Exchange student from Mozambique to attend exclusive workshop

Valter Serafim, center, with his Walla Walla family, from left, Jeff, Ruth, Ann and John Ladderud.

Valter Serafim, center, with his Walla Walla family, from left, Jeff, Ruth, Ann and John Ladderud.

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Valter Serafim, an exchange student studying at Walla Walla High School this year, will attend a weeklong workshop conducted by American Councils for International Education and American Civics Center because of funding he was awarded.

The event is in late February in Washington D.C., designed for 100 Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study/YES students studying in the United States.

Valter vied for a spot through a competitive application process in which he wrote an essay describing what problems exist in his home country and what changes he’d like to see or implement, said Darcy Dauble with Walla Walla Valley AFS.

Participants will jump into in a series of events and activities “designed to increase their knowledge of U.S. government and build their capacities and commitment to community service when they return to their own countries,” Darcy said.

Valter will also see firsthand the institutions of American government, including visits to members of Congress and a discussion with policy makers at the State Department.

Valter, who hails from Nampula City, Mozambique, speaks English, Portuguese and a native tribal language.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the YES program provides scholarships for secondary school students ages 15-17 from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend one academic year in the United States. YES is a sponsored program of AFS-USA Intercultural.

AFS-USA is accepting host family applications in the Walla Walla Valley for 2014-15. High school slots are available for AFS students in Walla Walla, Waitsburg and Dayton.

Although students do not arrive before August, families interested in hosting can begin the application process now.

Thousands of young people around the world are moving through the AFS and sponsored programs process and are available for placement.

Learn more about hosting here or contact local AFS volunteer Linnea Keatts at 525-0049 or ljkeatts@q.com.

Participants are carefully matched, and volunteers are always on hand to make sure families and students have the support and tools needed for a positive experience, Darcy said.

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