United Studies Local Coordinator Spotlight - Sue Beers

06 May 2020

Meet Sue Beers, our Local Coordinator for the month of May!

How did you become involved as a Local Coordinator with United Studies?

The Program Director Rene talked to me about it for a few years. Right around the time my daughter turned 1, I was looking for something I could do from home and that she could go along with me when I did need to leave the house. We always enjoyed being around the groups of students, so becoming a coordinator was a great option for me. 

You’ve been a Local Coordinator for several years, both for academic year, short term and summer groups. Why do you like being a Local Coordinator?  What are some of your favorite moments as a Local Coordinator?

It's hard to explain the joys of being a coordinator, until you actually experience it. I really love seeing the connections that students and families make together. It is a great feeling knowing that I played a part in their lifetime connection. I love hearing stories from families still in connection with their student, long after their exchange year. I love hearing from my former students about how much their time here meant to them. A few are actually back state side for college and stay in touch. I also love being involved at the schools, and hearing from the American students how the Exchange Students connected with them. Its really neat to meet American students a few years after the Exchange Student was there, and hear stories about what they remember and what the student taught them. Being a part of that connection is really special.  

You’ve hosted many exchange students over the years. Why do you like hosting?  What are some of your favorite memories as a host family?

We love being able to help the kids achieve their goals/dreams. They all come here with a goal, and to see how proud they feel when they achieve it is a great feeling. We also love the connection that the student(s) make with Mary. She has had a host sibling since she was 6 months old. It has really opened up the world to her little mind. She loves learning about their country. They all stay in touch after they leave, and a few have even come back to visit. Even if it has been years since they last visited, when they come back its like they have never left. We have family all over the world, and I can't imagine life without them. 

 Tell us about yourself outside of United Studies.

Busy!  I am not really sure what it means to sit still. I homeschool my daughter, and we are gearing up for the start of 1st grade in the fall. I am a Mom Taxi to all of her activities that she's involved in and spend a lot of time driving from one activity to the next.  Learning about life as a horse mom. This has been quite the learning experience! We also volunteer with a local pet rescue, Forgotten Felines of Culpeper, where I am Vice President for the rescue. We foster kittens for the rescue, as well as help out with a lot of the fundraising events and at least once a month I run the Petsmart adoption event. On the rare occasions that I have free time, I enjoy reading, gardening, sewing/crafting, and baking!

Why should someone become a Local Coordinator with United Studies?  Do you have any advice for new Local Coordinators? 

It is an experience that you will never understand until you try!  Being a Local Coordinator allows you to really get out and connected to your community. My students and I have joined a lot of community service projects and worked to really make a difference. Advice to a new Local Coordinator, don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Treat the schools like they are golden, surprise them with baked goods or even just a simple "Thank you" note. Going the little extra mile leaves a great reminder for the schools. Also, don't be afraid of the "No" just smile, say thank you and keep pushing forward. That yes is out there somewhere, just have to keep looking!

Local Coordinators are one of the most important members of the United Studies team! If you like working with young people, making connections in your community, and desire to enrich exchange student lives and American host families, we have the right position for you!

United Studies has opportunities in local communities all across the United States! For more information visit our WEBSITE or send an email to ayp@unitedstudies.org to speak to a member of our staff!

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