Wanting to Host an Exchange Student?

Thinking about opening your home to an exchange student?

What a way to experience another country and culture – no leaving your home, no airplane tickets, no required passport! You can read about another country and culture, but it is nothing like experiencing it.
You will gain and new son or daughter – a new forever family member.

What a great learning tool for the entire family – what an experience

By sharing our way of life and working through challenges that arise along the way we learn to recognize that no matter where we call home, all people are more alike than different

Your new son or daughter will learn firsthand about our customs, traditions and language

We see our own community and country through the eyes of an “outsider”

Our family hosted, learned and grew

Our own sons learned that you need to be compassionate and open minded. Like when our new German son struggled with his homework later to have our son figure out he was in the wrong, but similar reference book.

Or how about when your in- laws show your family photo to friends and they pick out your exchange son as one of your natural sons?

Or when words don’t seem to work and your new son says when should I stand up in the morning and you realize he is asking when should I wake up.

Or when you realize your new son isn’t getting your sarcasm and you explain it to him and for a few times after that he will ask you are joking right?

Or our Muslim that son had a hard time getting to American and needed to go through special security when he arrived and within 30 days after getting to our home, which included over an 800 mile round trip to Homeland Security. And just because he was a boy, dark skinned and Muslin. But this young man, as all that we had, has a piece of our heart forever. He has attended college in Boston and now works there. Because of his time with us, when we had Hurricane Katrina and his country was celebrating our mishap (on our own land too), his younger sister told me; because my brother knows the Hegel’s I cannot celebrate with my countrymen this mishap.

Our getting up at 4 in the morning to get our Japanize son to swimming practice and then to school and after school back to swimming practice.

Giving them their 1st experiences – going through a car wash, sport of curling, seeing our wide open land WITHOUT buildings, experiencing animals that are only in zoos in their country, snow, cold, understanding we can travel between states without stopping at check points

From hosting and placing we are more aware of our world – when tragedy strikes one of the many countries we have family in we reach out to be sure they are okay.
To this day we and our sons still have contact with these young men.

Why do I place students?

Because of other commitments we can no longer host. But by placing students I can still experience their excitement of coming to North Dakota. I love meeting and working with these students. I can still have new sons and daughters. (and many times I meet their parents and gain new friends) I love meeting these students, getting to know them, watching them grow as they branch out throughout their stay and gain more independence, as well as a new love for their host families, their school, our community and America. Hearing their English improve throughout their stay.

I have had students come back to visit their host families and friends. One young lady has been back each year since leaving (5 times) I have one student that asked about coming back the year after his exchange and finish his senior year at our local high school. That year he excelled in soccer and was homecoming king. His host family are very much his American family and he stayed with them during the senior year and now on holidays from college comes back “home”. He will be in his 2nd year of college, this fall, in Minnesota.

I stay in contact with all my own sons and my placement sons and daughters through Facebook and when they return to Bismarck each will call and ask to see me.

I have met several of the students’ natural parents adding to my delight of meeting these fine students.

It is my a dream of my husband and I to someday visit these children in their own land from Dominic in Mexico, Bela in Brazil, Arne, Felix, Nicola, Franziska, Julia, Nikki, Julian in Germany, Pol, Pablo, Jorge and Julia in Spain, Beatrice in Italy, Ahmed in Bangladesh and Kohei in Japan. And the list continues……

Questions you might have

Who can host?

All types of families are encouraged to apply. We strive for a great match between the student and family based on interests.

Warm, welcoming and willing to share your daily life, have an interest in other countries and cultures, financially able to meet the basic needs of the exchange student and made up of outgoing, open minded family members.

Families come in many ages and sizes with our without children or teens. Single parent, two parent, empty nesters.

Families with a child similar in age to the exchange student really seem to benefit

Families can host two students at a time – students may not speak the same native language. Both the student and their natural families need to approve this arrangement.

How do we start the hosting process?

Complete an application and background check. (see link to )

Meet with the local community coordinator for an interview

Decide on the country of origin for your new son or daughter; list your hobbies and interests of your family. Based on your preferences I will work with you to choose your student supplying profiles to read and find a match for your family

Prior to the student’s arrival I will do an orientation session

What is required of hosts?

Welcome the student and include them as one of your family share your life as if this were your own son or daughter providing a warm and supportive environment

Be prepared to accept a student of a culture, race, religion or lifestyle different than our own and GROW

Provide a bed for the student (bedroom can be shared with like sex and similar age)

A quite place to study

3 meals a day while in your home

Supply transportation to and from school

Encourage the student to engage in American Life

Tell me about the student.

