A rare event occurred in Jim Thorpe on Saturday afternoon as the outbound Rotary Exchange Student met the inbound one.

Before Terry Loyd of Albrightsville left for Szolnok, Hungary on Monday, she welcomed Alvaro Canizares as he arrived from Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Both students will be living with host families and their adopted culture for nearly a year, each returning home sometime in July, 2012.

They will both be learning a new culture and communicating in their host country's native languages, Hungarian for Loyd, and English for Canizares.

Loyd 16, recently completed her sophomore year at Jim Thorpe Area High School and Canizares, 18, is a recent graduate of his high school in Guayaquil.

To begin the school year, Canizares will live with the Lawrence family of Jim Thorpe.

Joe and Kim Lawrence are the parents of Kristin and Kyle, senior and junior students respectively, at Jim Thorpe.

During the winter months, Canizares will live with Jim Thorpe Rotarian and Youth Exchange Officer Bob Stevenson and his wife Mary Mulligan, also of Jim Thorpe.

It is customary for Rotary Exchange Students to live with up to three different families in the same school district.

While visiting a past exchange student during July in Hungary, Stevenson was able to speak with Loyd's first host family and enjoy a virtual tour of her host's home using Skype.

The worldwide Rotary Youth Exchange Program was created in 1972 with the goal of working towards peace and understanding in the world.

Each year now, some 8,000 young people have the opportunity to experience the culture, problems, and accomplishments of people in other countries.

For a chance to enjoy this same experience, incoming freshmen or sophomores in the Jim Thorpe Area School District are encouraged to contact Stevenson at (570) 325-2346 or at bobstevenson72@msn.com [1]

There will be a year of selection and preparation before embarking on the trip of a lifetime during their junior or senior year.