The Humble Intercontinental Rotary recently welcomed three exchange students for the 2013-2014 school year: Pawel Kapka, from Poland, Domenica Viteri, from Ecuador, and Valeria Rico, from Mexico. The students live with volunteer host families who donate resources to the incoming students and develop close relationships that, for many, last a lifetime. Kapka is attending Kingwood High School and staying with James and Kim Davitt. Kapka has not had any problem adjusting to America. “I love it here. It’s beautiful and the people are so nice.” Kapka has noticed some differences between the Polish and American cultures. “People here like to talk about everything and they will even ask people who they do not know how it’s going. They are very interested in their life and they like to talk a lot. They even like to talk about things that are not that important. I would say in Europe, we mostly say what is necessary. Here, people like to talk all the time. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t, but this is the culture.” Kapka’s family in Poland has hosted four exchange students and has had very good experiences. “One of the students, from Canada, is like a brother to me. He’s going to visit me here,” said Kapka started learning English at 7 years old, German at age 10 and Latin at age 12. He is hoping his time as an exchange student will help him to “meet people, experience a different culture and get experience which will help me progress in the future.” Viteri is attending Atascocita High School and is staying with Helga and Christian Petsch. Viteri has found AHS to be a big change, especially in size. “At home, my school has 200 students. [AHS] is a very huge school and you have to change classes. At home, you stay in one class and spend all day with the same people.” Rico is attending Kingwood Park High School, and staying with Heidi and Dean Crockett. The Crocketts have three daughters. “At home, I have only brothers, so it’s very different for me. It’s really nice,” said Rico. Rico echoed the other students’ thoughts on the motivation to participate in the exchange program. “I wanted to come on exchange to better myself and to learn the culture and language,” she said. “I like it very much.” Rico is taking a wide variety of classes at K-Park, including forensic science and economics. The purpose of the Rotary Youth Exchange program is to promote international understanding and peace through exposure to different cultures. The Youth Exchange program provides young students with an opportunity to experience other cultures and meet people who may be quite different from them, to encourage a lifetime of international understanding. Cutline: Humble Intercontinental Rotary Youth Exchange program students for 2013-2014 are (from left) Pawel Kapka, Valeria Rico, Youth Exchange Officer Susan Brodbeck and Domenica Viteri.

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