These young people are eager to experience daily life in US these students are interested in American Culture and want to make American friends and Understand this is not a trip or a tour but an academic homestay that requires work and effort and results in learning

Many of these students have had the dream to come live and study in America since they were children

Our students come from countries where English is their 2nd language and come to America with the desire to immerse themselves in our language

Foreign parents consider it a priority to provide their children with opportunities to learn English and understand another way of life. Because English is such a universal took in the world of Business and science so speaking it is a tremendous asset for the students’ careers.

Are between the ages of 15 and 18

Students have their own spending money for social events, personal needs, cell phone, school activities, fee and physical

Students have their own health insurance no illness or accident become the host families’ responsibility

Students cannot drive, but can ride with other responsible youth

Enter the US on a J – 1 Exchange visitor visa secured - all travel to and from US are arranged by the sending organization and PAX

Students are encouraged to participate in school sports, clubs, organizations activities as well as family activities. The more involved a student is, generally, the more they benefit from their exchange experience.

Students generally arrive in Mid-August and leave in June

Hosting an exchange student is like adding a new member to your family – it come with the rewards and responsibilities. The students are expected to adapt to the host family’s lifestyle, respect and uphold house rules, participate in family activities and have chores as well as responsibilities

What happens once our new son or daughter arrives?

I will meet your new son or daughter with you at the airport to introduce myself.

I will arrange a time for the students and host families to have a get together where I will also conduct the students’ arrival orientation

From time to time I try to plan additional fun get togethers, at least for the students

I do love spending time with these students so I try to attend some of their school functions as well as just spend time with them

As your local coordinator I will continue to work with both the student and your family throughout the year – with monthly contact and activities from time to time during the course of the time I and our PAX national office have a great deal of experience in both matching participants with families and providing support throughout the year.

If there is a misunderstanding between the student and families I will provide counsel and support

If there are difficulties that can’t be FIXED or if unexpected changes happen in your family I coordinator will arrange for another placement for your student.

Prior to the students’ departure I will conduct a departure orientation

Tell me about PAX

PAX or Program of Academic Exchange

PAX has rules for the students also covering drinking, smoking, driving, as well as expectations for school all of which are listed in our PAX Host Family Handbook

Pax is bound by the rules of the US Department of State for Exchange Students and also has some of our own requirements beyond those required

Pax is CSIET full listing certifies that PAX complies with its standards for international education travel programs

Our Responsible partners abroad are responsible for student selection, pre-departure orientation, travel arrangements and corresponding with natural parents during the program.

Pax services include host family recruitments, interviewing and selection, school enrollment, arrival orientation, and support and counseling during the year.

Local community coordinators such as me provide local program service to all participants. PAX also has a toll free number for student and families to the national office and maintains a 24 hour emergency service.

I work with my host families on the local level; and have a regional director in the home office (New York) whom can be called upon for information, help in situations, advice, etc.

Call or email me directly Kimberly Hegel 701/471-7529 or
The Pax national office
14 Willett Avenue
Port Chester, NY 10573 USA
1-800-555-6211 Fax:1-914-690-0350

READY FOR THE APPLICATION? and send an inquiry for hosting. You will be send the application and we are on our way to a fun and exciting time!


Imagine sharing your corner of the US with a high school exchange student. Wherever the student comes from they share a common goal: a sincere desire to experience and better understand the US by participating in real life activities as a student and family member.

Won’t you let them experience baseball, barbeques, birthday parties, camp fires with a hobo meal, smores, a snowstorm (or just snow), our farms and large machinery, or whatever is special to you – our world through their eyes.

Things we take for granted will seem fresh and new when shared with a PAX student – baking chocolate chip cookies, planting flowers, playing fetch with your puppy, sharing American Holidays with someone for the 1st time by carving a jack o lantern, preparing and partaking of a thanksgivings meal, watching a parade, understanding we can travel from state to state without stopping and registering, seeing our wide open spaces – these will create cherished lifelong memories!

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Home Thinking about Hosting? Al's Story - Host Family Beatrice's Story - Exchange Student Blake's Story - Friend of Exchange Student Julian's Story - Exchange Student Maria's Story - Host Family
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Laura's Comments Dia's Story - Host Family Nicole's Thought Returning Home
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Exchange Students Waiting To Be Placed
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Ander from
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Bruno from
Carmen from
Francisco from
Hyun from
Isaac from
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Kurmet from
Louisa from
Olatz from
Shuhei from
Thitiphat from
Yubo from
Juan from
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