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Exchange Program

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WSVN -- Seventeen-year-old Celia is not only an excellent student, the high school senior is a talented ballet dancer and speaks french.

Celia Suman: "I love learning about cultures. I love learning about different countries."

So much so, she and her family traveled to Haiti last year.

Celia Suman: "We went to bring some aid. We brought clothes, we brought different toys and things for the kids."

The trip was such a moving experience Celia decided instead of going straight to college when she graduates she wants to study abroad through the Rotary Youth Exchange Program.

Juliet Suman, Parent: "She loves languages. She needed a break, it was an opportunity to go, explore and find herself."

Her mom supports her decision and in turn, a student from another country will come live in their house for a year.

Juliet Suman: "It gives you insight to other cultures. It gives you appreciation for what you have left at home."

"Here's a sawtooth Palmetto."

Todd Lary has been involved in the Rotary's Youth Exchange Program since he was in high school.

Todd Lary, Chairman of Rotary Youth Exchange Program: "So, the whole idea behind the youth exchange program is to have an intercultural relationship because we think it's a very powerful force."

Todd says the program helps young people understand different cultures that people around the world are basically the same. The program is behind eight thousand exchanges a year with 82 different countries.

Todd Lary: "We look for students with good grades. We look for students with good posture, good demeanor, students that we think will be good ambassadors for the U.S."

Right now his family is hosting a German exchange student. Sebastian admits he was a bit anxious about coming to the U.S.

Sebastian Rassfeld, German Exchange Student: "When I get into the plane my hands were shaking and I was just so nervous to meet my new family."

But after the initial culture shock he started to enjoy his new family and high school friends in Homestead.

Sebastian Rassfeld: "Maybe it was a shock at first, but after a while you sit and you see that everybody is the same."

And he keeps in close contact with his family in Germany on Skype!

Sebastian Rassfeld: "At Disney World we went to the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, to all of them."

Sebastian says so far this has been the best experience of his life.

Sebastian Rassfeld: "I have a second family now, it's like who has two families in America and Germany?"

Great news for Celia by the way, she recently found out she will be going to France for a year, her first choice.

FOR MORE INFORMATION on the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, please visit:http://www.ryeflorida.org/ http://www.rye6990.com/ http://www.rotary.org/en/StudentsAndYouth/YouthPrograms/RotaryYouthExchange/

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