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History of Ayusa


Ayusa (Academic Year in the U.S.A.) International founded as a non-profit in San Francisco. Offices are located in the "Icehouse," a renovated warehouse near the Embarcadero in San Francisco.


Ayusa begins offering J-1 visa program as a U.S. designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsor.


Ayusa becomes a founding member of the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET). Ayusa is approved for listing by CSIET and has been approved for listing each year since.


Ayusa receives a grant from USIA to open a Regional Center in Tokyo. Asian programs begin.


Ayusa Central and Eastern Europe Regional Center (AICEE) opens in Belgrade.


Ayusa opens it's Ayusa Germany office.Originally, offices were located in Stuttgart but later moved to Berlin.


Ayusa is awarded a major grant from the U.S. Department of State to administer the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program, an academic year program for students from countries with significant Muslim populations.


Ayusa celebrates 35 years of exchange!

What We are All About

The best way to make the world a better place is to make ourselves better. That’s what Ayusa is about.

A founding member of the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), Ayusa International is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the next generation of global leaders and world citizens. Through quality exchange programs for high school students from around the world, we cultivate leadership skills, develop intercultural awareness and enhance global knowledge not only through education, but through experience.

Get In Touch with Us

Ayusa and the Department of State take foreign exchange student safety, well-being and successful participation in our program seriously. If an issue with an exchange student in the U.S. arises, please let your Community Representative know. Ayusa's 24-hour phone number is 800.727.4540 and you may also send an email to The Department of State can also be reached toll-free at 866.283.9090 or by email at

Meet the Ayusa Staff

The national support team, based out of Ayusa headquarters, work with Community Representatives to provide support to all.

  • Debra Slagle
    Executive Director, Responsible Officer

  • Lauren Zanghi
    Director of HQ Operations and Compliance, ARO

  • Jessica Anderson
    Senior Director of Field Operations

  • Heather Campbell
    Director of Grants and Program Support

  • Miranda Hansen
    Assistant Director of Field Operations

  • Sandi Chu-Yang Shake
    Manager of Partnerships, ARO

  • Jess Hodge
    Regional Manager, Southeast

  • Jammie Hutchinson
    Regional Manager, Northeast

  • Amy Estes
    Regional Manager, Heartland

  • April Bray
    Regional Manager, Southwest

  • Kristen Crossland
    Regional Manager, Desert Mountain

  • Misti Gist
    Regional Manager, West

  • Michelle Reed
    Regional Manager

  •  Misti Seay
    Regional Support Specialist, Southwest and Desert Mountain

  • Kara Day-Hafaida
    Regional Support Specialist, Heartland

  • Erin Leschak
    Regional Support Specialist, Southeast

  • Jeff Lake
    Regional Support Specialist, Northeast

  • Britney Wilson
    Regional Support Specialist, Southwest and Desert Mountain

  • Jennifer Abers
    Regional Support Specialist, West

  • Mia Cheeseman
    Senior Operations Coordinator

  • Virginia Doss
    Operations Specialist

  • Lynda Osborne
    Administrative Coordinator - Operations

  • Melissa Ash
    Administrative Assistant, Insurance, Partnerships and Grants

  • Holly Teal
    Social Media Specialist

Ayusa Toll Free Number: 1.800.727.4540