Open your home to the world by making a global connection: Host an AFS Exchange Student for this coming school semester or year.

Each year, AFS Intercultural Programs/USA, a leading international non-profit high school student exchange organization for more than 60 years, welcomes 2,500 high school students from more than 90 countries into communities like Mountainside. Each student is eager to attend a local high school, live with a host family and discover what America is all about. AFS-USA is always looking for supportive host families.

By hosting an AFS Exchange Student, you and your family will help build bridges of intercultural understanding at home and abroad while connecting with an outstanding young person. This year, Vincenzo Montagna, from Lagonegro, Italy, spent a year attending Governor Livingston High School. He very much appreciated the way in which he was viewed by the student body evolved through the year. Initially they saw him as “the exchange student.” Then “Vincenzo, the exchange student.” Followed by “Vincenzo my friend” with no labels. He went from being “the Italian” to being a global citizen. His Mountainside host mother, Ana Conde, commented that: “people from different cultures have distinct differences which makes hosting so interesting and educational, learning how to respect, accept, and have tolerance for others. The experience has made us realize we are more alike than we think and helped us respect where we are not.”

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Area resident and AFS volunteer, Sue Fershing, whose family hosted over a dozen exchange students through AFS since 1986, noted: "This is the most rewarding thing we've ever done. We love staying in touch with our AFSers, who come back to visit us years later. It's not the end, it's the beginning of a lifelong relationship.” Host families provide a bed and meals, share their daily lives with students, and help guide and support students as they would their own children. Students come with full medical insurance and personal spending money. Families and their hosted students receive ongoing support from AFS staff and experienced, local volunteers.

For more information about how to host an AFS student, contact Alison Colaluca, at (973) 985-3583 or agcolaluca@gmail.com or visit www.afsusa.org.

About AFS AFS, a worldwide, nonprofit organization, has been leading international high school student exchange for more than 60 years. Each year, AFS-USA sends more than 1,100 US students abroad, provides approximately $3 million in scholarships and financial aid, and welcomes 2,500 international high school students who come to study in US high schools and live with host families. More than 5,000 volunteers in the US make the work of AFS possible.