A PAX Host Family Journey
Exchange students from Germany and Lebanon with their host sister and host brother in Michigan

Seven students later...

Our PAX host journey started in the fall of 2011. Our son was leaving for college, and our daughter Lila suggested the idea of hosting an exchange student. Lila was in her second year of high school German and liked the idea of hosting a student from Deutschland

We had the space and I loved having kids at home, so the process began. Dana was more amazing than we could have imagined. She arrived on a Friday in late August, and that evening we took her camping with us for the weekend.  She was such a trooper and fit right in. Her bubbly personality gained her friends right away, as did her joining the cross country team at school.

In the subsequent years, we’ve hosted six more students: Akio from Mexico, Premtim from Kosovo, Rim from Lebanon (YES), Yusup from Turkmenistan (FLEX), and Yannic and Mareike from Germany.

Our daughter visited one of our students in Bonn, Germany in the summer of 2013. In 2015, she left to study at Bonn University herself and is still in Germany working as a text editor for a University in Bavaria.

Each has enriched our lives in many ways, opening many doors in the process.

Dana moved to the states after finishing high school in Bavaria and has lived in New York since. She married and works at the college at which she studied journalism. She is our German daughter, spending holidays with us and visiting whenever possible.

We’re still in contact with most of our students, and each has enriched our lives in many ways, opening many doors in the process. Had we not hosted a student from Germany, Lila wouldn’t have been able to pursue her dream of living in Germany, and we wouldn’t have family all over the world.

For anyone considering hosting, I would stress that PAX students are exceptional; they’re polite, flexible, cooperative, and hard working. Open your heart and home and show them your America!

—Allison Johnson, host mom of many PAX exchange students (MI)