I became a Local Coordinator for Academic Year in America in May 2012. I had just finished graduate school and was on the hunt for a meaningful part-time job to supplement my adjunct teaching schedule. At the time, I think I stumbled across the opportunity through an ad on Indeed. I had no idea when I applied with AYA that I was about to embark on a life-changing adventure.
Since becoming a Local Coordinator, (LC), I have worked with dozens of high school aged students from all over the world. Most are extraordinarily exceptional young men and women who reassure me that the future of the world is in good hands. These young people have challenged me to broaden my worldview, embrace diverse perspectives, expand my perception of “normal”, and helped me remember that the world’s people are more alike than different.
In addition to meeting and working with international students, I have had the opportunity to meet some exceptional American families too. Just like the students they host, they are a diverse bunch of single parents, retired professionals, conservative, progressive, traditional and non-traditional families. What we have in common is a love for bringing the world together and that is enough. Host families deeply value the benefits of building relationships with young people who will soon become leaders and change-makers in their own countries. We are actors in US public diplomacy and embrace the responsibility of this heady goal by opening our homes and hearts.
The work and life of an LC is exhausting and rewarding. It is life-changing, often deeply emotional, and requires you to expel time, energy and patience that transforms you in every good way possible. Every day, I am grateful I can continue this part-time work that brings me joy and hope.
If you would like to become a Local Coordinator for Academic Year in America, be sure to visit their website and fill out an application. We are waiting for you to help us bring the world together!