Higher Industry Standards Recommended to Successfully Support a Growing US International Education Market

SEATTLE, Nov. 27, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- At the recent Region I NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference held in Tacoma, Wash., attendees heard best practices and lessons learned on the growing international education industry from global education expert David Bycroft. Bycroft, who is a member of the New South Wales Government (Australia) International Education Taskforce and Executive Chairman of the Australian Homestay Network, outlined the need for higher standards and use of technology to improve both International Student Orientation and Homestay procedures including host family recruitment, training, background checks, and insurance to ensure a positive, safe experience for students, hosts, and schools. Bycroft is participating in the launch of the American Homestay Network (www.homestaynetwork.com), the first national-scale, standards-based homestay organization in America.

"As international students are increasingly seeking hosted accommodations, providers in America must ensure a safe, well-managed system or risk missing an amazing cultural and economic opportunity for local communities," said Bycroft. "My goal is to help the American homestay industry circumvent the complacency we saw as the industry boomed in Australia. Without implementing high standards now, there is a potential risk to tens of thousands of students who are coming to America to study and live."

Colleges and universities across America are competing to attract international students who provide significant financial and cultural benefits to their communities. The best way for a visiting student to learn the English language and American culture is to stay with a local family for a period of time. Nearly 20% of the 800,000 students coming to America would prefer to stay with a host family. An existing fragmented industry of homestay companies cannot meet the growing requirements of the international student market.

The American Homestay Network is bringing to America the best-practices and technologies deployed by their affiliates at the highly acclaimed Australian Homestay Network (www.homestaynetwork.org). Hosts are provided with training, support, insurance and paid a generous hosting fee. The company will initially begin operations in Washington State and is currently recruiting host families to share their homes, interests, and culture with a visiting student.

"Based on the best practices our colleagues have established in Australia, we are setting a new course for homestays here in America," said Ron Davis, CEO of the American Homestay Network. "The feedback we are getting from local universities, hosts, and students has confirmed that the industry is in serious need of professionally managed, nationally scalable solutions that take the risk out of the equation and allow the student and host to focus on the cultural and academic benefits of homestays."

About The American Homestay Network

The American Homestay Network (AHN-USA) was created to bring a new level of best practices in service offerings, operations and technology to hosted homestay programs for visiting international students. AHN-USA is committed to setting a new global standard for student homestay in America. Through its business relationships with the Australian Homestay Network, global insurers, banks and national emergency response partners the company offers an unprecedented collection of comprehensive services. The company is a member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators and AWISA: Association of Washington International Student Affairs.

For more information, visit www.homestaynetwork.com.

The American Homestay Network logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=15958

CONTACT: Media Contact Jaime Quick ChangeUp for the American Homestay Network jq@changeupadvisors.com, 206-229-5183

Source:American Homestay Network, Inc.