Author: Becky Baughman

May Student Blog

The final month of school has arrived. There may be some of you who have been counting down the days of school since January, and these last weeks can’t pass by fast enough. For others, you may be feeling a twinge of sadness as an important year of cultural exchange is coming to an end. As you begin your round of summer goodbyes, I hope you can take a moment and reflect back on this school year. 

What were your highlights of the year? 

  • What accomplishment are you most proud of? Did you try a new club, sport or activity? In your academics, was there a test, report, or presentation that represented your best work? 

What was the greatest challenge you faced?  

  • Was it learning English quickly enough? Forming new friendships? Staying involved and engaged with your host family? 

What relationships did you focus on this year?  

  • Did you grow a deeper friendship with a host sibling? Feel you bonded with one or two friends at school? 

Hopefully, the first question was easy to answer. Without a doubt, there is something (and probably many things) that you feel were successful this year. Whether your accomplishment was publicly recognized or it was a victory you celebrated quietly, recognize that you made strides forward in becoming a better you. But undoubtedly, you also had challenges throughout the year. Whether it was your last year here, your first year, or even your only year in the U.S., you can take what you learned through those challenges and remind yourself that troubles come and go, and you are able to rise above these difficulties.  

Perhaps the most important of the questions is that of the relationships you invested in. Good and bad times come and go, just as good grades and bad grades, but what lasts are the social connections that have been invested in. It is my hope that the friendships you have developed with your classmates, host family, teachers and Coordinators will last long into the future. Tennessee Williams, a famous American playwright, once wrote, “Time doesn’t take away from friendship, neither does separation.” As you transition to the next stage, may you look back on this school year fondly, full of gratefulness and growth.  


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

Students, reach out to me on WeChat to tell me a favorite memory from this past year!

Student of the Month


Devin is a junior at Elizabethtown Area High School, where he is involved in the school musical, choir, student council, tennis team, and school newspaper. He has proven himself to be a dedicated student and is known to go out of the way for his friends. He has been working hard to improve his English and broaden his vocabulary. We are proud of you Devin! Keep up the great work!

April Student Blog

Two weeks ago, I was able to cross something off my bucket list. What’s a bucket list? It’s all the things you’d like to accomplish or do before “kicking the bucket” (which is slang for dying). I had the opportunity to do several once-in-a-lifetime bucket list items, from crawling to the center of the Great Pyramid of Giza, to taking a hot air balloon ride across the Nile River into the Valley of Kings, to seeing Petra where the classic Indiana Jones was filmed, to walking in the footsteps of Jesus in Nazareth.  

Overlooking Nazareth, Israel

It’s fun to have a list of things you would like to accomplish in both the near and far future. God tells us that we can make plans, but God is the one that brings them to pass. Having goals is a great motivator to keep pushing through challenging or even boring days. Not all items on a bucket list need to be as exotic or grand as the experiences I just described. Visiting a local tourist attraction, trying new food, getting into an exercise routine, or meeting a new friend can be examples of worthy, small goals that can be achieved soon. 

The end of the school year is almost here. For some of you, you will be coming to the end of your time at school, with your host family, or even in the United States. What bucket list items do you want to accomplish before you finish out this year?


Visiting Petra in Jordan and taking my first hot-air balloon ride with my husband!


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

Students, reach out to me on WeChat to tell me what’s on your bucket list!

Student of the Month


Daniel is a senior at Grace Brethren, where he is Student Body President and involved in the math club. He recently was honored at an awards ceremony for his high scholastic achievement, earning a GPA of 4.57. He also gives generously of his time, volunteering at the local hospital last semester and helping others whenever an opportunity arises. We are proud of you Daniel! Keep up the great work!

AHLI is excited to announce that we have been approved as a J-1 Exchange Program Sponsor! 

This is an incredible opportunity for AHLI to offer a study abroad experience to students from many more countries, including Serbia, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam. Students on a J-1 visa attend a public U.S. high school for 1 year and live with voluntary host families for the purposes of having an American cultural experience. 

With this exciting news, AHLI is looking for host families! If you are interested in becoming a host family for a student on a J-1 visa, please message us!

An Easter Movie Invitation

Sacrifice At the Cinema

Take a quick look at the video clip below and then read on to learn more about the ultimate sacrifice.

What an interesting question… why do our favorite movies always have a hero making the ultimate sacrifice? Could it be because deep down inside of us, we all want to be loved in such an immense way that can overlook our mistakes, selfishness, and mess ups, to see us as a treasure worth the great cost of sacrifice.  

What makes these movies so captivating is that the hero does something spectacular on behalf of those who could not save themselves. The greatest story ever told could be one of these blockbuster movies! It has miraculous events, skeptical political leaders, the suspenseful foretelling of danger, and the intense display of love by the sacrifice of one for the redemption of all.  

This Easter, don’t get distracted by the chocolate bunnies, pastel-colored eggs, and sweet jelly beans. A story has been in the making for over 2,000 years, and you are an important part of the script! Our world and each of us were created by a loving Creator for the purpose of perfect relationship and enjoyment with Him. But as most movie plots go, our human desires and selfishness lead to sin- wrong choices which damage that perfect relationship.

