News & Events

Budgeting Tips as a Student

For many of you, this is the first time you have lived away from home. And while you are still living with a family here in the United States, you are developing into independent men and women. With this maturity, comes the ability to manage your own money. Even if money is still coming from your parents, it is important to develop budgeting skills to be fiscally responsible now and in preparation for when you are living independently.

When thinking about budgeting...

Determine your available income:

  1. Calculate your monthly spending money (the money you receive)

  2. Divide your monthly money for your weekly income available to spend

Determine your expenses:

  1. Calculate your monthly estimated expenses

    • ​cell phone bill

    • video and music streaming apps

    • haircuts, medications, clothes

    • “extras”: nails, video games, movies, restaurants

    • (when older, include car payment, insurance, rent, electricity, etc.)

  2. Divide your monthly expenses to know how much you spend on average per week.

Now that you know your income and expenses monthly and weekly, you are able to closely monitor your spending.   

If you pay for things with credit cards it may be easy to overspend. You must keep watch of your credit card spending just as if you were spending cash. Remember, any credit card balance not paid on the due date will cost you interest of 18% or more. This will quickly put you in debt. 

Budgeting your spending takes extreme discipline. Do not spend more money than you have coming in. 


  1. When your expenses are less than your income, you will have a savings, which can be kept for unexpected future needs or a special want.    

  2. Identify the larger “want items” that you should save for, such as a new gaming system, or name brand clothes/shoes and set an amount of money each week you will put aside to save for that item. 

What are the benefits of handling money well when you are young? 

When you stay within your budget (using the money you have), you will be able to cover your needs and plan to purchase the items you want, as well as stay out of debt. In the U.S., your financial management is measured by a credit score, with 850 being perfect credit. Creditors will be more willing to loan money at better (lower) interest rates for cars, homes, school loans, to those with higher credit scores. Learn to think will save yourself stress if you make smart choices now and live within your means.


Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director
AHLI - International Education and Homestay


                   Contribution by David Young, AHLI Board Director

David Young Blog Photo 2021
David has been married to his wife, Eva for 51 years, and they have 2 children, and 3 grandchildren. He owned and operated a Food Brokerage business for 41 years before retiring in 2017. His family has hosted 7 Japanese students and 1 Korean student through AHLI.


International Holidays in September!

You are part of a wonderful community of AHLI students from many different countries, coming from a variety of cultures celebrating unique holidays. Usually in this blog we talk about American holidays, but this month we thought we would share September holidays from countries around the world, including those from your home countries!

USA: Labor Day (September 1)

Labor Day celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of American workers to the national economy. The federal holiday was founded in 1894 after several years of labor activists pushing for change in safety conditions and long working hours. Labor Day now represents the end of Summer by recognizing the holiday on the first Monday in September. Today, families often gather for barbeques and picnics before the weather starts to turn cooler into the fall season.


Japan: Respect for the Aged Day (September 20)

Japan and Palau are the only countries in the world to have a holiday honoring the elderly. This relatively “young” national holiday was designated in 1966, and occurs on the third Monday of September.  Respecting the elderly is very important to Japanese culture, so this day is set aside to volunteer, offer service, and show appreciation to the older generation.


South Korea: Chuseok/Thanksgiving (September 20-23)

Like American Thanksgiving, Chuseok celebrates a good harvest, but is centered around the lunar calendar. People return to their family homes to celebrate. A common food eaten during the holiday is songpyeon, which is a rice cake stuffed with sesame seeds, black beans, mung beans, cinnamon, pine nuts, walnuts, chestnut jujube, and honey. It is traditional for the entire family to make songpyeon together on the eve of Chuseok.


China: Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival (September 21)

This holiday is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar with a full moon. This holiday is observed in many Asian countries. Lanterns of all sizes and shapes are carried, floated in the sky, or displayed to light people’s paths for the future. Mooncakes, which are a rich pastry filled with sweet-bean, egg yolk, lotus-seed paste are traditionally eaten during this festival.


We hope that while you are here in the United States, you will be able learn and enjoy new cultural traditions. Holidays are a great way to better understand your new ‘adopted’ country, and to make friends. Are there American holidays you are looking forward to experiencing this year?


Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director
AHLI - International Education and Homestay

Welcome to the 2021-2022 School Year!

AHLI is happy to welcome new and returning students to the 2021-2022 school year. As you settle into your host family and jump back into school, you may be experiencing a range of emotions from excitement to apprehension. Going into an unfamiliar situation, whether after a long time or for the first time can stir up feelings of uneasiness and anxiety. Every teenager wants to meet people like themselves and feel like they fit in. It can be easy to put a lot of energy into convincing others to think you are awesome or cool. But there is a better way to make more friends faster. Here are 6 ways to start off the year with confidence to build friendships.


While it can be difficult to smile in new situations, it’s a great ice breaker. Research tells us that people tend to “mirror” (reflect) the emotions of people they see. So if you have a positive energy, you are more likely to attract positive people around you.  

Remember Names

Put effort into remembering a person’s name when you are introduced to them. Your name is part of your identity, and when you remember a name, you show that you are interested in them as an individual. If you call everyone “friend” or “hey you,” people will be less inclined to befriend you.

Listen to Others

Everybody appreciates being heard. While you may want to tell everyone how interesting you are, being a good friend involves listening to others. Asking questions is a fast way to get to know people and make them feel heard. Ask questions using who/what/where/when/why/how, instead of just questions that can be answered with yes or no. As you listen, you can find your similarities which is a big part of building new friendships.

Build on Common Ground

Listening is the first step of making friends, but you cannot stop there. You will need to participate in conversations, too. If you are too shy to talk or don’t want to share about yourself, then people will not want to keep engaging. Find points of common connection to build on the conversation, whether it be in areas of movies, sports, favorite class subjects, hobbies, or plans after high school. 

Focus on the Few

Being popular doesn’t mean you have a hundred friends. There is a difference between being friendly and being a friend. It’s important to be friendly…say “hi” to those you pass in the hallway, smile, and look for ways to be kind. But being a friend means spending time with people and being available to listen and share. You will have a much happier school experience if you spend quality time with a few people than if you are just friendly with the whole school. Having close friends adds value to your life, and you add value to theirs. This is more priceless than 500 “friends” on Snapchat.

Be Yourself

Don’t change who you are just to fit in. There are many types of people at school, and lots of opportunities to make friends. Be patient, and keep looking for ways to meet new students. Stay open to learning about others. Your friends don’t have to have all the same interests as you. This is what keeps life interesting. You can share new things with each other. Friends should encourage each other to be the best versions of themselves. 

“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul”

Proverbs 27:9 


Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director
AHLI - International Education and Homestay

Farewell to the 2020-2021 School Year!

On behalf of AHLI, it is my great privilege to say Congratulations to our 52 graduates! Your journey has not been an easy one compared to your fellow students. You have braved a new country, a new culture, a new language, a new home, and a new school- all to make your way to this summit. As you look back on the path you have travelled, you will remember challenges, adventures, hopefully laughs, and many people who have supported you to rise up to the apex on which you stand. Take a look around at the magnificent view you have. It is quite the accomplishment!

During your stay, many people have prayed to God for your success- your teachers, host families, Directors, Coordinators, and AHLI staff.  You have not walked alone. When the path was difficult, you were encouraged to lean on the eternal Heavenly Father who created you, and cares about you. When you were tempted to quit, you were reminded of Psalm 46:1-3:

"God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains."

And you kept going...climbing higher and higher toward your goal.

But the interesting thing about a summit is that it is a point on a surface that is only higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. You have reached this summit, but there is higher to go- you’re not done yet. For many of you, that means going to university, for others, it means returning to your home country to pursue job interests.  A comedian once said:

 “Stop staring at mountains. Climb them instead, yes, it’s a harder process but it will lead you to a better view.”

So take a moment and revel in this achievement, and then put your hiking boots back on and focus on the next summit.  Your Dreams Await! 


Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director
AHLI - International Education and Homestay


Here are words of encouragement from a few of our Directors to all of our students, both graduating and continuing….

