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Written by Kindra Plumb   

International 4-H Youth Exchange

Have you ever wanted to experience a different culture? Or maybe make lifelong friends from other countries?

The International 4-H Youth Exchange, or IFYE, provides opportunities for Colorado 4-H members to travel abroad, and the program also brings inbound IFYE participants to Colorado from other countries.

The Colorado 4-H Foundation was established in 1952 to support two programs—the IFYE program and Citizenship Washington Focus. Colorado began participating in the IFYE program in 1951, although the program was developed in 1948 as a post-war peace effort involving 4-H farm youth from around the world.

Currently IFYE participants come from countries on every continent, except Antarctica. Colorado has the largest continuous state IFYE program in the United States.

Colorado is currently gearing up for the 2013 IFYE program. There are 11 IFYE participants set to arrive in Colorado starting in June. The following are short biographies of the incoming IFYE participants and the areas they are interested in.

Katharina, 19, from Austria, speaks German, English, French and Spanish. Her hobbies are jogging, cycling, hiking, skiing, singing, playing violin and piano and spending time with friends. She is a member of Landjugen (4-H). She is a student and lives on a grassland/dairy farm and is interested in dairy farming, cattle breeding, viniculture, promiculture and families with children.

Anna Theresa, 19, from Austria, speaks German, English, French and Spanish. Her hobbies are skiing, hiking, cycling, swimming and spending time with friends. She is a member of Landjugen (4-H). She is a student and lives on a small grassland farm for horses and is interested in dairy farming, cattle breeding, viniculture, promiculture and families with children.

Felix, 19, from Germany, speaks German, English, Dutch and Latin. His hobbies are soccer, reading, trumpet, music and spending time with friends. He is a student who grew up on a 250-acre farm with 25,000 turkeys. He would like to learn about American agriculture, ranch life, American history and politics.

Michaela, 16, is from Greece and speaks Greek and English. Her hobbies are ballet, guitar, traveling, volunteering, scouting and participating in non-governmental organizations. She is a student at the American Farm School in Greece and is involved in poultry, planting and taking care of cows. She volunteers to help youth with Down syndrome.

Jennie, 24, from Finland, speaks Finnish, English and Swedish. Her hobbies are horses, dogs and sports. She is a member of 4-H and is interested in farming, especially dairy and beef cattle, as well as riding horses. She is currently a student, graduating in the spring of 2013. She has plans to teach physical education and health education.

Andrew, 24, is from Northern Ireland and speaks English. His hobbies are bowling and rugby. He is a member of the Young Farmers Club and is interested in learning about rodeo, beef ranching, dairy farming and American sports.

Tone, 24, is from Norway and speaks Norwegian and English. Her hobbies are knitting, sewing, reading and snowboarding. She is a member of 4-H and is interested in farming biodiversity, animal welfare and surrounding environment. She is a biomedical laboratory scientist.

Gillian, 22, is from Scotland and speaks English. Her hobbies are scouting, badminton and gymnastics. She is a member of the Young Farmers Club and has held several offices and is interested in experiencing rural life in the United States.

Cecilia, 18, is from Sweden and speaks Swedish, English and French. Her hobbies are horseback riding, board games, meeting new people and spending time with friends. She is currently a student and is a member of 4-H. She is interested in learning more about Colorado and 4-H in the United States.

Jacqueline, 27, from Switzerland, speaks German, French and English. Her hobbies are badminton, cycling, hiking and meeting new people. She is currently a student and is interested in agriculture, nutrition and the environment.

Hsin-Mei (“May”), 26, speaks Chinese and English. Her hobbies are planting, drawing and handicrafts. She is a 10-year member of 4-H and currently a high school intern teaching horticulture. Her interests are learning about agricultural education, youth development, agricultural technology and horticulture science.

IFYEs generally stay with a host family for two to three weeks and then move to their next host family. The goal is for these exchange participants to learn about everyday life in the United States by participating in the homestay experience.

For more information about the IFYE program, or if you may be interested in hosting, please contact the Phillips County Extension Office. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.

Holyoke Enterprise April 25, 2013