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641 S St NW Suite 200




YFU Alum & Trustee Returns to Everest


Update #1

Curious how YFU Alum & Trustee, Andrew Towne's second attempt at summiting Mt. Everest is going? We just received his first update!

“Everything is going great so far! We are at the base of Lobuche Peak (~15,500'), about to move up to Everest Base Camp (~17,500') to begin rotations to successively higher altitudes. Tourism has rebounded well since the 2015 earthquake. Teahouses throughout the Khumbu seem busy, and our Sherpa teammates report that all of their homes/villages have been rebuilt. Kathmandu still shows some damage, but the city is as vibrant and welcoming as I remember it. We’re an eclectic group of climbers and trekkers who get along well. We enjoy reading, playing cards, and drinking tea during long, restful afternoons acclimatizing.Thanks to your generous support, we are almost 70% of the way to raising $20,000 to help deserving youth experience another culture!”

Don't forget, if you'd like to receive more in-depth updates from Andrew’s Everest adventure, you can make a donation to his scholarship fundraiser and get added to his dispatch list!

In 2015 Andrew Towne a survived a 7.9 earthquake while attempting to climb Mt. Everest. Today, he begins his journey back to Nepal, headed back for a second try. Once again, he'll also be raising scholarship funds that will provide students with the same life changing opportunity he had as a teen - to study abroad!

Learn more and make a donation to his fundraiser to get on his dispatch list to receive periodic updates during the course of his climb!

To kick off his journey, Andrew was just featured in the Grand Forks Herald.

YFU USA Exchanges Once Again Recognized for Quality and Safety

Alicia Kubert

YFU USA Receives Full Listing in Three CSIET Listing Categories

Youth For Understanding USA (YFU) is pleased to announce that The Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) continues to recognize YFU for its commitment to quality and safety in their 2017-2018 Advisory List.

CSIET is a not-for-profit organization committed to quality international educational travel and exchange for youth at the high school level. Its purpose is to identify reputable international youth exchange programs; to provide leadership and support to the exchange and educational communities; to ensure youth are provided with meaningful and safe international exchange experiences; and to promote the importance and educational value of international youth exchange.

YFU USA has received Full Listing across all three CSIET program categories for which it applied:

  • J-1 Inbound
  • Short-term Outbound
  • Long-term Outbound

This achievement reflects YFU’s global commitment to quality, and consistent application of CSIET standards throughout the international YFU network.

Families around the world trust YFU because of its strong reputation for quality, high safety standards, and knowledgeable and local support network. As one of the world’s oldest and largest exchange organizations, YFU has provided study abroad opportunities to more than 70 countries for 260,000+ high school students since 1951.

Annual application for listing in the CSIET Advisory List is voluntary. Organizations and programs are accorded Full Listing in the CSIET Advisory List when they have demonstrated full compliance with all CSIET Standards. 

From Cold War to travel ban, Ann Arbor-founded exchange program promotes "one-on-one diplomacy"


Deb Anderson with a photo of her grandmother and Youth For Understanding Founder Rachel Andresen. Photo taken by Doug Coombe.

Deb Anderson with a photo of her grandmother and Youth For Understanding Founder Rachel Andresen. Photo taken by Doug Coombe.

Deb Anderson sums up Youth For Understanding (YFU), the nonprofit her grandmother founded 65 years ago in Ann Arbor, with a simple question: "How can you hate someone that you don't even know?"

The Whitmore Lake resident heard many stories growing up about the "ragtag group" of 75 German teenagers her grandmother, Rachel Andresen, brought to Michigan for a year as YFU's first group of foreign exchange students. Andresen was director of the Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Council of Churches at the time, and she was inspired to help rebuild Europe after traveling there and seeing the destruction in the late '40s.

YFU has since grown to become one of the largest intercultural exchange programs in the world. With operations in more than 60 countries and 4,000 annual participants globally today, the nonprofit organization has helped exchange 250,000 students worldwide to date. When you factor for family members and classmates those students interact with, it's reasonable to estimate millions of people have been impacted by YFU over the years.

Its United States headquarters moved from Ann Arbor to Washington, D.C., in the '70s, but YFU still has a strong local presence. In recent years the organization has also made some new local connections, tapping local leadership for its board of trustees and partnering with the University of Michigan's (U-M) Tauber Institute to help improve its operations. Read the full article.

Summer's a great time to dive into a foreign language

Alicia Kubert

For a lot of kids, summer is a time to travel intellectually as well as literally, to dive headlong into new languages and cultures in a way that classroom learning alone doesn’t allow.
— Katherine Roth, Associated Press

Heather Deno shares details on YFU's summer exchange programs and classroom excursions with the Associated Press in their recent article "Summer's a great time to dive into a foreign language.

YFU exchange student Maya Hammond, right, jumping for a photo while hiking the Great Wall of China in Beijing for the first time with her European classmate.

YFU exchange student Maya Hammond, right, jumping for a photo while hiking the Great Wall of China in Beijing for the first time with her European classmate.

YFU Alum Morten Andersen named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Alicia Kubert

NFL's all-time leading scorer (and YFU alum), Morten Andersen named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame!

"The leading scorer in NFL history didn't know the first thing about American football until he was 17 years old... Andersen was on a path to becoming an Olympic handball player in his native Denmark before he came to America in 1977 for what was supposed to be a 10-month cultural exchange program. But it wasn't long before Andersen's host father and the teacher in charge of the foreign-exchange program suggested he try kicking a football, since he had also been a standout soccer player in Denmark. So some of the other kids on the Ben Davis High School football team in Indianapolis took him out to the practice field." Read more from ESPN.