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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: exchange

Celebrating our Founder and the Volunteer Spirit

Rachel Arnold Cooper


Excerpt from 1986 interview with Rachel Andresen.

Our Founder and inspiration, Dr. Rachel Andresen, would’ve been 112 today! It is also the beginning of National Volunteer Week. Rachel looked at YFU as an organization that grew from the strong interest in the family. The exchange program spread from family to family and from community to community and around the world.

YFU has succeeded as a family-based organization, as well as a volunteer based organization, “because giving and sharing is close to the hearts of people. Families initially take students to give something, and then they receive so much more than they give. Their family life is enriched, their knowledge of the world expanded and their appreciate of another country and of its people increased,” said Dr. Andresen.

Of YFU volunteers, Dr. Andresen said they are part of the organization “because they love people and have a real concern for others. The people involved in the program are on a real grassroots level of the operation, and they are an invaluable resource."

“Volunteers are basic to YFU, its operation and its continuation. We couldn't operate our program without volunteers not one day in the year.”

No matter what role one plays in the youth exchange experience, the opportunities are shared by everyone, according to Dr. Andresen. “This program is an opportunity for an expression of the idealistic part of our own mind. It’s an opportunity for us to give the very best of what we are and to share that with somebody else.”

Love, Curiosity, and Kindness

Rachel Arnold Cooper

"Love, curiosity, and kindness make it a great one." 

That's what Elisabeth Egel says about the planet we all share since experiencing life in the United States on her exchange program from Estonia.

Hosted by the Whatley family in Armada, MI, Elisabeth has gone above and beyond the requirements of her U.S. Department of State-sponsored FLEX scholarship. She is excelling academically while enrolled in Advanced Placement History and Honors English classes. Required to give one presentation about her country; Elisabeth has completed seven, which included slides, music, dance lessons, and sweet treats (photo top left). A trained classical pianist, Elisabeth is now learning jazz and 20th-Century compositions, thanks to the piano the Whatley family rented for her. "With the help of my coaches and classmates, I have run in several 5K cross country meets, one of which involved running through a stream and a lot of mud," said Elisabeth. She even led the Whatley family dog through an agility course with the help of an instructor.

What makes Elisabeth's program so exceptional? She is totally blind.

Elisabeth said, "When I found out that I had a chance to go to the United States...I was not sure if I had the strength and independence that this step required." She found the perfect host parent in Evon Whatley. "Elisabeth is totally blind and I grew up with both blind parents so this was not a problem, in fact, I was quite comfortable and confident in meeting her needs," said Evon.

Elisabeth reflected on her past six months and said, "I feel the core values of people are similar and that is what keeps the whole world together." Evon said, "We remind Elisabeth to never stop trying or dreaming, my quote to her is 'The Sky Is The Limit And There Is No Limit To The Sky'. We love her dearly."

Learn more about opening your heart and home to an international exchange student and becoming a host family.

Find out more about the Future Leaders of Exchange (FLEX) program sponsored by US Department of State.

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