PAL and NTSC have very different tech specs, hence there are a few things to consider.
PAL runs at 50hz and utilises 625 horizontal lines in a full frame (576 of these are visible on a standard broadcast - without overscan - the rest are vertical blanking and non visible). NTSC runs at 60hz and holds 525 lines with around 480 visible.
The interlaced nature of both formats means that only half a frame is shown on each pass with a slight offset so that more detail can be shown when interlaced. This explains the flickering you can see on high contrast areas of a TV picture.
Converting well between the two used to be expensive but I would guess it is much cheaper now, although I have not looked. You will see that there are still issues with conversion as even broadcast networks have traits that I find annoying when the format has been changed, I am very picky though and used to do a lot of work in Computer/TV graphics.
The idea of going to DVD may not help as the DVD may well default to PAL, these can be read by DVD players but may not show on TV's that are NTSC. (I know that UK TV's used to have mixed results the other way around - and we all know that US companies are not the first to think about interoperability).
If you go down the Camcorder to PC to DVD route then that can handle the conversion but you will have to fork out for a few bits of equipment, including a card that can take an s-video analogue input. Hi-8 uses Luminance and Chrominance on separate lines so is better than composite signals (8mm or VHS C), the problem is that Hi-8 is not a digital signal (unless it's a Digital8). The quality after all of the steps may be dissapointing.
I suggest buying a new camcorder if you are staying in the US, it may sound a little drastic but you will be able to plug it straight into a TV over there, or hook it up digitally to your PC very easily, you could even hook it straight into a DVD recorder to do simple editing.
I'd be more than happy to answer your specific requirements, just post what you need to do (all the different places you need to send the stuff and what formats and your budget) and I'll take a look at it.