On August 26th, AFS Intercultural Programs held a welcome picnic for the 80 high school exchange students in the Twin Cities for the 2012-2013 school year. 200 AFS Volunteers, host families, Returnees (Americans who went abroad), study abroad applicants and their families, and AFS Staff gathered at Minnehaha Park for a potluck feast. There was mix of hot dishes and curries as the international flavor of our new students blended with the traditional Minnesotan foods. After dinner, students learned a few new line dances and got their first crack at playing American football.
AFS is hosting students from Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Columbia, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Thailand, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, South Korea, Netherlands, and Turkey. As well as 14 students who were awarded scholarships from the Department of State. Students from Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Lebanon, Macedonia, and Sierra Leone were awarded a Kennedy-Luger Youth Exchange and Study Scholarship. Two students were awarded Future Leaders Exchange Scholarships. These students are from Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Five students from Germany are in the Twin Cities on a Congress-Bundestag Scholarship.
All AFS students attend high school while they are here and are looking forward to experiencing life as an American high school student. All AFS students and families are supported by a network of over 150 Volunteers in the Twin Cities.
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.