It’s time to get passports. Eight Northfield High School seniors and one student from Arcadia were recently notified of their placements for the 2023-24 Rotary Youth Exchange year.


They are: Alexander Casson (Germany), Allison Huang (Japan), Hannah Hulett (Spain), Cullen Merritt (Brazil), Svea Morrell (Italy), Margaret Muth (Spain), Ben Paulsen (Italy), Luke Redetzke (Finland), and Yamileth Torres Huerta (Brazil). 

Jesse Steed, Northfield Rotary’s Youth Exchange Officer, said spending a year abroad is a once in a lifetime experience. It gives students an opportunity to travel, experience different cultures and learn about their own strengths and interests. 

“It is a transformational experience,” he said, “one that often profoundly influences future educational and vocational plans.”

Since 1969 when Rotary’s youth exchange program began, Northfield has sent 285 students overseas. With this next cohort, the number will be 294. Another nine were accepted for an outbound experience for 2020-21, but their year was canceled due to COVID. 

Over that same period of time, Northfield Rotary has hosted 118 inbound exchange students. Currently five inbounds are staying with host families in Northfield.  

For some of the 2023-24 cohort, this will be their first time abroad. Others have traveled and spent time in other countries with their families. A common theme among them is their desire to expand their understanding of the larger world and their understanding of themselves. They look forward to the cultural immersion Rotary youth exchange offers. 

Maggie Muth, who is headed to Spain, said she looks forward to experiencing another culture from the inside out. “I want to live with a family, eat homemade meals, learn the language, and admire the country,” she said. “I want the chance to compare the country to America, and understand how the world works in places other than where I'm from.”

Svea Morrell is looking forward to her year in Italy. Hearing her mother talk about her exchange experience as a college student whetted Svea’s appetite for youth exchange. She is eager to learn about other cultures and people.  

“To be able to fully integrate myself into a foreign country is such an amazing opportunity to experience the world,” Svea said. 

Northfield Rotary is known in Rotary circles for its robust exchange program. It thrives, in large part, because of the local families who volunteer to host inbound students. Three host families are required to support one inbound student. 

Jesse Steed said host families are the lifeblood of the exchange program. Without them, Northfield would not have the benefit of meeting and learning from the inbound students who come from all corners of the world. If anyone is interested in participating as a host family, contact Jesse Steed at: