Seven teenagers, their parents, representatives from sponsoring clubs, Rotexers and the Youth Exchange Committee came together for the final event in the preparation for the 2018 exchange year.
Excited, anxious with perhaps a few second thoughts the parents sat and waited for the program to start while the youth exchange students gathered together and chatted as old friends do. They have already formed a close bond and that will only strengthen as they support each other through the joys and tribulations of being a student in a country where they don’t speak the language and where they will live with three or four different families.
The day brought insights from Lucy, who completed her exchange in France. Lucy spoke with poise and confidence about her year giving a frank and honest description of the ups and downs experienced at school and with the host families. Her parents, who provided their lessons from the year gave parents a head start on what is to come and some ideas on how to cope when there is a problem and your child is thousands of kilometres away. They expressed great pride in Lucy’s development as a confident and thoughtful young person.
There were talks on insurance, participation in school, the monthly report to the country coordinator, and the forms to fill in when you want to travel until finally the time came for the blazer presentation.
Each student was accompanied to the stage by the country coordinator and a representative from the sponsoring Rotary club. The student made a presentation in two languages, first in the language of their new host country and then the same talk was given in English. At the end of the talk the student was presented with his/her green blazer, was congratulated by DG Peter Frueh and posed for photos and then more photos individually and in groups. Imagine the badges those blazers will display when they return in 13 months.
From now until Saturday the 13th January the students have time for family, friends and final preparations. There will probably before a few sleepless nights leading up to the flight and then tears for some at Tullamarine, before they head off for what will be both the best and most challenging year in their young lives.
Congratulations to the students and their sponsoring clubs!
|Student||Host Country||Sponsoring Rotary Club|
|SPAIN||Laverton Point Cook|
|Aden Gartly||FINLAND||Glen Eira|
|Taylor Jones-Wilson||SWITZERLAND||Bacchus Marsh|
|Alexander (AJ) McConville||GERMANY||Flemington|
|Matthew Woolley||DENMARK||Bacchus Marsh|
Pictured from Left to right are:Mathew, AJ, Taylor, Aden, Ada, Maeve and Tahlia