just want to thank all those who made my exchange year, even more amazing and changed my life in the best way possible. I love you and I miss you a lot! No words can express how much you changed my life and made me a better person. I truly appreciate it.

Well, it's one month back home, sad to be gone and glad to be home, my old home, cause now America also feels like home to me because 'where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts’.

Travel Log: Germany to USA


Every year, thousands of students leave the comforts of home and embark on a journey of self-discovery through study abroad.One such YFU student is Alina from Germany who is spending her exchange year in a small town in Pennsylvania. Throughout the course of her stay in the US, Alina will be blogging about her exchange experience with German magazine, SPIEGEL ONLINE, sharing her first-hand account of American life.

Check out her arrival blog to learn about her first weeks – she’s already been introduced to cross-country running, pumpkin carving and attended homecoming – and to follow her continued updates (keep in mind unless you know German you’ll have to rely on Google translate which isn’t always accurate)!

Austausch-Log USA AlinaPhoto via Alina Buxmann (SPIEGEL ONLINE)




Remember When…


Cowboy James with jack-o-lanternDo you remember your first Halloween? The hours spent cutting, sewing, taping and painting to create your BEST costume ever? The anticipation of trick-or-treating and costume parties? Then of course there’s always the candy set aside (or should we say ‘covert snatching’) for the parental ‘safety check’.

How would you like share this unique tradition with an international teen? No tricks here, there’s still time to welcome an exchange student into your home this fall!

There are currently students on program who have been adjusting to US life with arrival families. These families have been helping to bridge the gap between the student’s home cultures and ours as they prepare for the remainder of their academic stay with a permanent host family.


Prepare to share your family’s version of American holiday traditions from Halloween to Thanksgiving to ringing in the New Year and everything in between. Apply today and get ready for a life-changing opportunity!