The Mining Journal Marquette
---- — Living in the far north of the United States can isolate students from other areas of the world, and vice versa — students from faraway locations don't often visit the Upper Peninsula, especially in winter.
An international program Northern Michigan University is involved in is helping to change that scenario.
The Youth Ambassadors Program brought a group of about 20 students from across Central America to the Marquette area ... for a cultural exchange.
The program, offered in conjunction with Georgetown University and the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, aims to expose young people from other countries to local leadership and entrepreneurship.
Included in the stops for the group were local schools and businesses, as well as spending a good part of a day volunteering at the Marquette St. Vincent DePaul Store.
Several of the students — who hailed from Honduras, El Salvador, Panama and the Dominican Republic — said they didn't have the type of community service store as St. Vinnie's, and they looked forward to bringing the concept back to their home countries.
The visitors also got to be exposed to some winter outdoor activities in such strange things as snow, cold and piles of clothing — all aspects of life that are absent in their native Central America.
Local residents also reap the benefits of interaction with young members of a different culture, which is always good in light of the more global world we live in.
Marquette is the most rural of stops on the group's tour of the U.S., with the students leaving earlier ... for Miami, having already been to Albany, N.Y., and Washington, D.C.
It's good for the community to have NMU involved in this program, and hopefully the area will play host to other groups of young people in the future.