More Than a Host Family
High school exchange student from Indonesia poses in parking lot with host parents

Feeling "Awesome" in Arkansas

Before coming to the USA, I was scared about my host family, especially about my religion and the food. I don't eat pork, caffeine, or seafood that does not have scales. I am in the minority in Indonesia, where most people are Muslim. I was born into an Adventist family.

God had the best plan for me. After becoming a finalist in the YES program, I discovered that my PAX host family and I are of the same religion. 

I feel safe and comfortable with worship and food. My host family is kind, welcoming, supportive, and understands me well. They make me feel the warmth of family. I really love them, and will never forget their kindness.

They give me a place to live and food to eat that's more than enough. My host dad gives me powerful advice. He treats me as his daughter. My host mom is a teacher. She teaches me a lot of stuff. She is an organized person. She schedules a lot of things to do together on our calendar. It makes me feel awesome.

My host family takes me to many different places: museums, other states, and vacations during school breaks. They give me incredible opportunities to try new things and learn about a new culture. We’ve been to Silver Dollar City, Branson, and an aquarium.

One day after my exchange year, I believe I will go back to visit them and repay their kindness.

I am so thankful to have them as my American family. They support me in every step that I take. I love art, drawing, and painting. My host dad is always trying to find me art contests, exhibition information, or art ideas. My host mom gives me more suggestions. No wonder I got this far! I got an honorable mention at the NASA student art contest, two medals for impromptu speaking, won a bookmark contest at school, and earned some other awards. I made my host dad a painting of us for his birthday. I really love my American dad.

I am blessed to be part of their family. I love them. One day after my exchange year, I believe I will go back to visit them and repay their kindness. 

Big thanks to PAX for finding me the best host family ever. 

—Ariella (YES Indonesia), hosted by the Kohltfarber family (AR)