David L May 2021 Blog Photo

David Lindhiem:

"This past year has been another hard year for all of us, but we came through!! Yeah!! I know it was hard with all the COVID restrictions and not being able to play sports and do the normal things in a school year, but I think we can all be thankful that it is past and you will have a story to tell to your children one day!!

Verses that were an encouragement to me are from the well known Shepherd in the Bible where the psalmist says, 'The Lord is my Shepherd, I will lack nothing'. Further on he says, 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.'  For some whose families were affected by COVID it certainly seemed like they were walking through the valley of the shadow of death. 

Later on Jesus identified himself as the Good Shepherd. So if we trust in Jesus we can claim his provision for all our needs and his protection. That is a great feeling! For those graduates, you may be wondering what the next year will be like. If you know Jesus, you will have nothing to fear because he will provide for you and protect you! For those returning home for the summer to return next year, Jesus will go with you and bring you safely back. Just trust Him! Go safely with Jesus and have a great summer!"

Sheila Johnson May 2021 Blog Photo

Sheila Johnson:

"To all our California students graduating this school year, Yonghyeon Choi, Jalen Lee, Alison Park, Haryn Shin and Ruibo Xu.

You have just successfully finished your high school career having undergone the most unusual and difficult year in recent world history. And you made it!

We here in California, your director and coordinators and host families, wish you the best of blessings in your new adventure as you graduate and go off to college. 

And as all our students return to their countries and their families for the summer break, don’t forget what you learned from your host families as they shared with you their home and their faith in Jesus Christ. Our Almighty Creator has a great destiny designed just for you. Don’t ignore His whisper to know Him better. Just know the best is yet to come."

Douglas Brooks May 2021 Blog Photo

Douglas Brooks:

To Hoyun Park:

"Congratulations on reaching this significant goal in your life. You have been very ambitious and brave to travel around the world at a very young age to pursue your dream. Even in the midst of a pandemic, you have stayed focused and finished well. I encourage you to continue to develop your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and seek out friendships with other believers while pursuing a career in the dental field. I and all of AHLI are very proud of how you have allowed God to shape you into the young man you are."

To Sangwoo Park:

You have completed the year with such a fantastic performance. You have done so well even in the midst of a difficult year that has brought uncertainty and fear to many. You have overcome and have been a blessing to the Killen family. I know you would have preferred to finish your senior year with your friends, but I believe this is another opportunity to gain more experiences with a new host family and make more friends and connections that will enrich you in your future. I like the Bible verse in I Peter 5:7, 'Cast all your anxiety upon Him for He cares for you.'  Well done!"

Barry Shaffer May 2021 Blog Photo

Barry Shaffer:

"I am so proud of all of you. I know it has not been easy to complete an entire year by staring at a computer. But, you did it! I am so so proud of each of you, and I know you will do well at the colleges that you have chosen to attend here in the U.S. It has been a tremendous joy to work with each of you online this year. We will miss you very much."


May 2021 Blog Photo 2


COVID-19 Vaccination Availability for Minor Youth 12 Years and Older

The COVID-19 vaccine has now been made available to everyone 12 years old and older, residing in the U.S. The two shot vaccine requires up to 28 days to be administered in addition to time needed to make the appointment arrangement. Current students may not have the needed time to obtain it before their planned departure. The vaccines have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use only.

Recognizing that some students may wish to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination, the AHLI COVID-19 Vaccination Release Form must be signed first. AHLI would like the natural parents to be informed of this opportunity, although AHLI and its affiliates will not be advising the students either way on this decision. AHLI wishes this decision to be totally dependent on the assessment of the student and their natural parents.

Prior to a student taking action to schedule a vaccination appointment, they must have their natural parents request the Release Form from their agent if the parent is working with an agent. The Release Form is to be signed, scanned and emailed to the AHLI office at 

The AHLI COVID-19 Release Form can be downloaded here:

AHLI COVID-19 Vaccine Release Form

Student Life During COVID-19

Student Testimonial about Studying in the US During COVID-19 1Student Testimonial about Studying in the US During COVID-19 2


CSIET Certification for 2020-2021

AHLI is pleased to receive the CSIET certification status for Standards for International Student Exchange.

