This week we welcomed Emmanuel Tumino from the District Youth Exchange Committee who provided a great insight into this long running and successful Rotary Youth Program.
He provided valuable information about the commitment that club makes and what is expected of clubs and also detailed the benefits both to the student and to Rotary. Current exchange student, Lina, being hosted by the Rotary club of Laverton/Point Cook, accompanied Emmanuel.
Emmanuel, in his address, offered a powerful argument as to why our club could consider taking an exchange student.
Lina Zimmerman is the Rotary district exchange inbound student from Bern, Switzerland. She is currently being hosted by Laverton-Point Cook Rotary and studies at Westbourne Grammar School. According to her, the purpose of the program is cultural exchange, leaving comfort zone to learn and understand one’s passions through travelling. She was convinced that Australians are very welcoming, easy-going and jolly. In the past six months of the program, Lina has supported her sponsor Rotary Club, participated in BBQs, experienced Vegemite and attended an AFL match between Tigers and Cats. She is very excited for her next 5 months in Melbourne. Moreover, her visit to Hoppers Crossing Rotary is the first external visit.
Emmanuel has been a member of Footscray Rotary since 2007, and has been on District Youth Exchange Committee for 8 years. He was grateful to our club and club’s President Des O’Shanassy for their support. Every year, 15 students from our district go for exchange and in return 15 youth arrive in our district. Emmanuel aimed to counter myths surrounding Rotary Youth Exchange. He stressed that old age is not a good reason to decline a student and that the program aims to create cross-cultural and cross-country connections. The students are from varying monetary backgrounds, but we must note that this program is not philanthropic. In conclusion, he said, that we need to focus on “What we can do to make exchange happen?” rather than finding reason for not supporting one.
Members will recall that our club was invited to sponsor Ana, a student from Brazil late last year and we had all necessary plans in place but Heathdale Christian College, our chosen school ran out of time to find host families. Given our concerted efforts to assist last year, and following a recent club survey, when it was determined that the vast majority of members would welcome an Exchange student, providing host families could be found, it would not be surprising that we may be contacted by District again very shortly – something for our incoming Board to consider seriously.
Perhaps 2-3 extra mid week BBQs could cover the cost?