Applications to Richmond County foreign exchange program expected to pick up

Richmond County School System officials expect the pace of applications for next year’s foreign exchange program to pick up soon.

The district has received three international applications as of Wednesday, but senior coordinator for student services Maria Brown said she expects about seven more to come in by August.

“They come right in and usually have a good experience,” she said about international students in the program that brings them to Augusta.

Richmond County schools have played host to foreign exchange students for about two decades. Students usually arrive as 10th, 11th or 12th graders and enroll in a local high school for one year.

Last year, four international students enrolled at Academy of Richmond County, six at Hephzibah High and one at Westside High schools, Brown said.

Students who complete their senior year in Augusta receive a diploma from their home high schools, not Richmond County schools. But these seniors are allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony for the experience, Brown said.

“We try to make sure they blend in and feel comfortable,” she said.

The students apply through the Ayusa Global Youth Exchange program, which then places applicants in Richmond County.

Brown said students have come from countries such as Japan, China and Germany.

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