Forte International Exchange is looking for host families in Bismarck for Exchange students during the 2021-2022 school year. This non-profit is dedicated to international cultural exchange by providing high school students a chance to experience American culture. Staying with host families helps to guarantee this experience is as genuine as possible.
Students from other countries who desire to experience American culture and education first hand, are given the opportunity with International Exchange Associations. To be eligible to study in the U.S. students are required to have a J-1 Visa and a C letter grade average. This special visa has been created to offer foreign universities participation in educational programs in the United States for a limited period of time.
The regional director of Forte International Exchange, Heidi Morlock explains, “All of the schools in Bismarck and Mandan do have different regulations our students have to meet before they’ll be accepted. A lot of them have to be 16 or junior in high school.”
Morlock says there are usually at least two exchange students at every public high school in Bismarck and Mandan. If students have no preference of where they want to go, they can be placed anywhere in the U.S.
“We’ve found a trend where a lot of students like to be placed in the Midwest because we’re open and friendly and very accepting,” says Morlock.
Students and families are screened to find a fitting match. Carolyn Simmons, the national director of the program, says they look for a variety of things when searching for host families.
Simmons adds, “In host family requirements we take retired, single, same sex couples. The main thing is they have to able to provide a loving caring atmosphere for the student.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, 300 to 350 students would be placed in a home yearly. Simmons admits that it has been harder to find host families but she is optimistic families will still be interested in hosting students.
“We have encouraged all of our new students to be tested for COVID before they leave their country and they do have an option immediately to get vaccinated when they get over here with their natural parent’s permission. We try to watch out for our host parents and our students,” says Simmons.
People interested in participating as hosts in Bismarck or Mandan, click here.