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News - Youth For Understanding USA

Latest news about Youth for Understanding USA student exchange programs worldwide – Events – Partnerships.

Filtering by Tag: Youth For Understanding

The Power of Exchange to Fight Xenophobia and Celebrate Diversity

Rachel Arnold Cooper

YFU’s mission remains as vital as ever. For almost 70 years, the YFU experience strives to correct false impressions and stereotypes that are all too easily formed.

As an intercultural exchange program, YFU seeks to eliminate the very thing that necessitated its founding: xenophobia. Defined as “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers,” xenophobia is rebounding. This demands our attention and action today, just as it did after World War II, inspiring Rachel Andresen to facilitate exchanges between youth and communities in the United States and Germany, founding what we now know as Youth For Understanding USA. 

Go back where you came from!” was the “welcome” shouted at a YFU student from Thailand on his first day of school in the US - August 2019.

A YFU student from Mexico asked his Spanish teacher why a poster stating, “Build The Wall” was hanging in the class. Among the falsehoods on the poster was this: “If you look around the neighborhood, you can see that it is full of disgusting Mexican houses, full of the same illegal immigrants that are infecting and plaguing this country.” The teacher replied there was nothing offensive about the poster. The principal disagreed and required the poster be removed. March 2019.

These examples show an alarming trend of intolerance, one that YFU is dedicated to combat. YFU Founder Rachel Andresen believed in the power of exchange to eliminate fears and stereotypes – and she lived by the ideal that if you believe in something, you should take action. The YFU experience reinforces our common humanity in a world united by its appreciation for cultural diversity and rejection of harmful stereotypes that prevail in today’s society. Thankfully, YFU alumni, host families, and volunteers in the US and around the world embody this ideal as well. They include:

Karen, YFU host mom, who says, “Family means embracing others who share no blood, but who entrusted their child into your care. It means broadening your horizons, learning about differences and realizing being different isn't a bad thing. Family is finding out how much you are alike, even though you live on different continents and might only be able to communicate through a smile and hugs. Family isn't always about sharing ancestors....sometimes it's just about sharing love.”

Nina, YFU alum/2018 summer student to Japan, who says, “I can without a doubt say I’ve grown as a person, become more kind to people, especially to foreigners, because I now understand very clearly the difficulty and courage it takes to go someplace new. There’s no uncertainty when I say I will be using my gained knowledge to do something good in our world…”

Mary Jeanne, YFU volunteer, who says, “I get to see the goal of exchange work: teens from different countries and religions coming together on exchange and talking about peace and understanding for the future."

YFU’s mission - and its impact – remains as vital as it ever was. Our cultural exchange programs provide a reality check to a worldview based on stereotypes and hate. In helping people of all ages make the world their home, YFU helps them appreciate differences and embrace similarities. Ultimately, YFU’s programs transform who you are and permanently change the way you see, making us citizens of one world.

Join us in the fight against xenophobia - host an exchange student, volunteer, study abroad, or donate!

International Exchange Students Across the U.S. Receive Language Learning Resources from Rosetta Stone


Youth For Understanding and Rosetta Stone kick-off year-long partnership to help prepare 100 students embarking on study abroad programs

Washington, DC (August 9, 2016) – To help prepare U.S. students embarking on cultural exchanges abroad, Rosetta Stone Inc. (NYSE: RST), the innovative leader in helping millions around the globe become proficient in a new language, has partnered with Youth For Understanding USA (YFU), to provide 100 students participating in a YFU program access to its trusted language learning programs. Digital access will be distributed to needs-based students identified by YFU traveling to various countries in the coming year. Twenty of these licenses have already been allocated to local Washington, DC area students who participated in a 2016 summer program to Belgium.

