About ANDEO

Established in 1981, we are all about building lasting connections and relationships. All of our staff have lived with host families abroad and are excited to support your experience.

Established in 1981, ANDEO is a non-profit organization that specializes in international homestay programs.

Our mission: Our mission is to promote cross-cultural understanding and friendship through international homestays and educational programs. We offer support for language teachers, homestays abroad for school groups and individual students, and short-term hosting opportunities throughout the year.

From our office in Portland, Oregon, our international network of homestay participants, programs, and coordinators spans the globe. The heart of all our programs is a homestay with a welcoming family. All of our staff have participated in homestay programs. We know from personal homestay experiences and from more than 30 years of professional experience that home is the best place to share cultures, deepen language understanding and make lifelong friends.

Our international network of homestay coordinators shares our commitment to exceptional homestay experiences. Together we work closely to develop, implement, and refine every program we offer. The result is an extraordinary level of quality and support.

We are often asked, "What does ANDEO mean?" ANDEO (pronounced Ahn-DAY-oh) is not a word we took from another language or an acronym, but a word that is easy to pronounce in any language. The question, therefore, is not what our name means, but what it conveys: sharing, communication, and cross-cultural understanding. Our name is a way of making communication between people from different places and cultures in our network a little easier. For the thousands of students and families who have participated in our programs, "ANDEO" has come to mean the homestay experience of a lifetime!

We hope you will join us as we continue to bring people together to share their cultures and languages through homestays. We invite you to add "ANDEO" to your vocabulary!

A note about inclusion: We are committed to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in all our employment and educational programs. We do not discriminate based on race; national or ethnic origin; color; sex; religion; age; sexual orientation; gender expression or identity; pregnancy; marital status; familial status; economic status or source of income; mental or physical disability or perceived disability; or military service.


Meet our Staff

Melinda Samis | Executive Director

Melinda founded International Summerstays (now ANDEO) in 1981. She has set foot on the soil of many countries, loves being able to read Mexican poets in their native language, and has opened her own home to students from South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Traveling memory: "Being in a small village in France on September 11, 2001 and having all the neighbors stop by to extend their heartfelt wishes for my country."

Sara Keilholtz Bruckner | Deputy Director

Sara has hosted international students, lived with families in Mexico, Spain, China, and Tibet, served as an international camp counselor in Barcelona, and taught English in China as well as creative writing and composition at University of Oregon. She graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Oregon and is passionate about facilitating cross-cultural communication and understanding. Favorite traveling memory: "Living with a host family in Mexico with my mother when I was nine. Laughing and blowing bubbles with my host brothers and sisters. Figuring out our own ways to communicate through play."

Kellie Irish | College Programs Manager

Kellie lived in Japan for four years, one of those with a wonderful host family. She has a B.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures with a focus on Japanese. Her love of cultures and adventure has taken her to twenty-two countries on four continents. Traveling memories: "Relaxing in a Japanese hot spring during snowfall after a long day of snowboarding; watching the sunrise in the Serengeti."

Rebecca Gundle | Teen Programs Manager

Rebecca got her first taste of international travel at the age of four when her family spent four months in Central America. Ever since then, she has been hooked! After high school, she backpacked through Europe and Southeast Asia and then studied Latin American Studies & Anthropology and Teaching. Before joining ANDEO, Rebecca taught at middle- and high schools. She speaks Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, lived with host families in Mexico and Brazil, and collected passport stamps from twenty-three countries on five continents. Memorable travel moments: “Learning to make tamales from my host mother and host sister in Oaxaca, Mexico; bicycling through the countryside in Laos.”

Kaylin Preston | Coordinator- Teen and College Programs

One of Kaylin's first and most impressionable cultural exchange experiences was when she and her family hosted a Japanese student who attended high school with her and her sister for the year. Her passion for travel, cultures, and languages only grew after this, and she continued her schooling at Lewis & Clark College. She earned a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology and spent a semester studying French and Wolof in Dakar, Senegal. After university, she spent a year living and working in New Zealand before returning to Senegal on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award. She spent one more year teaching English in the Indian Ocean on Reunion Island before coming back to her home state of Oregon. During her spare time she enjoys exploring the trails around the Pacific Northwest, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and finding any excuse to dance. Favorite travel memory: "Spending the day with a family in a small village in Senegal. We ate the national dish for lunch, brewed all three cups of tea under the mango tree, then attended the traditional wrestling match between neighboring villages that night. Afterwards we danced at the 'dust dance' until the sun came up and we hitched a bus ride back to the nearby town."

