American Home Life International
International Student Educational/Home-stay Program
Teaching an international student English and American culture can be as easy as inviting them into your home and having them become a part of your family. American Home Life International (AHLI) has been doing this for the past 30 years with students from countries all over the world. Marvin and Ruth Powers founded AHLI, which began by having one Japanese college age student come to Lancaster to stay with Ruth and her family. This student was so moved by their love and care for her that she wanted to give her life to Christ before she returned to Japan. The following year another student came to live with Ruth and this student gave her life to Christ as well prior to returning to Japan. This encouraged Marvin and Ruth to continue this type of program matching Japanese students with families living in Lancaster, PA. Since that time AHLI has been assisting students from the countries of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Mainland China and Spain.
Each year our student population varies, however, we average about thirty full time jr. high and sr. high school students, and ten full time post high school students studying in English language programs, community colleges and universities. Our summer group program averages between 150 to 250 students and offers home-stay experiences, English study, travel to nearby cities like NYC, Wash D.C., Niagara Falls, Philadelphia as well as local activities. Since the beginning of the program we have ministered to over 5,000 students.
Students are placed into a safe, caring Christian home where they stay during their time of study. The host family helps their student with adjustments while making them a part of their family. Students enjoy participating in American holidays while learning their true meaning, family events, outings and church activities. We recruit our host parents by speaking in evangelical churches to present the opportunity for them to be a missionary right in their own home.
Since English study or education is the primary purpose for most students traveling to the US, AHLI provides opportunities for students to enter private junior high and high schools. Our private schools are consist of five Christian schools and one college preparatory school. These schools vary in size, however, the class sizes average between 15 to 25 students.
English language study is available for post high school students at the Intensive English Training Program (IET), and at Harrisburg Area Community College. These campuses are located near downtown Lancaster The Intensive English Training Program caters to students who want to improve their English skills for personal reasons or for the TOEFL test. This program offers both full time and part time study opportunities.
Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) offers an ESL program for international students who do not have a TOEFL score sufficient to enter a university. International students begin their studies by entering the ESL class and leveling up until they are able to study in the regular courses. HACC is accredited so students can transfer to any four-year university at the completion of their two years. One of our most recent students was on a one-year study program from Tokyo University. We have had many students enter this college to complete their first two years of college, or to get an Associates Degree. University study for undergraduate and graduate degrees is available at Millersville University, Franklin and Marshall College (Ranked in top 50 Liberal Arts private colleges in the US), Elizabethtown college, Lebanon Valley College, Lancaster Bible College and Penn State University Middletown Campus. These universities offer a variety of courses for study.
English study is also available during the summer months. Students interested in part time study programs can enter the IET summer English program for post high schools students. Junior high and high school students can join our Summer Quest program which is in session from June to August with daily English classes, and a weekly afternoon activity and trip. Group programs are available for 10 or more students and can be designed to meet the needs of the group. Most groups study English on a daily basis and then visit local places of interest and travel to nearby cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Baltimore.
Immersion into the English language is our primary goal so students interact daily with their home-stay family, teachers and friends. SLEP tests are given to each full time student when they arrive and prior to the end of the school year. These scores indicate that our students advance quite rapidly in their English language development during the year. Junior high and high school students are also assigned tutors who meet with them weekly and are placed into ESL classes until their SLEP scores allow them to move into regular classes. During their junior and senior years of school students are scheduled for TOEFL testing. Specialized tutoring in TOEFL is also available for students who want to improve their scores.
Our vision is for students to return to their home countries with new or renewed spiritual interest, new cultural awareness, and a higher level of English. We hope that they will share with their family and friends about the new seeds of faith planted into their hearts and that their time here will make them productive citizens, and provide them with life long friends.