Now this is where the movie plot gets interesting… we could have been left living with brokenness and death, but our Maker made a way to restore us to perfect relationship that lasts beyond the grave, by sending a perfect sacrifice, His Son, who knew no sin and was willing to take on our mistakes and the price of our failures. It was not an equal exchange, our sin for His purity… the Son experienced the weight of sin so fully that when he died by being nailed on the cross, the skies turned black, the ground shook, and even the heavy temple curtain separating the holy from the unholy was torn from top to bottom. Some might think this is the climax of our movie, but it’s not. It’s still coming! The true power of the story comes 3 days later, when the Son defeats death and comes back to life as the risen Savior!  

Because He was willing to face death on behalf of all people, He invites us to accept this free gift to be an actor in the Creation story. God is inviting you to join in this life-changing movie today. Don’t miss out! 


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

 Students, reach out to me on WeChat to tell me what you think of this incredible story!

Student of the Month


Jimmy was chosen as the AHLI Student of the Month for his involvement and growth at school and at home. Jimmy is a freshman at Lititz Christian School, where he is a part of the basketball team. He has made great strides in using his English in the classroom and on the court. He is intentional about developing friendships and helping his host family around the home. We are proud of you Jimmy! Keep up the great work!

February Student Blog

February is the month of love for Americans. February 14th is the day that more roses, chocolate, and cards are sold compared to any other day. Everywhere you turn, you see pink and red hearts, and the infamous chubby cupid baby looking to shoot a person with a love arrow to cause them to fall helplessly in love with the next person they meet. 

Countries around the world celebrate the idea of love. France, home to the town of Valentine, celebrates with the exchange of Valentine cards. South Korea celebrates the day of love on the 14th of every month! For the Maasai in Tanzania, young men dance and sing to attract a bride. In Wales, the day is celebrated on January 25, with the exchange of hand carved wooden spoons! For people in the southwest of China, love is celebrated through the giving of colored rice! Spanish men show affection in October by making a ‘macadora’ figurine out of sweet marzipan for their loved one. 

Most cultures have a tradition, symbol, or celebratory day for love. We love to talk about love, and we love to be in love! Society tells us that love is an emotion we have for those who we have deep affection for. It can be much harder to feel love for those who are not like us, or don’t understand us. The Bible gives a us a different definition of love. Love is not just something we feel, but how we act.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 

As you look through the list above of what love is, what do you see? Love is something we do intentionally, even when it is difficult. Many times, I don’t feel love when my kids put the dishes in the dishwasher the wrong way, or when a driver cuts me off in my lane, or when a family member says an unkind word to me. Instead, I feel angry and frustrated. But if I think of love as an action, rather than a feeling, I’m able to show more patience and endurance through difficult times. This month, is there someone in your life who you need to show love to, even when you don’t feel it? 


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

Students, reach out to me on WeChat to tell me how you plan to show love to the people around you this month!

New Year, New You by Giving Back!

High school is a time for learning, growing, and understanding yourself. One way to do this is to give your time and talents to make our world a better place. Volunteering is an excellent way to make new friends, build your college resume, and help others, all while trying new things.  

If volunteering is new to you, let’s look at some opportunities where helping a few hours a week or month can make a difference for you and others.  

  • Working with students – Many schools offer opportunities to assist younger students or even peers with their homework or class subjects. You may be good at math or science and can ask your teacher if there are students who need peer tutoring, or the school librarian may be able to match you with younger students who are learning to read books.  
  • Help your school – Look for opportunities to help at your school. Your school may need help to paint a classroom, plant flowers, or organize the library. These events are usually only a few hours but can maximize the impact at your school. If cleaning is not something you want to try, ask your favorite teacher if they need any help preparing their classroom or lessons.  
  • Protect animals – Are you an animal lover? Communities in the United States value animals, and there are many organizations that allow young people to help save, protect, and care for lost, injured, or abandoned animals. Local animal rescue organizations allow volunteers to walk and feed animals. You can volunteer with community agencies that care for the environment, which protect our wildlife, like planting a butterfly garden or cleaning up trash in local parks. 
  • Help disadvantaged people – There are less fortunate people in our local communities. Volunteering your time to help prepare meals, help at an after-school program to work with kids, or create a coat drive to collect winter items that can be donated to a charity organization to distribute to people in need. Churches are a good place to find opportunities to help others. 

God has gifted you with important talents. You can expand your abilities by using them to help others. Research has shown that volunteering boosts a person’s mood and decreases depression. Also, volunteering can help you get into the college of your choice. In 2018, a survey of 264 College Admissions Officers published in Forbes magazine stated that 58% of respondents agreed that “A student’s community service experience has a positive impact on his or her acceptance to our higher education institution.” College admission departments recommend that you volunteer consistently for at least a year to show commitment to more than yourself.  

Let 2023 be the year where you give of your time to make your community a better place to live! 


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

Students, reach out to me on WeChat to tell me where you plan to volunteer!