Stephanie Harrison | Coordinator- Teen and College Programs

Stephanie’s favorite book has always been a world atlas, and she has dedicated her life to developing international relationships and cross-cultural exchange. Her international experience started in high school with a German host family exchange, followed by a yearlong study abroad in Germany during her undergraduate studies, and a U.S. Peace Corps service tour in Ukraine where she taught English for 2 years. She has a BA in both International Studies and German from the University of Wyoming and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Portland State University. In her free time she can be found knitting, cycling, and cooking. Favorite travel memory: “While I was a PC Volunteer I went to the Carpathian Mountains for a festival. However, rather than spend the whole weekend at the festival, I ended up in a small village helping dig a trench from a well to a house to equip it with running water. One of my fellow PCV’s had written a grant to turn the house into a shelter for battered women and their children in their area, but she needed some free help to dig the trench and over 20 volunteers turned up to pitch in. The most amazing part was the reaction of the Ukrainians to see this many volunteers at the drop of a hat show up to help out. They were so grateful that they prepared us a wonderful lunch that we ate together after the trench was finished.”

Julie Padbury | Local Area Coordinator - Tigard/Tualatin/Sherwood areas

Julie has a BA in Liberal Arts from Portland State University. She studied French and German at Oregon State University, and is currently learning Spanish. After high school she toured as a performing artist with Holiday on Ice International in Europe, which took her to Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, England, Wales, Czechoslovakia, Spain and Italy. She has 4 children and has hosted students from France, Italy, Spain and Japan over a span of 14 years, starting when her kids were just 2, 3, 4 and 5 years old. Most memorable travel moment: "My fellow ice-skaters and I were walking the back streets of Tours in France after a long show day. We met some locals who wanted to know why we were in town. They didn’t understand “ice-skating with Holiday on Ice” in French…but then I saw a L’Espoir newspaper on the cobblestone street that just happen to have an article about our show and full spread of pictures of us in full costume and ice-skates on the back page. It was quite the coincidence, as we didn’t even know the press had been covering our show. I still have that newspaper today!"

Rachel Stone | Cultural Exchange Associate- Teen and College Programs

Rachel’s first experience with international exchange was in high school when her and her family hosted an Australian student. From there, she developed a passion for cultural immersion and travel which motivated her to pursue studying the Japanese language. As an undergraduate, she studied abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. In Osaka, she taught English conversation and writing to Japanese students and adults. Her Japanese homestay experience was so impactful that it made her eager to get others excited about hosting or living abroad with homestays. She has earned a B.A. in Psychology from Lewis & Clark College. In her free time, Rachel enjoys running and going on spontaneous road trips around the Pacific Northwest. Favorite travel memory: “Watching my host sister’s school performance one afternoon in the suburbs of Osaka. It was in celebration of the Japanese national holiday ‘Health and Sports Day’, and at the event my host sister and her classmates performed a series of synchronized dances and other sports activities for their family and friends. I had so much fun watching the show, meeting my host family’s friends, and eating the delicious ‘bento’ lunch boxes that my host mom had prepared for lunch. I remember feeling like I was truly a part of their community!”

Zach Simon | Cultural Exchange Associate - Teen and College Programs

From cresting the summit of Mt.Kilimanjaro to herding goats with his Maasai host brothers, Zach’s first experience traveling internationally to Tanzania provided a transformative experience he will carry for a lifetime. Zach earned his B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Lewis & Clark College and studied abroad throughout Tanzania where he participated in homestays, studied Swahili, and interacted with a range of peoples and cultures. In Oregon, Zach’s favorite activities include fly fishing, biking, and camping and he welcomes any opportunity when he can find the time to do all three. Favorite Travel Memory: “Spending two days in Yaeda Valley with the Hadza tribe in Tanzania who practice hunting and gathering. Waking up before dawn to go on a hunt, tracking zebra, baboons, and watching my Hadza guide catch a hyrax with handmade bow and arrows all while walking through the Great Rift Valley.”

Lauren Morrow | Cultural Exchange Associate - Teen and College Programs

Lauren’s passion for international traveling and hosting experiences started when she was eleven and her family hosted their first of eight exchange students. In high school, she lived with two different host families in Costa Rica on an exchange program. After graduating with a BA in International Relations, she spent two and a half years backpacking around the world, predominately spending her time in Latin America, Europe and Australia. While Lauren was getting her Masters degree in International Development and Service, she spent two semesters studying and interning abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Quito, Ecuador. She used her study abroad locations as jumping off points to explore other parts of South America and Southeast Asia, too! Lauren has also chaperoned a group of high students to Costa Rica. She’s excited to be back in her hometown and providing exchange opportunities for others! Favorite Travel Memory: "Huddling in the tent door opening after getting caught in a thunder and lightning storm on the top of Volcán Acatenango while watching Volcán de Fuego bursting with red lava eruptions."

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