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Youth from 12 countries in Great Bend Saturday
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 The City of Great Bend announced Thursday afternoon that Great Bend will be a featured city for a group of 16-20 different foreign exchange students from all around the country, Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said. 

On Saturday, the foreign high school students from the region will come to Great Bend and explore the Christmas festivities. The itinerary for the youth features ice skating, visiting Santa’s Around the World, downtown shopping, lunch, a bonfire and other activities. 

“We have youth from Italy, Ecuador, Thailand, France, Slovakia, Brazil, Vietnam, Czech Republic, Mexico, Germany, China, and students from America, which are host siblings to the foreign exchange students,”  said Jenny Shelton, the area representative for International Student Exchange program. As their rep, she likes to get them all together once a month and explore area communities for different experiences. 

“We do things that the kids have never done before, like lunch in Great Bend will be Burger King because the countries these kids are from don’t have them and the kids have requested to try it,” Shelton said.

The youth all stay in different communities with different families, but sometimes their host families aren’t able to get out and about, so it’s beneficial for all of them to get together monthly, exchange experiences and create new ones together, Shelton said. “If there are community members who would like to come meet these different students, we would love the visit.” 

The plan for the weekend is they will roll into Great Bend around 10:30 a.m., go ice skating at 11, eat lunch around noon, vist Santa’s Around the World at 1 p.m., shop downtown from 2-4 p.m., then go back to the hotel for swimming and relaxation before heading to a Rush Center farm for a hot dog roast and bonfire with another ISE leader. They will come back to Great Bend around 9 p.m. for a tour of the Trail of Lights. 

“ISE is a great organization and Great Bend is happy to have groups like this visiting our community,” Hayes said. For more information on the organization, foreign exchange students or the plans for the day contact Jnny Shelton at 785-658-5821 or Hayes at 620-793-4111.