YFU knows that curiosity about the world expands cultural awareness and acceptance of other ways to live and to learn, which leads to broader perspective and greater global understanding. While not all YFU exchange programs require language proficiency, through Rosetta Stone, many students will now have a robust tool to begin speaking in the language of their host country, right from the very first lesson. The language training provided is fully mobile so students can continue their lessons while abroad and on-the-go on their phones or tablet devices, increasing overall community, family and educational engagement.

Lisa Frumkes, Head of Language Learning Products at Rosetta Stone, has fond memories of her personal experience in YFU’s Belgium program, noting, “The experiences that YFU afforded me are the reason I have devoted my life and career to the teaching and learning of languages and cultures. My experience as a 15-year-old high school junior living in French-speaking Belgium with a host family for a year directly led me to where I am today—the head of Language Learning Products for the most well-known and successful online language-learning company on the planet. I’m thrilled to see Rosetta Stone helping to prepare more students for their journey abroad as I know first-hand how critical communication is to really get the full experience in the host country.”

YFU USA President & CEO Michael E. Hill added, “We are incredibly excited to be partnering with Rosetta Stone to provide our students with their powerful language immersion tools and look forward to continued collaboration. This important resource will help them prepare to better communicate in their host communities. At YFU, we believe it is within local communities that we will make a global impact and help create a more peaceful world.”

Since 1951, YFU has been a global leader in nonprofit international exchanges, advancing intercultural understanding, mutual respect and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities. Exchange teaches skills that cannot be learned in any other way.

“By hosting each others’ children, we come to understand our similarities are greater than our differences. A major component in a successful exchange includes the exposure to language for a true immersion. Our programs focus on increasing tolerance, reducing violence, helping to eliminate stereotypes and reinforcing our common humanity, and thanks to Rosetta Stone, our participants will have a head start in taking the first step towards becoming global citizens,” noted Hill.

YFU actively seeks to partner with businesses and like-minded organizations. This new relationship with Rosetta Stone is just the beginning as YFU aims to secure additional resources in the coming months to best enable students to experience the world around them. For additional information on YFU, visit Additional information on Rosetta Stone can be found online at

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About YFU
For learners of all ages who want a life-changing cultural exchange experience, Youth For Understanding (YFU) offers a wide range of opportunities to see the world up close. The global YFU network, consisting of partners in more than 70 different countries, is united by the belief that curiosity about the world expands cultural awareness and acceptance of other ways to live, which leads to broader perspective and greater understanding.

YFU’s unique intercultural exchanges open minds and hearts, enable learning that transforms lives, change the way you see the world and help to overcome stereotypes. Selected to administer more government and corporate scholarships than any other high school exchange program, YFU has remained a trusted leader of intercultural exchange programs since 1951 because of its commitment to safety, reputation for quality, and exceptional support services.

YFU advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities.

For information about exchange opportunities with YFU, including scholarships, hosting an international student, volunteering, or community cultural tours please call 1.800.TEENAGE or visit

About Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone Inc. (NYSE: RST) is dedicated to changing people’s lives through the power of language and literacy education. The company’s innovative, personalized language and reading programs drive positive learning outcomes in thousands of schools, businesses, government organizations and for millions of individual learners around the world.

Founded in 1992, Rosetta Stone pioneered the use of interactive software to accelerate language learning and is widely recognized today as the industry leader in providing effective language programs. The company’s cloud-based programs allow users to learn online or on-the-go via tablet or smartphone, whether in a classroom, in a corporate setting, or in a personal learning environment. Rosetta Stone is also a leader in the literacy education space, helping millions of students build fundamental reading skills through its Lexia Learning division. Additionally, the company's Fit Brains business offers personalized brain training programs developed by neuroscientists and award-winning game designers to be fun and help keep your brain sharp.

Rosetta Stone is based in Arlington, VA, and has offices and operations around the world. For more information, visit “Rosetta Stone” is a registered trademark or trademark of Rosetta Stone Ltd. in the United States and other countries.


Alicia Kubert Smith
Communications Manager

Rosetta Stone
Michelle Alvarez
Head of Global Communications