The University of Wyoming has been chosen by the prestigious Year of Exchange in America for Russian Program to host three undergraduate Russian students for the 2018-2019 school year.

The YEAR Program is funded through the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and this is the third consecutive year it has chosen UW to host the YEAR students, a decision UW says in a statement is a testament to the university’s strong curriculum and international student services.

The announcement comes a year after the UW Board of Trustees voted to eliminate the Bachelor of Arts in Russian. During a meeting in May 2017, the trustees voted to eliminate the Russian program along with four other low-enrollment academic programs.

The YEAR students are chosen for the program through a merit-based process that includes their academic records, leadership potential, excellent English skills and an interest in U.S. culture.

“We have hosted YEAR students in previous years, and we are excited to host three more vibrant students this year,” said Ryan Goeken, Assistant Director of International Students and Scholars at the University of Wyoming in a statement. “This exchange has enriched the university and our city in many ways, providing cultural exchange for local families and deepening discourse in our classrooms and our campus.”

Laramie resident Kari Rap (left) baking pies with her daughter (center) and a Russian exchange student (right) in 2017. Photo courtesy  Gerrit Rap.

The students will have the opportunity to take American studies, while engaging in community service and cultural exchange with their American counterparts. UW says the students will get to learn about the U.S. firsthand, while also helping provide an international perspective and insight in the classroom as well as the community.

Before moving into the UW dormitories, the students will be hosted by families in the Laramie area who will help them learn about American culture and integrate them into the local community.

Laramie resident Gerrit Rap hosted a YEAR student in 2017 and said the experience “added a spice of life to our daily routine and helped out family grow in immeasurable ways.”

Laramie residents who are interested in hosting a YEAR student can visit the YEAR Program website or contact American Councils at YEAR@americancouncils.org. The ideal hosts are open and excited to cultural exchange and ready to help a young student adapt to life abroad.