Home doesn’t have just one name: lessons from a youth exchange

Rotary Youth Exchange students from several countries in Paris.

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

Rotarian hospitality builds peace

Fanny Meurisee, left, with a host Rotarian in front of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota, USA.

By Fanny Meurisse, pursuing an advanced engineering degree in Lille, France

During my third year at ICAM, an advanced engineering school in France, my coursework required me to carry out a three-month experiment in a foreign country. I planned to do it by myself in Canada and in the United States, stopping in 21 cities between June and September 2011.

Three weeks before my departure, I still had not found contacts in 11 of those cities that could host me for a few days between legs of my cross-country bus journey. Continue reading