Students struggle with work exchange

NORTH BEND - Ligia Faria said when she signed up for an exchange program that would allow the Brazilian college student to spend her summer vacation working and exploring America, she didn't expect to be jobless, homeless and virtually penniless a month into the adventure.

"Since we've been here we've had trouble," said the 20-year-old Faria.

Faria is among a group of 28 South American students who came to North Bend in mid-December as part of a work-and-travel exchange set up by the 25-year-old Intrax Work/Travel company of San Francisco. Last week Faria found herself with just 24 hours left in the one-bedroom apartment she was sharing with three other program participants, who all find themselves out of work and living hand-to-mouth.

"I thought I'd be living in a place near where I worked, and I didn't think transportation would be a problem," said roommate Maria Cecelia Abrao, 20, of Brazil.

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