Posted on Nov 25, 2019
This was our Club's first lunch meeting at Tramonto Restaurant of River Rock Casino Resort.  It was wonderful to have Sue and Jim Godey from Rotary Club Lions Gate, Scott Campbell from Steveston Club and Anthony Yuen, Ambassador of the Rotary Youth Exchange join us.  Sue and Anthony shared their experience from the organizer and the recipient's perspective of the Rotary Youth Exchange program.
The first Rotary Exchange was initiated by the Rotary Club of Copenhagen, Denmark in 1927; it was followed by the Rotary Club of Nice, France in 1929.  Every year Rotary International and the local Rotary clubs sponsor over 8,000 exchange students (between the age of 15 and 17.5) among 80 countries.  Rotary District 5040 and its clubs sponsor an average of 12 inbound and 12 outbound students each year; there are 12 outbounds and 14 inbounds this year.  
The Youth Exchange Program is a cultural exchange that allows students to experience different cultures and meet people around the world.  Anthony Yuen, a Youth Exchange Ambassador, was an exchange student to Normandy, France in 2015.  He attended a one-year high school full-time there, immersed fully in the French culture, and in exchange shared with his schoolmates and friends the Canadian culture.  We were amazed with Anthony's red blazer covering with pins and business cards he traded with other students.  The colour of blazer represent the country where the student is from; the red represents Canada.  Anthony had a wonderful experience in France and documented his story in District 5040 website.  Click here for Anthony's impressive story of being an exchange student.
The initial cost of a Rotary club to sponsor an exchange student would be $3,000 which covers the airfares and the District Conference registration fees. On top of the initial cost, the club is also to budget a monthly allowance of $100 and extra curriculum expense of $200 for each student.  The program will arrange 2 to 3 hosting families for each student during the one-year term.  Councillors are available to support the students while they are abroad.
The Youth Exchange program is a fabulous experience that the students should seek to participate and the Rotary club to support!