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Catherine McClure - Rotary Exchange Program

July 1, 2016

C McClure
All it took was a young woman active in MAU Interact to ask the question, "Would members of the Bennington Rotary Club support her application for a Rotary International Youth Exchange?. Consultation with members of our Youth Vocational Committee and our Rotary Board members replied with a resounding yes.

MAU student and Pownal resident, Tara Hall, had participated in the last Interact trip to Nicaragua. This trip strengthened her desire to learn more about international opportunities. As a Spanish language student at MAU, she hoped to experience a student exchange in South America or Spain. As Tara and her family considered the exchange options, they choose the ESSEX Rotary Short Term Exchange. It didn't take long to have her application accepted.

Tara's exchange student, Clara, will soon arrive from Spain. She will stay with Tara and her family for three weeks, and then, in mid July, Tara will fly with Clara to Spain where she will stay with Clara and her family for three weeks. Both young women are scheduled as speakers for our July 1st Rotary Meeting. Please be sure to attend this meeting to welcome Clara and learn about Spain. The ESSEX Rotary website is very informative, and worth exploring, as our Rotary members are pleased to be once again participating in Youth Exchange. "Every year, about 8,000 young people from around the world participate in Rotary's Youth Exchange Program." This is a terrific opportunity to learn a new language and experience the culture in another country.

"As an unofficial ambassador for Rotary, our community and our country, these students bring the world closer together while making lifetime friends." Rotary's Short-Term Exchange presents opportunities for students to advance their knowledge and world understanding by allowing them to visit a different country for a limited period of time. Participating students live with a matched host family in their selected country from three to six weeks in the summer under the sponsorship of a local Rotary Club."

"The objective of the Short-Term Exchange Program is to foster world peace, international understanding and good will by extending international communication at the personal level through the exchange of students of high school age. It is our hope that these students will be able to see firsthand the problems and accomplishments of other peoples of different colors, creeds, and cultures. Being away in a foreign country has a powerful broadening and an accelerating effect on a student's maturing process." As Tara shares her experiences with other students, members of the Youth Vocational Committee will follow through with their commitment to speak to Interact students about the short Term Exchanges. We hope many other students will participate!

Author: Sally Sugarman (Club Member & Windmill Editor)

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