International exchange students seek local sponsors on Western Edge

"It’s a great way to learn a new culture and add a little spark to your daily routine while promoting international diplomacy at a local level," says Heidi Morlock.

Gerbig with students
The Western Edge has a diverse culture and unique brand of the American west. Foreign exchange students benefit from experiencing another culture while expanding their global perspective.
Dickinson Press file photo
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DICKINSON — The values of foreign exchange student programs are clear. Programs provide students with the unique opportunity to gain valuable language and cultural skills while providing students with lived-experience of another culture while expanding their global perspective.

Visiting international students, aged 15 through 17 years, are seeking host families in southwest North Dakota for either an entire academic year or even for a single semester.

Exchange students seeking host families come from countries as diverse as Spain, Poland, Brazil, Italy, Thailand, France, South Korea, Hungary, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico and Germany.

While in the United States these students become members of their host family, learning their family’s traditions and sharing their own.

"It’s a great way to learn a new culture and add a little spark to your daily routine while promoting international diplomacy at a local level," Heidi Morlock, Forte International Exchange Association's regional development director, said. "The sponsoring program is Forte International Exchange Association, a non-profit organization who has offered the opportunity for academic and cultural exchange to international high school students who would like to come to the United States on a J-1 Visa since 2000."


Host Families can be married or single adults, 25 years or older, with or without children. They can include families with children in the house or empty nesters. Host Families should and always do reflect the diversity of American culture.

In addition, host families must be able to provide a room or shared room, three meals a day and loving support, as well as a desire to share American culture and learn about a new one.

Host Families may select a student that best fits in with their own family, with Forte International Exchange Association exchange students being touted as some of the brightest.

"Criteria for student selection in the program includes qualifying their English and academic ability, maturity and flexibility, and a desire to promote cross-cultural understanding," Morlock said. "All Forte students speak English, and bring their own money for personal expenses, and are fully medically insured."

Host families eager to learn more about the possibility of becoming a part of the program are encouraged to contact Morlock at 605-228-6180 or via email at .

Additional information can be found at .

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