AHLI is:

1. Committed to ensure our programs are designed to fulfill educational purposes related to an international experience.
2. Our programs have clearly established goals and learning objectives to fulfill the educational purposes of the program.

Feel free to learn more:…/

Thank you to our Homestay Families!

AHLI would like to acknowledge and extend our sincere appreciation to our homestay families. Without your dedication and passion for the AHLI mission, our students would suffer greatly.


On behalf of AHLI staff, directors, and coordinators, we appreciate your sacrifice and support. Together, we can ensure the academic success for each student and that they feel love of Christ during this challenging time.

AHLI Offers Summer Program Options

AHLI offers Short Term Summer Program Options for AHLI and Non-AHLI students currently in the U.S.A. that are in need of homestay, day camps or homestay and day camps.

Early registration discounts are offered for ESL & TOEFL Prep Camp and Language Lab if registration is received before April 15th. Homestay Immersion programs are available for individuals or groups of students in need of summer homestays for single weeks - full summer placements. Customized ESL & Activities Programs are also available for groups of 10 or more students in the same area.

For more information, visit our Short Term Program website page at….

Additional homestays may be needed to support current AHLI students that may not be returning to their home countries for the summer. Please visit our website at… to apply to host.


AHLI would like to notify our communities both here in the U.S. and abroad of the actions that we are taking to keep our students, host families and international agents apprised of the COVID-19 situation. This information will help eliminate xenophobia, keep our students healthy, and explain the opportunities that AHLI offers to ensure students can continue their academic studies.  Please visit our website at:  for more information.

We will continue to keep our updates available as the situation changes rapidly and we thank you for your support of AHLI during this time.

If you have further questions about COVID-19, we encourage you to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at:

AHLI Offers Early Registration Discount!

AHLI is offering a special Early Registration Discount on two exciting summer camps for all levels of English learners.

Language Lab is for lower level English students who want to improve their comprehension, reading, writing and speaking skills.

The ESL & TOEFL Preparation Camp is for intermediate and advanced English students whose goal is success on the TOEFL test. Session 1 of both programs is June 6 - June 28, 2020.

This is a limited time discount for both camps for those that register by March 15, 2020. 

Hurry, register today!

AHLI Offers Early Registration Discount!

AHLI is offering a special Early Registration Discount on two exciting summer camps for all levels of English learners.

Language Lab is for lower level English students who want to improve their comprehension, reading, writing and speaking skills.

The ESL & TOEFL Preparation Camp is for intermediate and advanced English students whose goal is success on the TOEFL test. Session 1 of both programs is from June 6 - June 28, 2020.

This is a limited time discount for both camps for those that register by March 1, 2020. 

Hurry, register today!

Special Memorial Event for Founder of AHLI, Ruth Powers

Tiffanee Wright, Executive Director and Partner Agent, Tomoko Shimo will be hosting a special Memorial Event in honor of Ruth Powers, Founder of AHLI. This event will be conducted at the Ochanomizu Christian Center, Room #416 in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday, January 25th at 10:00 a.m.


Special Guests will include Pastor Nao Yamanaka and AHLI Student Director, David Lindhiem.


If you would like to attend this event, please complete the following form for consideration:


Spaces are limited!

St. Anthony Catholic High School

AHLI is pleased to announce a new partnership with St. Anthony Catholic High School in San Antonio, Texas. 

St. Anthony Catholic High School offers challenging college preparatory curriculum including AP and Honors classes, strong international student support including ESL and extracurricular activities.

Multi-disciplinary studies include Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Public Service, Business & Industry and Arts & Humanities.

Student of the Month

Siheng Fang had a great year at Belleville Mennonite School in Pennsylvania.

Not only did he get straight A's on his report card, he had perfect attendance, was inducted into the National Honor Society and accepted the responsibility of directing a middle school play.

Siheng enjoyed his homestay experience and is looking forward to his summer vacation.

Great Job, keep up the good work!

North Catholic High School

AHLI announces a new partnership with North Catholic High School in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania.

North Catholic High School offers a challenging academic program including AP, Honors, Dual Enrollment and STEM courses as well as high SAT scores.

In addition to an award-winning athletic program, North Catholic High School offers many elective and extra curricular activities in the Fine Arts.