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Purdue Hosting High Schoolers from U.S., 45 European Countries
Kansas Ag Connection - 07/09/2019

Purdue University's College of Education is hosting 55 top high school age scholars from the United States and 45 European countries on campus for the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute (BFTI).

The institute is an intensive academic exchange program with a focus on global issues for 16-18-year-olds who were chosen through a rigorous selection process. It runs through July 27.

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute is a U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program designed to foster relationships and build strong linkages and awareness of shared values among future leaders.

"Our goal with the institute is to introduce fellows to Benjamin Franklin's ideas and legacy," said Anatoli Rapoport, BFTI program director and associate professor of social studies education.

The scholars will take classes on campus, engage in community service and participate in social and cultural events. They will discuss important issues in global and transatlantic politics, mass media, global citizenship and community service.

While fellows stay in a residence hall at the beginning of the institute, one highlight for many of the students is the homestay in which they will live with a Lafayette-area family for 10 days (July 13-22). Host families are responsible for providing hospitality and room and board, and transporting the exchange students to and from campus each day. Many host families will take the scholars to Tippecanoe County events and sites and, in the case of European students, introduce them to family life in America.

"This is our fourth year hosting four young men. We've had a wonderful experience hosting these remarkable fellows from all over the U.S. and Europe," said Kat Braz, a BFTI host.

"Some of our favorite experiences are discovering -- and at times dispelling -- preconceptions they have about Americans. It's fun to find ways to share quintessential American experiences, such as sitting at a lunch counter at Triple XXX, attending a baseball game or watching a movie at the drive-in."

Scholars enjoyed fireworks in downtown Lafayette on Independence Day and will take a day trip to Chicago this week.

The institute wraps up with a road trip to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., to visit American historical sites and museums, and see a hit Broadway musical at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center.

"Through all of the interactive classes, workshops, activities and the cultivation of relationships, the Ben Franklin scholars will develop a sense of global citizenship to help them influence policy and organize community projects at home," Rapoport said.

"We look forward to the impact these young leaders will make in their communities and beyond."

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