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Exchange students experience culture flock

By Charlotte Hood, Staff Intern

Most students travel only back to their classroom from the bathroom, trying to delay the time until they have to go back to class. However, a few are taking their travels many steps further.

For 10 years the school has participated in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, sending students abroad to various countries to attend school and experience the culture of the country assigned to them.

Two students are visiting our school. Shu-shi “Daniel” Guo has traveled from Taiwan to spend his junior year here while learning about the unique culture, places and people of the state.

“We went on a trip to the Everglades,” Guo said. “It was really cool since China and Florida are the only places in the world that have alligators.”

Sonia Gur, another participant in the Rotary program, has made the journey from her home country of Poland. Like Guo, she will also spend her junior year in our school, which she has grown quite fond of.

“I love having Fridays off and being able to adjust my schedule around it,” Gur said. “I like how schools in America have guidance counselors, and I wish we had them in Poland.”

The program ensures that students who participate will be well taken care of through all stages of the trip. With a reasonably priced initial payment, the students’ needs during the year abroad are paid for.

Students are also assigned a host family that they will stay with during their stay in the country.

By living with a host family of the native country, the program hopes that it will give the students a better understanding of what it’s like to live in a different country, according to magnet coordinator Mr. Williams.

The main purpose of the program is for students to gain a greater understanding of their world and the people in it. By experiencing the culture of a different country, they learn things they couldn’t dream of in their home country.

“Most students come back speaking a different language,” Mr. Williams said.

Sophomore Camille Stanbury plans to participate in the exchange next year. She hopes to spend her junior year in Italy, though she has five other possibilities for the countries she will travel to.

“I want to go to Italy because of the culture, and the food, and it just looks so pretty in pictures,” Stanbury said. “I’d also like to go to Austria, since my family’s from there, to connect to my roots.”

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