Twin sisters from Ponte Vedra Beach are spending the next academic year in different countries as participants of the Rotary Youth Exchange program.
Katie and Maggie Frantz, both students at Ponte Vedra High School, left for their respective adventures last week. Katie will be in Joinville, Brazil, while Maggie will be in Vienna, Austria. Both are sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach.
“Every year, we’ve heard this assembly,” Katie said. “I think this year, it just clicked with us both. I came home, and I was like, “Maggie, I want to go on Exchange.” And she said, “Really? Me too!”
Maggie added, “Definitely like a twin telepathy moment.”
Katie explained that participants of the program submit a list of five countries of interest that is taken into consideration by Rotary. Her sister, Maggie, was ultimately sent to her No. 1 choice. Although Katie was surprised to be sent to Brazil, she has become more and more excited about the location.
“You sign up knowing that you can get whatever country,” Katie said. “You don’t choose the country. The country chooses you. I’m really excited.”
Katie and Maggie will each be staying with three different host families over the course of the academic year. They plan to stay in touch via FaceTime, texting and social media. The twins also plan to partner on a blog on YouTube.
Katie is most looking forward to a special adventure at the end of her trip.
“I’m looking forward to a trip down the Amazon river for 10 days in a boat,” she said. “Not everybody gets to say they’ve done that.”
Maggie, on the other hand, is generally excited to learn about her new country.
“I’m just so excited to learn the culture of Vienna and learn what it means to be an Austrian and to experience real snow and a real winter, not like the winters here,” she joked.
For more information on Rotary Youth Exchange, visit https://www.rotary.org/en/our-programs/youth-exchanges.