By Albert Countryman Jr.
Maria Zuluaga of Colombia said goodbye to her friends, host family and members of the Gloucester City Rotary Club during a party June 14.
She had lived the past 10 months at the home of Jack and Linda Dilks as part of the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program.
"I have enjoyed my stay. Things are a little different compared to my country. It has been a great experience. I appreciate the kindness of the Dilks' family," Maria said.
She has one more year of high school in Colombia, and hopes to attend a major university – where she wants to major in veterinary medicine.
During her stay Maria became friends of Moegi Hatte of Japan, who was staying with the Finn family in Collingswood; and Yunn Lin Wong of Brooklawn, who was born in Malaysia.
"It's been an awesome year for me," said Moegi, who was going to return to Japan on July 9. The United States "is very different than Japan. I enjoyed learning English."
Moegi attended Collingswood High School, and was introduced to many different cultures.
"It is mostly Japanese that live in Japan," she said.
"Maria was one of my best friends at Gloucester High," Yunn Lin said. "Being here is absolutely different. I miss Malaysia."
She hopes to visit in the summer of 2009.
It is hard to say goodbye, but these three international students will still stay in touch with each other via email.
Meanwhile, they were all thankful to become friends.
Source Gloucester City News July 10th