Anthony Incardona and Augusto Marino have swapped countries and seasons for a school year as part of Payson Rotary's exchange student program.
Incardona, of Payson, traveled to Brazil to spend his senior year in the city of Votuporanga, while Marino came from Brazil to study in Payson.
"School here is very different," Incardona said. "You go to school from 7:15 to 12:15 and only have three classes a day. Every class for the week you have different teachers. This way you don't get sick of your teachers. I only thing I don't care for is the classes are extremely long..."
Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, the largest country in South America.
"The language ... hum ... well, it is very difficult. To me it sounds like many languages put together. I am learning the language, unfortunately very slowly," said Incardona.
Although Marino's mother is a private English tutor, he said he still finds school here difficult.
The hardest class here is chemistry Marino said.
"I can understand English much better than I can speak it," he said. "It helps if people talk slower."
Marino said he wants to become a biologist or another kind of scientist for his life's work.
Each student may still have to take one more semester of school in their respective homeland in order to graduate. But neither would have missed the opportunity to be a foreign exchange student for the world.
The things that teenagers in Votuporanga do for fun are a bit different than in Payson.
"They go out all the time to different parties and discos," said Incardona.
Marino said he and his friends hung out all the time, going to parties and going to the cinema (movies).
"I like action movies and I like to read. I like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter."
Everything about Brazil has impressed Incardona so far --the city, the girls, and piranhas.
"I wouldn't say I don't like the food," he added. "It's taking time to adjust. I do think that beans and rice are a good combination."
Marino misses Brazilian barbecue, but not more than his girlfriend, Debora.
Marino had never seen an American football game before coming here because soccer is the sport of choice in Brazil.
He is looking forward to seeing snow for the first time.
Students and people in Payson have been friendly and welcoming, according to Marino.
His host parents, Rose and Dan Hill say, "He is a very conscientious young man." The couple has eight children.
Mary, their 2-year-old, was very reserved.
"One day she came and sat next to Augusto while he was playing the piano," Rose Hill said. "They both left the piano bench, but a little bit later, Mary got back on the piano bench. She patted the piano bench and said, ‘come here, sit,'" Hill said. "Augusto got so excited. He said, ‘Look, she wants me to play the piano with her!'"
"My host family is very nice and very small," said Incardona.
"My host mom's name is Maria, dad's name is José, and my sister's name is Zulaiê Breviglieri. She is 16."
Leona Bowman said it is just a month since her son Anthony left. She is proud he decided to go even though she misses him.
Miriam Marino expressed similar sentiments.
Both women know their children are experiencing the opportunity of a lifetime.
There will be a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27 in the PHS library for students who are interested in the Rotary student exchange program. Their parents are welcome, too.
Applications to become a foreign exchange student for the 2006-2007 school years are due Dec. 1.
Name: Augusto Ludvik Filip Marino
Occupation: Senior at Payson High School
Birthplace: Barretos, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Family: Miriam, mother, Francisco, father, Lillian, sister, 25 Francisco, brother, 23.
Inspiration: My grandparents who came from the Czech Republic to Brazil.
Greatest feat: I finished nine years of piano lessons.
Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Playing piano. In Brazil it takes 9 years to earn a certificate. My favorite composer is Beethoven and one of my favorite pieces is Moonlight Sonata.
One word that describes me best is: Friendly. ("Kind, intelligent and interested," Miriam Marino. "Thoughtful, considerate and optimistic," Rose Hill exchange parent.)
The person in history I'd most like to meet is: Albert Einstein
Place you'd most like to visit in the world: Egypt.
Why Payson? Arizona Rotary has accepted me as an exchange student and I'm very happy to have this opportunity to learn about the language, customs and culture of another country.