About The Exchange Mom

sign with words high school just ahead

What Makes Us Unique

We have hosted exchange students for 16 years, have been local coordinators for 12 years for EF High School Exchange Year (one of the largest educational foreign exchange programs operating in the U.S.), and we have supervised a couple hundred exchange students spending a semester or full school year in the U.S.

We’ve had a lot of great experiences as host parents and as exchange coordinators. It’s not a perfect process, and student exchange has grown more complicated with the spread of technologies that allow students to never really leave their homes behind. We've helped students, host families, and families back home deal with the challenges that can arise when students are thrown into a new country and a new culture. The good news is that better communicating can avoid or lessen the problems that tend to threaten students' success during their exchange year.

What we do:

  • We find host families, help them through the screening process, and find them a student who, we hope, will “fit” into their family’s lifestyle for the coming semester or academic year.
  • For host families, we offer advice on how to bring their student into the family, how to address cultural issues and homesickness, and how to deal with normal issues that host families may not have faced before or which may just be different with a foreign student.
  • For students, we advise on how to adjust to a different way of life, and help them understand that life here is not better or worse than their lives back home – just different.
  • We have dealt with ordinary teenage behavioral issues, eating disorders, culture shock, language problems, sibling rivalries, alcohol and drug use, medical emergencies, mental health issues, and more.

What Our Students and Host Families Say ...

After going with another program last year due to space availability at our school, we've come to realize what an amazing exchange coordinator you are. You are always there when we've needed you and you know all the right things to say and do with teenagers!

Sandy N.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and quick response! I think your suggestions will really help me put myself in the school's shoes and see their needs, too.

Liz A.

Thanks for your response on the differences between F-1 and J-1 visas for high school students. You are probably the best source of info we’ve found on this complicated issue.

John T.

Our Journey

We have been the Exchange Mom and Exchange Dad since 2003 when we brought our first exchange student into our home in Portland, Oregon. (By the way, having an exchange student in the home dramatically reduced sibling rivalry between our two pre-teen boys).

Since then, we have hosted more than a dozen students from countries around the world — places as far apart from each other as Germany, Colombia, Italy, Venezuela, and Hong Kong — as well as short-term summer-stay students from Japan and France. We’ve welcomed them into our lives and in several cases have welcomed our “children” back again when they have returned for visits.

family with exchange students

Since We Started

Our journey continues!

We learned how our students' parents feel about sending their children off to the unknown, when our own son spent six months on an exchange program in Ghana when he was 18. He lived with a host family in the capital city of Accra and worked as a volunteer teacher's assistant in an after-school program in a truly poor part of the city. 


exchange students in our area in an average school year


years hosting exchange students


approximate number of students we've worked with

Meet The Exchange Mom (and Exchange Dad)

a smiling couple

Laura Kosloff: My professional background is as an environmental lawyer. I started out as a legal editor and spent 18 years as co-owner with Mark of a widely respected climate policy consulting firm and as in-house counsel for an international climate policy firm.

Mark and I still work on climate and energy issues (see our website, The Climatographers). I also tutor college and law students (see my profile on Wyzant), and volunteer as an attorney coach for our local high school teams in the National Mock Trial annual competition and the We The People constitutional law competition.

Mark Trexler: I still curse my high school Ecology teacher for putting me onto the environmental path that I have been wandering down for more than 30 years. After studying economics and environmental studies in college, I focused on public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, where I earned my master’s and doctorate.

I have specialized in climate change risk and risk management, founding our climate policy consulting firm, Trexler Climate + Energy Services, which we later successfully sold to an international company. Now, I focus on how we can effectively communicate climate risk to decision-makers.

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