Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

zola Block
This is example content. Double-click here to enter your registry name and display items from your registry. Learn more

641 S St NW Suite 200



News - Youth For Understanding USA

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

Filtering by Tag: host

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.”

16 things to do with your exchange student

Jennifer McKendree

You’ve hosted your exchange student for a few months now, and you may be out of ideas for things to do. Remember that there are reasons your exchange student came to America. Education is paramount; however, they likely want to experience our culture and experience typical American life. When you involve your student in family activities, you help fulfill their goals.

  1. National and state parks. Our parks are a treasure, and there’s one near you. They feature breathtaking beauty and learning opportunities.

  2. Historical sites. Learn about American history at landmarks and monuments.

  3. State or county fairs. What’s more American than a fair? Regions across the nation hold festivals and fairs.

  4. City mouse. If you’re hosting a student in the city, go to the country to experience wide-open spaces. If you live in the country, go to the city to experience the bright lights. This welcome change of pace shows our varied landscape.

  5. Orchard. Visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Try cider, pick apples and take a hay ride.

  6. Museum. There may be an exhibit from your student’s country in one of the 35,000 museums in America.

  7. Fishing. Fish from shore, rent a boat or drill a hole in the ice.

  8. Sporting events. Attend a professional, college or high school sporting event. Pick a sport that is played all over the world, like soccer; or choose a sport unique to America. It’s a challenge to explain baseball to someone who has never seen it played before.

  9. Music. Maybe a popular artist is making a tour stop near you, or you can attend a free concert at a local band shell. Make sure it’s music your student likes.

  10. Candy. Exchange students love dessert. Visit a candy or ice cream shop for a treat. Or make a pan of brownies and watch the smile spread across your student’s face.

  11. Meals. Visit a restaurant that features cuisine from your student’s country, or invite your student into your kitchen to help make a traditional dish from their country. They will be glad to experience a taste of home.

  12. Worship. If you attend church or synagogue, invite your exchange student to come along. It may be an interesting experience.

  13. Plays/movies. Attend a play put on by a local company or high school. Go to a popular blockbuster or an off-beat film festival. Experience a drive-in movie theater.

  14. Seasonal activities. Grill out or pack a picnic basket. Rent kayaks. Go leaf watching. Take a sleigh ride, go sledding or ice skating.

  15. The mall. Your student may like to try on clothes.

  16. Visit family. Your student might enjoy meeting your extended family. Bring them along to birthday and holiday celebrations.

Take photos during activities with your exchange student so they can send them home. To help your student feel like a member of your family, put photos on the refrigerator or place them in frames around the house.

YFU Host Parents Applaud YES Program


Did you know that each year, YFU welcomes scholarship winners from several US Government sponsored programs? Learn more about welcoming a future leader like Stefanija into your home.

"This year, my wife Jeannine and I decided to host an exchange student for the first time. Stefanija came to us from Kochani, Macedonia in August, and we could tell right away that we hit one out of the ballpark with our decision to welcome her into our family. Stefanija not only impressed us, she also impressed the Michigan House of Representatives, who recently recognized her for her outstanding service to her host community... We could not have been more proud as we watched her receive a round of applause from the State Legislature and a tribute, signed by Representative Christine Greig." Read more from YFU host parents David & Jeannine on their experience hosting Stefanija who is on program as a YES scholar.