Congratulations to the Winners of the 2016 Reel Life Contest!

The results are in! We're happy to announce the Grand Prize winner and the President's Award winner of the Reel Life Contest. AFS Host Families from around the country submitted their favorite hosting memories in the form of a photo or a short video to compete for these two prizes.

Grand Prize

As the Grand Prize winners, the Williams family of Missouri and their exchange student Andre from Brazil received the highest number of verifiable votes that came in through the AFS Reel Life voting platform. Their prize for winning the popular vote is an all-expenses paid trip to one of four U.S. cities—New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., or Chicago!

Grand Prize winner.

Here's how Andre describes his favorite host family memory: "The picture above specifically shows an unforgettable moment to my experience, in which I had the chance to be part of a unique family tradition on Christmas Eve by putting my PJ's on and reading with my little host sister, Lillie, the classic Twas the Night Before Christmas to the family."

President's Award

A second prize, the President's Award, was presented to the highest quality Reel Life submission, as determined by a panel of AFS judges. The winning family, the Dordal/Boyd family of Washington and Gamze from Turkey, will receive a host family and exchange student reunion. After her exchange in the U.S. is complete, Gamze will have the chance to return to her host community and create new memories with her family!

Here's what Gamze has to say about her award-winning entry: "As the recipient of a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study scholarship, I have been so grateful for all of the opportunities I have in America… The most important opportunity I've faced has been at home: the opportunity to connect with another family; to truly become a part of a home thousands of miles away from my own; to discover what home means outside of my own culture, beliefs, and family."

Honorable Mention

Because there were so many other outstanding submissions this year, the AFS judges panel has decided to include four "Honorable Mention" entries that we believe deserve our recognition:

The Linn Guri Haarburg family and Linn from Norway

The Raziq family and Natnisha from Thailand

The Kate and Doug Weber family and Jesse from Nigeria

The Johnston family and Linus from Germany


Congratulations to all our amazing winners! Your submissions show the real importance of hosting an international exchange student and how each family moment can make a huge impact.

Thanks to the host families and exchange students who participated in the Reel Life contest this year! We loved going through all the awesome photos and videos and reading the inspiring stories.

If you’d like to create your own unforgettable host family memories, visit our website to find out how you can host an AFS Exchange Student and meet the teens who are coming to your area: