Skip to main content

Who Are AYA Foreign Exchange Students?

Each year, nearly 700 young people come to the United States on the Academic Year in America program.

3 years of English

AYA students have solid academic records with at least 3 years of English study.

15 - 18 years old

High school students between the ages of 15 and 18 visit the U.S. on the AYA program.

Mature Students

AYA accepts only those students who show the maturity and desire for this special experience.

AYA students come from more than 50 countries!

AYA Advantage

As an AYA host family, you may choose a student whose interests match those of your family, the gender of your student and the country from which your student comes.

AYA students arrive with their own spending money and full medical insurance. They are the best and brightest representatives of their country, and they all share a desire to become part of an American family.


Fully Screened

Student applications include:

  • a personal essay written in English
  • a letter from the student's natural parents
  • school transcripts for the past three years with school seals
  • a standardized test of English proficiency, if necessary
  • health records with required immunizations
  • passport photographs and a personal photograph album

High School Foreign Exchange in the U.S.

The experience of intercultural learning and cultural exchange is an opportunity for host families as well as high school exchange students. For this AYA foreign exchange program to be successful, it depends upon generous Americans opening their homes to share their lives with international exchange students.

Academic Year in America believes strongly in the value and benefit of high school exchange for foreign students to learn about life in America and share their unique backgrounds and culture with folks in the U.S. Hosting a high school exchange student is an opportunity to build global skills and friendships for American families and communities.

As a teacher, rays of hope stream into your room daily but every once in awhile you meet a young person who just lifts your spirit. Such was the case in my encounter with Erxin from China. I was playing the piano in my room and Erxin quietly peeped in and asked if she could play. Delightful music filled the air as she played with such poise and effortless ease. Besides playing piano for a collection of the school's most talented musicians, she also played for the orchestra. I am truly thankful for the exchange program in acquainting me with a delightful young lady whose quiet spirit soars with a genuine kindness rarely seen. I'm proud to be included in her circle of teachers.

—Kevin Kelson, Teacher, Ranchview High School, Texas

Overseas Partners

AYA works in partnership with educational organizations throughout the world. As representatives of the program overseas, these groups hold predeparture orientations and make all travel arrangements. Overseas partners carefully screen student applications before submitting them to AYA in the United States. AYA provides information to overseas partners on the objectives and requirements of the program and establishes guidelines for student selection.