The American Exchange Project aims to let high school graduates learn more about their country, although the pandemic meant some of it was online -- hundreds of students took part in about 500 virtual discussions from early 2019 to early 2021. During the pilot program, 20 students traveled to four different locations, in California, Texas, Louisiana and Massachusetts. Plans call for the next exchange to involve about 40 communities and as many as 250 teenagers. The program, free for students, is funded by community foundations, individual donors and communities. Because you're around people who are your age, you hear a lot of points of view, but since they're your age, you're more apt to listen, says one participant.

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