By Logan Johnson, Youth Exchange and Youth Protection Promotions and Engagement Specialist at Rotary International
A few years ago, volunteers of the Rotary Youth Exchange program were sending thousands of students around the globe each year to learn new languages, discover new cultures, and become global citizens. Then COVID-19 brought almost every aspect of the program to a screeching halt. Like many other aspects of Rotary, the program found new life online with virtual exchanges, which offered a safe alternative to in-person exchanges.
But many anticipated the return of in-person exchanges, and as of May 2022 in-person exchanges were planned and are happening worldwide for the first time in over two years!
By Anniela Carracedo, member of the Rotary Club of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, USA, and a Rotary Youth Exchange Alumna
When I decided to become a Rotary Youth Exchange student, I had no idea how much it would change my life and the lives of everyone around me.
In 2017, I was invited to the Interact Club of Valencia, Venezuela, following my parents, who joined the Rotary Club of Valencia. I joined the club because I wanted to make a difference in my local community. I had seen Venezuela go from being one of the healthiest countries in Latin America to experiencing one of the worst humanitarian and economic crises in the modern world.
By Mona Mousa, past president of Rotaract Stockholm and its international representative
I don’t have a professional background in social media management, but I have managed several social media accounts such as Rotaract Stockholm and Rotaract Oceania. In advance of the Global Citizen Live event in Paris in September, the rest of my team decided I should handle the Rotary Instagram page, as they have followed me for a long time.
It was an exciting and a scary opportunity because there are thousands of followers, but I went in with an open mind.
By Tamara Gojkovic, past president and treasurer of the Rotaract Club of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Before I joined Rotary, I had only heard of it by name. I didn’t know anything more. Then one of the assistants at my university asked if I’d want to join their club. He noticed how active I was at university and with several nongovernmental organizations, and he thought Rotaract would be a great fit for me. I’m really grateful he did, because that created a whole new part of my life. That was almost four years ago now.