By Brian Rocha, a member of the Rotary Club of Goleta, California, and District 5240 Public Relations Chair
I’ve done a bit of traveling in my life. But recently, I got an urge to turn my travel experience into something much more rewarding. I wanted to travel not just to travel, but to make an impact and make a difference in the world.
I pitched the idea to my Rotary club and Rotary International, and they were in full support. Support in terms of moral support. I financed the trip myself. So last year, I began an eight month journey visiting several different countries around the world, capturing pictures and video throughout the experience. Continue reading →
Members of the recently chartered Rotary Club of Plaza Matriz in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo courtesy of Erin Mills
By Erin Mills, Rotary Scholar and charter member of the Rotary Club of Plaza Matriz in Montevideo, Uruguay
A little over six years ago, I packed my luggage and boarded a plane for Montevideo, Uruguay, as an Ambassadorial Scholar from Arizona, USA, to that tiny corner of the world I now call home. It’s where I teach future English language educators at the University of Montevideo, where I teach middle school children from around the world at the American International School, and where 24 young professionals and I are taking Rotary into the next generation. Continue reading →
By Augusto La Colla, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Villa Regina, Argentina, to Muenster, Germany
Through my Interact club in Argentina, I learned of an opportunity last year to go on a Rotary Youth Exchange to Muenster, Germany. I want to echo what others have said on this blog, that Youth Exchange is an unforgettable experience.
I had the pleasure of staying with two families in Germany — the Kirchhoffs and Beikers — and I consider both part of my family. Getting to know the German culture, to be a part of it, and to be immersed in it, I developed a new appreciation for my home country, and the world beyond. It made me realize just how amazing this world is, and gave me a desire to work to make the world a better place. Continue reading →
Victoria Alvarez and other youth exchange students during their trip to the West Coast of the United States.
By Victoria Alvarez, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Argentina to the United States
Most of you have probably heard of Rotary Youth Exchange, and maybe some of you have even been involved with the program. I recently completed my exchange year in the United States, and wanted to share the perspective of someone who has just taken part in one.
I come from Argentina, a little country on the edge of South America that you may have heard of recently because of the World Cup. It is in many ways very different from the United States. In signing up for an exchange to America, I stepped out alone into a culture unlike any I had experienced, in an unfamiliar environment, in a house I did not know, to live with people I did not know. Leaving behind family, friends, and most of what was familiar. Continue reading →
Darren Luong, left, and Matt Pomeroy receive certificates from District 7090 for their work with youth service.
By Darren Luong, a member of the E-Club of Southern Ontario, Canada & Western New York
Sixteen years ago, as a student at Cardinal Heights Middle School in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, I received an award from the local Rotary club at my graduation. I didn’t know what Rotary was or even why I had received the award. Time went by and it was forgotten at the bottom of some boxes packed away.
Eight years later, I was sponsored to go to a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event in my district. This life-changing week and the support from Rotary throughout my life has convinced me that this organization is full of amazing people that can really change the world for the better. Continue reading →
By Dr. Mona Khanna, a former Rotary Group Study Exchange fellow
If you were at the 2014 RI Convention in Sydney, Australia, this week, you may have seen the sticker “Future Rotarian” on some badges. Chances are the badges belonged to members of Rotaract and/or delegates to the 2014 International Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) development program. Continue reading →
Rotary Youth Exchange students from several countries in Paris.
Elizabeth, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from District 6080 (Missouri, USA) to France
I used to think that the sky only stretched on for as far as I could see, and then where my vision became blurred, the world ceased to exist.
I used to think that happiness came from surrounding myself with things that brought me comfort. I used to think the best friends I would ever have were the ones I’d known forever. I used to think that in order to call someone family meant they had to be related by blood. And I used to think that home only had one name. Continue reading →
By Sarah Maingi, Rotaract representative from Kenya
On a warm Saturday morning in April, about 100 Rotaractors from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi gathered at a community in Buterere in Bujumbura, Burundi, to provide households with clean drinking water.
Some of the Rotaractors, myself included, had traveled over 1,000 kilometers by road, and all sacrificed their Easter holidays to serve. Continue reading →
By Denise DiNoto, Rotary Club of Colonie-Guilderland, New York, USA
In August 1990, I left my hometown in rural upstate New York, for a year as an exchange student to Tasmania, Australia. The experience helped shape my adult life, as it has for many other exchange students. However, my situation was unique because I was one of the first students with a mobility impairment to participate in Rotary Youth Exchange.
RI Director Celia Elena Cruz De Giay (left) and RI President Ron Burton recognize Lucia Gomez Garcia during the Presidential New Generations Conference in Rosario, Argentina.
By RI Director Celia Elena Cruz De Giay, Rotary Club of Arrecifes, Buenos Aires, Argentina
When RI President Ron Burton asked me to convene one of his five Presidential New Generations Conferences, I was thrilled with the idea. I know firsthand the potential our youth represent, especially after accompanying my husband, Luis Vicente, as President of Rotary International in 1996-97, as we took part in 21 Presidential Conferences for New Generations around the world that year. Luis’ vision for youth set the stage for Rotary International’s support of New Generations and the creation of Rotary clubs composed of young people.