Twenty-three Phoenix high school students were selected as youth ambassadors to travel to Phoenix’s sister cities through a reciprocal summer student exchange program.

Among them were three North Central Phoenix residents. Seth Carroll of Sunnsylope High will travel to Catania, Italy; Ryan Fetherston of Arizona School for the Arts is heading to Himeji, Japan; and Laurel Freeman of Arizona School for the Arts will be traveling to Hermosillo, Mexico.

The Youth Ambassador Exchange Program, sponsored by Phoenix Sister Cities, Inc., offers young people from around the world an opportunity to learn firsthand about each other’s cultures.

“This is a life changing experience for our youth that opens their minds to different cultures and prepares them for the global society we live in,” said Paula West, executive director, Phoenix Sister Cities. “Many of our past youth ambassadors have pursued international careers based on their experiences in this program.”

Phoenix resident high school sophomores and juniors are selected on the basis of their communication skills, maturity, flexibility, leadership and self-confidence. The students live with a host family in their designated sister cities for three weeks during the early summer and then open their home to their host family’s son or daughter when they come to Phoenix in late July. No city tax dollars are used.

The 2014 program is funded through private donations and students’ families. Phoenix Sister Cities funds half of the airfare between Phoenix and the selected sister city through private funds, while the remaining half is the responsibility of the youth ambassadors and their families. Scholarships are also available.

For more information, call 480-635-6861 or visit


Hello, North Central neighbor — thank you for visiting!

Sign up to receive our digital issue in your inbox each month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.