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Friendship goes the distance: B'ville woman gets visit from four Swiss friends

Four Swiss women spent three weeks in Baldwinsville visiting India Dancil, whom they met when Dancil went on exchange in Switzerland Back row: Ebru Erdas, India Dancil and Cindy Vaucher. Seated: Danae Nicolet and Danielle Tchakaunte.

When India Dancil left Switzerland in July 2009 after studying abroad there for nearly a year, she said a tearful goodbye to her four good friends and politely invited them to visit her in the United States.

"I was so sad," Dancil said. "We didn't know when we were going to see each other again, and it didn't seem realistic that they were actually going to come here."

But in January 2010, she got a phone call. Her friend Danielle Tchakaunte was on the other end of the line -- and she wanted to know when the group of four could book their plane tickets to the United States.

An ecstatic Dancil and her family met them at JFK International Airport on June 20, then brought the four 18 year olds back to Baldwinsville to spend three weeks there.

The four Swiss women met Dancil in class at school, where Dancil was studying abroad through the Rotary International program, with Rotary District 7150. Alone in a French-speaking country, it was these girls who helped her adjust.

"They taught me everything I needed to know when I was in Switzerland: how to get around, how to survive, a little bit of everyday slang language," Dancil said.

Now, it was her turn to return the favor.

Having had two subpar experiences and one great experience with Swiss host families, Dancil understood what makes the difference between the two.

She and her family tried to give her friends a wide range of experiences, taking them to Niagara Falls, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Museum of Science and Technology, Onondaga Lake Park, Six Flags and Lock 24. The women particularly enjoyed shopping at the mall, because there aren't large shopping centers in Switzerland.

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