The program began in the 1940s as a way for Georgia Rotary clubs to serve students across the globe by providing access to the state university system, allowing them to have one free year of instruction at a Georgia college and having a "home away from home" through a local host family.
"This is not a national Rotary program, but was grandfathered into the state of Georgia," said Bill Strickland, Bartow Rotary club trustee and student liaison.
According to its website, "In the years since the inception of the program, over 2,700 young men and women, from more than 78 countries, have been brought to the campuses of Georgia by its Rotarians."
The students first came to Georgia in the late summer to begin school shortly thereafter, meeting their host family before becoming engrossed in the American college life on campuses across the state.
Frankie Johnson and his wife, Kelley, are members of the Bartow County Rotary Club and are acting as a first-time host family.
"We have two daughters and have been familiar with the program for some time," Johnson said. "We had talked about (hosting) and felt it was a good opportunity for our children to learn about different cultures."
The Johnson's are hosting 20-year-old Caroline Potter from Odense, Denmark.
Johnson said although Potter has been in Georgia since late summer, she has since moved into a dorm at Kennesaw State University. And, like a typical college student, she doesn't come home every weekend.
"These kids are so busy and so involved," Johnson said. "But if they don't have something to do, they'll come and visit."
Potter said having a host family makes studying abroad a much more enjoyable experience.
"You get to know people in a different way," Potter said. "(GRSP) is more than just studying abroad, it's like you have a second family here. When we came to the Atlanta airport, I felt like I was home already because I had been talking to my host family, and they were very nice."
"Caroline has fit in just like a pea in a pod," Johnson said.
Potter said although there have been cultural differences and taboos she has experienced, the majority of people she has met in the area have been "very hospitable and open-minded."
"There are very small things I've noticed, like people holding doors open for each other," Potter said.
The Johnsons will open their home to around six students this weekend as the GRSP explores Bartow history.
Johnson said the host families and students from across the state will meet tonight at the Cartersville Country Club for dinner then will go back for visiting at the hosts' homes.
On Saturday, the students and host families will experience local flavor through the Booth Western Art Museum and the Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum.
"We're looking for students who will go back home and tell about the Rotary," Strickland said.
Johnson and Strickland said students chosen for the program must excel academically.
Strickland said the main purpose of the program is to place students from different parts of the world together and simply "take politics out of it."
Potter said meeting students from other countries has been a great experience.
"I've made a lot of friends and we're all quite different," Potter said. "It has been really interesting and really good to meet so many different people and see so many different places."
Potter has not only had the opportunity to travel throughout the state, but said she and others involved in GRSP have traveled to Florida, New York and Washington, D.C.
"We want (GRSP participants) to realize they're just kids and that everything doesn't have to be political," Strickland said. "Person to person, you usually don't have problems. If you bring politics into it, you can create problems."
The Rotary clubs of Bartow County, Cartersville and Etowah participate in the program.