My Experience in the Rotary Exchange Student Program
This lens is a place to gather information and comments on what it is like to be a Rotary Exchange Student.
I'll share my experiences as an exchange student for Rotary International in Sao Paulo, Brasil. (no it is spelled right, at least there!)
There are other exchange programs too. It would be nice to hear from any of who who served as 'ambassadors' to other countries.
Please feel free to comment on your experience!
The photos on this lens are mine unless otherwise noted.
Sao Paolo, Brasil - Club 461
In 1982, I boarded a plane from Idaho and flew to Sao Paolo, Brasil via Miami and maybe a stop over in Rio? Can't remember so long ago. What I remember is the group of kids I met on the plane and arriving a whole day later in a foreign country. I was very lucky. I had a great family. The father was American so there was some English spoken in the home. This helped in being able to learn the language without so much stress. Although my friends who were totally immersed seemed to speak better Portuguese in the end with better accents etc. But it was great. I lived with this family in a high rise apartment/condo. I had my own bedroom and shared the bathroom with only one brother.
We went to Colegio Rio Branco every day for school. All the exchange students would meet up and sometimes we would run around town and explore. I wouldn't say that we were really expected to participate a lot in school. That was the only thing. But we participated in LIFE in Sao Paolo! I learned so much I would never learn in Idaho. Imagine from a town of 921 to MILLIONS!! WOO HOO!
As long as we fulfilled our requirements we sort of were able to do what we wanted to. So we went to the required classes, weekly Rotary meetings where we had to be prepared to give presentations at the lunches. This really prepared me for my education career. Can you imagine a teenager having to prepare weekly presentations to business owners? !!!! And even in 95 degree weather and 100% humidity still wearing a jacket and tie. WHEW!
The best part of the whole experience was learning about other parts of the world and living in Brasil. There were about 80 exchange students in Sao Paolo at about any time. So, the world became a much smaller place. Too bad we didn't have the internet back then to keep in touch. Over time our names have changed through marriage, we just moved one too many times or just went in different directions.
Wouldn't it be great if some old friend reconnected through this?
Rotary Exchange Student Jacket
A great networking tool!
See the jacket in the text box above that I am wearing? Well, this is one of the best parts of being a Rotary Exchange Student. Some people were able to get jackets from their local club but I just used my band jacket from Wood River High School.
What happens is that each student has pins from their own country town etc and you exchange them when you meet up. I got IDAHO Potato buttons from the Idaho Potato Commission. Everyone who met me that year got an idaho Spud to proudly wear on their own jacket!
As you can see I am covered with buttons from all over the world and of course some Adam Ant, Go-Gos, Bow Wow Wow and other 80's icons!
Your Rotary Jacket - Come on, tell us!
Do you still have your Jacket?
Movies I Saw When I Was In Brasil
A great movie that shares the culture of Brasil.
I saw this my first night in Brasil with my host family.
Xuxa is the Madonna of Brasil. I saw her perform at a mall once. She is so pretty and fun!
I saw this movie in a theater and when we came out the city was in martial law because of the milk riots. It was so scary!
Open question about Rotary Clubs
Now that it is over 20 years later! I would like to know what are the steps one would need to take to become a Rotarian? Do you need a sponsor? Does anyone have any experience with this they would like to share?
Great Stuff on Amazon
These are some videos that give me Saudades - Look it up!
This about sums it up! Disney Style
Were you Rotary or FYI? What district? How long?