Rotary Offers a Golden Ticket

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Exchange students learn to surf on a California beach. Barbara Lauritzen
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Every year, The Tualatin Rotary Club offers a chance of a lifetime for a Tualatin High School student. Youth Exchange is a school year-long travel opportunity. One student is selected to spend a high school year in another country. The experience is a chance to immerse a student in a new environment. The TuHS traveler will learn a new language, a new culture, and experience self-growth that is widely known as genuine leadership training. 

Rotary is the safest exchange experience in the world. Students are sponsored by Rotary clubs in their new city. They live with three different families and attend school with local young people. The local club sponsors the student and provides a monthly stipend to cover school costs and other activity fees. Youth Exchange is a plus on college applications. It is well regarded as a unique learning experience. 

Inbound Youth Exchange Students at the Coast. High Schoolers from all over the world meet and greet each other. Barbara Lauritzen

This year, the Tualatin Rotary Club is sponsoring an incoming student from Turkey. He has been immersed in high school activities and academics. He has traveled to the Coast for a welcome in-service weekend. He took “the best trip of his life” with other exchange students in the state. He rode a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, learned to surf at Monterey Beach and he met Mickey at Disneyland. He has met other high school students from all over the world while living in Oregon. He interacts with students at Tualatin High School and many other school districts in the State. He is gaining skills in English and overall confidence in his abilities. 

Former exchange students have credited the experience as life-changing. They are ambassadors of their own countries and the world. They return home with an international viewpoint. They are our best hope for peaceful resolution of conflict in this ever-changing world Exchange students have opportunities that most high school students can only dream of. They gain a worldview that benefits them for a lifetime. 

In addition to this personal growth, most exchange students acquire a second family. Rotary host families are not paid to house students. They welcome each high schooler as a temporary member of their family. When they travel, the exchange student is often invited. Tualatin Rotary members have taken exchange students to the East Coast, rafting in Oregon, up to Seattle, and beyond. A true bond is made and for several students, it lasts a lifetime. Many students stay in contact and even visit their host families years after their exchange has ended.  

If you know a high school student that is looking for an extraordinary learning opportunity, tell them about Rotary Exchange. The Tualatin Club will hold an informational workshop at the high school this Spring. Students usually go abroad in their junior year. There is a great big world full of discoveries waiting for the next TuHS student. The Tualatin Rotary Club is ready to open the door to international travel.

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