Courtney Bassil – Volunteer & Host Parent – Minnesota

Duties: YES Cluster Coordinator & Area Coordinator

Courtney pixCourtney Bassil is passionate about her volunteer work with YFU.  She is the YES cluster coordinator for St. Paul, MN, an Area Coordinator, an Area Rep, and a single host parent.  Courtney keeps her YFU community strong by annually planning a number of events for host families and students in her field. Those in St. Paul recognize that Courtney takes time and effort to make each student she mentors feel special. Full of energy and passion, she can relate to students and is a strong advocate for YFU and international exchange. YFU recently caught up with Courtney to ask her what drives her passion and commitment…

YFU: What drives you to volunteer with YFU students and families?

Courtney: The belief of being in a global community drives me. When we open our doors to these young ambassadors, we really get a chance to learn about our global community – what separates us and what makes us the same. Host families discover many new things about our communities that we share with the students… many things we didn’t take a moment to see, visit, or experience, but when we host, we see our community through new eyes.

YFU: What’s the most rewarding aspect of volunteering with YFU?

Courtney: As a single parent placement with no natural children, I am lucky to say I have eight amazing kids around the world.

YFU: Do you have any funny ‘lost in translation’ stories? 

Courtney:  I think one of the memories that stand out for me is when I was a chaperone for a student travel tour to the West Coast. A young lady left her camera on the counter at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. When she realized she didn’t have it, she was sure it would still be where she left it. She was from China, and in that country if you leave an item behind in these situations, it will probably be there until you return to pick it up. That was not her experience!

YFU: What’s the most unusual place/time you have ever told your ‘YFU Story’?

Courtney: I once overheard a young lady in church speaking German. I had to share with her the amazing opportunities YFU has for American students to travel abroad, particularly to Germany. I encouraged her to apply for the Congress-Bundestag (CBYX) scholarship.

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About Youth For Understanding USA

Youth For Understanding (YFU) advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities. The global YFU network, consisting of partners in more than 60 different countries, is united by the belief that full cultural immersion is the most effective means to gain the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected and competitive global society. YFU has remained a trusted leader of intercultural exchange programs for more than 60 years because of its commitment to safety, reputation for quality, and exceptional support services. Backed by a global team of volunteers, YFU provides cultural education and guidance to all participants. Selected to administer more government and corporate scholarships than any other high school exchange program, YFU is the only organization awarded full-listing for J-1 inbound, outbound and short term exchange by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET). Through creating global learning opportunities, YFU has promoted international understanding and world peace to more than 250,000 students and their host families. Thousands of parents across the globe trust YFU with their teenagers every year, and thousands of students every year choose YFU to help them discover their inner selves.
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