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Rotary learns about exchange student program

By Gary Lloyd

TRUSSVILLE — The Trussville Rotary Daybreak Club on Wednesday heard from Rotarian Stephen Valdes about a foreign exchange student program, an opportunity the club has been considering.

Valdes was previously a foreign exchange student.

Opportunities for the student can be for a six-week summer program or a nine-month program during the school year. Students can choose from more than 80 countries. He or she will live with a host family, and that host family also sends a student to this country for the same opportunity. The program is for students age 15 to 18, though younger students usually opt for the shorter program in the summer.

Stephen Valdes
photo by Diane Poole

Requirements include a good working knowledge of the host country’s language and the ability to adapt to the native foods and to being away from home for an extended period. The student must also sign a contract that details expectations for the entire stay. The student usually receives a monthly stipend from a sponsoring organization.

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