PAX student from Kazakhstan climbing in an adventure park with his host dad and siblings from Indiana
Dulat with his host dad and siblings on one of many adventures

First-Time Host Family

My family hosted an exchange student this year. Dulat from Kazakhstan is an amazing young man. He and our son Jonah (16) hit it off like brothers. Hannah (13) teases, saying Dulat is the nice brother. As a first-time host family, we wanted to make sure Dulat had many experiences in America. We are a family who likes adventures!

Our first adventure was a day trip to visit the Amish area of Shipshewana, IN. He loved the horse and carriage, the homemade food, and just seeing a different world. We then took him to Lake Michigan. His eyes got so big, and he kept calling it an ocean.

During spring break, we drove to Georgia and then to Florida to visit family. He was able to see just how long it takes to drive from one state to another. We drove through four states in one day.

You don’t have to take expensive trips to host an exchange student. Most of the things we did cost very little. We enjoyed being with Dulat doing normal family activities. It has been a blessing having him in our home. We have learned so much from him. We are going to miss seeing him daily. Dulat has become a part of our family and our hearts.

—XaViera Ellinger (IN), host mom of Dulat (FLEX, Kazakhstan)