What is Rotary International?
'Service Above Self' is Rotary's motto. Founded in 1905, Rotary International is one of the world's largest not-for-profit service organizations. There are currently over 34,000 clubs and over 1.22 million members in over 200 countries/provinces worldwide. Rotary service projects are intended to alleviate problems such as hunger, illiteracy, poverty, poverty, and violence. Members of Rotary clubs are known as 'Rotarians' and usually meet weekly for breakfast, lunch of dinner to organize work on their service goals and to socialize. Membership in Rotary clubs is by invitation; each club strives to include representatives from major businesses, professions, and institutions in its community.
What is Rotary Youth Exchange?
Rotary Youth Exchange is open to young people ages 15-25 worldwide. There are two basic types of exchanges: short-term and long-term. Long term exchange (the program I am participating in) is for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19, is one year long, and requires the student to attend school and live with host-families in their host-country.
|District 1800 2011-12 Long Term Exchange Students - Germany|
Where are you living and where are you from?
I am living in Hameln, Lower Saxony, Germany (the town of the Pied Piper from the Grim Brother Fairytale), and I am from Santa Rosa, California, a city about fifty minutes away from San Francisco.
Why did you choose Germany?
I didn't choose Germany, Germany chose me, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Did you study German before going to Germany?
Nope. I speak Spanish. I took a German culture course where I mainly learned about restaurants in Germany one night a week for two months, but I didn't speak a word of German before arriving. I remember sitting on the plane with my dictionary and looking up how to say 'please,' but the word was so close to 'bitter' (bitte) that I thought my dictionary was wrong. That being said, I speak German now. :)
Why did you decide to go on Foreign Exchange?
A lot of little things led to my decision to go on exchange. My ninth and tenth grade history teacher, Mr. Emery, goes somewhere new every summer, and he got me interested in different cultures, so I started asking him about foreign exchange programs. Then, a friend (Greg) in my Sea Scout Crew went on exchange to Denmark two years ago with Rotary Youth Exchange, and on 'Summer Cruise' it was all he talked about. It sounded like a great experience, and becoming fluent in a language other than English has always been a goal of mine and this was a great way to accomplish it.
How did you convince your parents to let you leave for a year?
One day after our weekly Sea Scout meeting I said, "Mom, I want to be a foreign exchange student." She thought I was joking and said, "Okay, tell me again next week if you're still interested." Since that night, every Wednesday when I got home from scouts I would remind her of my new found interest until she realized I was serious.
Will you go back to high school next year?
Nope. I graduated in three years instead of four so this is technically my senior (12th) year.
What's the biggest difference between Germany and California?
I don't know if I could pick out just ONE thing to be the 'biggest' difference because everything is different. That being said, I think mannerisms of people is a huge difference. For example, in California people are very friendly, talk to strangers on the corner, make small talk, and apologize for barely touching people when walking down the street. In Germany, strangers rarely-to-never talk to one another, never make 'small talk,' and practically have to knock someone over if they are going to apologize for 'bumping into them.'
Is the drinking age is the U.S. really 21?Yes.