Latin American students visiting Marquette area

Teenagers from Central America and the Caribbean are spending a week in the Upper Peninsula. As ABC 10 News Now senior reporter Mike Hoey reports, the U.S. government is paying for their trip.

Twenty-eight high school students and adult advisors from Latin America are touring the Marquette area. They’ve come from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

“We really want to make a change in our countries, even if we are very different, from different cultures, so here we are to know about leadership,” Sara Margarita Lopez from Guatemala City, Guatemala said.

The trip is part of the Central American Youth Ambassadors program. The U.S. State Department pays for the program to help prepare young people to make a difference in their home communities.

“We have a lot of problems there,” Sara said. “We have violence; we’re losing our nature.”

Program coordinators in each country choose groups of students to visit NMU each year. “They try to get a diversity of social, economical levels, as well as doing well in school, as well as maybe not having an opportunity to travel abroad otherwise,” NMU program coordinator Corey Engelhart said.

The students were learning about entrepreneurship Thursday morning. Garden Bouquet and Design, the U.P. Children’s Museum and the Marquette Food Co-Op made presentations to them about how they each do business and what makes their organizations unique.

“I really was impressed with the snow,” Sara said. “There are other classmates that are from other parts of the country that’s really hot, so they were kind of freezing here!”

The students and advisors are staying with host families. They arrived Wednesday night and they’ll be in the area through next Wednesday.