PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 21, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The American Homestay Network® (AHN) (www.homestaynetwork.com), the first national-scale, standards-based homestay organization in America, today announced the launch of the American Homestay Network-Oregon, the company's next regional agency that will connect students from across the world with local host families and the vibrant, diverse culture of the Portland metro area. AHN-Oregon is currently recruiting host families and developing relationships with educational institutions across the state, including Portland State University and Portland Community College, both of which support large populations of international students.
Different than most exchange student programs, an AHN "Homestay" offers paid compensation to hosts that provide accommodations for visiting college students during an average stay of 8-10 weeks. Homestay is a cultural exchange between a local individual or family (called a "Homestay Host") and a visiting International Student who comes to live as a guest in their home. The homestay experience supports the student's desire to improve his or her English-speaking skills, while learning about American culture and lifestyle.
AHN-Oregon is led by Jason Carnahan, a Portland-based international businessman who has studied the Mandarin language while living in Shanghai, China, and has deep ties across cultural, business, and religious organizations in the greater Portland area.
"AHN's best practices across technology, host recruitment, student and host training, and day-to-day operations will ensure students, who come from afar to study in Oregon, have a safe and enjoyable homestay experience," said Jason Carnahan, Regional Manager of AHN-Oregon. "Having been an international student myself, I know how valuable it is to receive language and cultural support on life's smallest details from a local resident. I'm excited for AHN-Oregon to begin connecting international students with hosts across the Portland area so they can experience all our region has to offer."
AHN's Regional Agency Program (RAP) is designed to provide new or existing regional homestay organizations with the technology and administrative resources needed to develop and grow local programs. AHN's program allows regional agencies to focus on conducting host interviews and home visits, maintaining relationships with local institutions, responding to any onsite student or host needs while providing AHN Headquarters with local insights on marketing, vendors, and related industry organizations.
"Beginning in Portland, we believe Oregon is a prime market to expand our programs because of its open-minded, welcoming culture, numerous universities, colleges, and language schools who value international students on campus; supported by a political climate that mirrors those values," said Glenda Sinclair, President of the American Homestay Network. "By providing the infrastructure, standards, and industry best practices to the region, we look forward to seeing the cultural and economic benefits of homestay grow throughout the state."
AHN's headquarter-based resources can substantially reduce a regional agency's overall workload as AHN HQ manages host and student applications, homestay matching, technology systems, a national background check process, a 24x7 call center, online payments, online student and host orientation training, advertising, public relations and other related administrative services.
The economic impacts of international students go far beyond the great cultural value and diversity they bring to a community. According to NAFSA, the leading industry association for international educators, in the 2011-2012 school year Oregon hosted nearly 10,000 international students; adding more than $300M to the state economy.
AHN was launched in response to the growing demand by international students for homestay accommodations and to bring a new level of industry best practices in service offerings, operations, and technology. While as many as 20 percent of visiting students would prefer a homestay option during their studies in America there continues to be a significant shortage of qualified host families. Existing homestay organizations do not have the infrastructure needed to grow and meet this demand.
About The American Homestay Network
The American Homestay Network (AHN) 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 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.
CONTACT: Media Contacts Jaime Quick ChangeUp for the American Homestay Network firstname.lastname@example.org 206-229-5183 Jason Carnahan American Homestay Network-Oregon Jason@homestaynetwork.com 503-319-9023
Source:American Homestay Network, Inc.