Exchange students struggling to find host families this year

Jim Anderson’s Bloomington home looks a bit like a fraternity house right now except instead of college students, it’s teenage exchange students from across the world.

He’s only hosting two current exchange students right now, but former students continue to return to the U.S. to visit him. Once they live with him for the 10 weeks of their exchange program, Anderson said, they become part of his “forever family.”

“It’s hard to put it into words,” he said. “It’s amazing the connections you make.”

Over the years, Anderson has hosted 11 students through PAX, or Program of Academic Exchange, a national exchange program with close ties to Bloomington. PAX has placed 24,000 students from 70 countries since it began about 30 years ago. Although it’s only one of several exchange programs that place students in the U.S., PAX places about 200 students in Indiana annually, senior regional director Pam Blackburn said. 

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