Academic Year Program (AYP)

AYP is our J-1 visa program, offering students and host families the classic exchange experience.

Program Overview

For students who are looking for a broad experience of life in America, Nacel Open Door, Inc. (NOD) offers the Academic Year Program, either five months (academic semester) or 10 months (academic year) in duration. Students live with a host family and attend an American high school. Participating in a long-term academic program means total immersion in American life, and as such, it is an ideal way to achieve proficiency in the English language as well as gain a complete cross-cultural experience involving American home life and school.

Students stay in communities across the United States with host families who are carefully chosen and screened by NOD representatives. These families are volunteers and agree to welcome students into their lives as a member of their family. They provide room and board as well as the care and support necessary for students as they learn and adjust to life in the U.S. Students have the opportunity to take part in family activities and are encouraged to make the most of the opportunity to learn about everyday life in America from their host family.

Students attend high school in their host family’s community. These schools can be public, charter, or private, but are most often public. By attending a local high school, students have the opportunity to engage in the American school system and further improve their English language skills. Joining school and community clubs and sports is a great way to make friends and integrate further into the American culture.

Students remain well-supported throughout their stay in the U.S. by having many resources available to them. Regional coordinators work together with local representatives to place students with families and then support the students while on program as they acclimate to American culture. Student advisors are also available to students for support anytime it is needed. This network of local and regional reps and coordinators, as well as the NOD national office staff, are dedicated to assisting students in having an enjoyable and memorable experience in the U.S.


In order to participate in an academic semester or year program, students must be at least 15 years of age and not more than 18.5 years of age by the time they come to the U.S. Students must have at least three to five years of English study, based on their age; meet minimum English proficiency score requirements; and demonstrate both oral and written proficiency in the English language, supported by the recommendation of an English language instructor.

To be able to meet the rigor of course work taught in English at an American high school, students must have an above-average academic record in their native country (a “C” average or above across all coursework in their transcripts for the last three years). Students must demonstrate the strength of character and flexibility necessary to adapt to studying and living abroad, and they must have an open mind as well as a desire to learn new things and meet new people.

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  • Nacel Open Door
    101 5th Street E.
    Suite 1900
    St Paul, MN 55101
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