Many of our readers may not realise that the Rotary Club of Bribie Island are sponsors of both outbound and inbound Youth Exchange Students. The Rotary Youth Exchange program provides an opportunity for students from all over the world to live and study in a different country for 12 months. In 2018 our Club sponsored two outbound students from PNG who spent 12 Months in Brazil.

Featured Image(above): Benny & Krystal with their Certificates of Attainment

On Sunday 6 January 2019, we held a welcome home get together at Rotarian Patch Roycroft’s home on Bestmann Road. The day was attended by our District Governor Wendy Protheroe, President of the District Youth Exchange Committee, Osama Elsaadi and his wife Debra, as well as members of the District Youth Exchange Committee, Bribie Rotary and their family members. Over 50 people attended. Our students, Benny Owen Bago from Bululo and Krystal Inape from Goroka, arrived on Bribie Island from Brazil, for debriefing with their counsellors on Saturday 5 January 2019.

The Sunday luncheon was a combined welcome home, presentation of certificates and farewell because on the following Tuesday Benny and Krystal returned to their homes in PNG. It was so special and rewarding to see how these young people had matured in the 12 months since we last saw them, from nervous teenagers who spoke very few words, to confident young adults. They told me how they had learnt to be self-reliant and accept greater responsibility for their own actions.

They both talked about the many friends they had made, how wonderful their host families were and how much they learnt about Brazilian culture. However, Benny did admit that the Brazilian dancing was not his “thing”! Although both of them missed their families, they know that this experience will shape the rest of their lives. Benny and Krystal confirmed that “they’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil” and they did meet “The Girl from Ipanema”. They also went to “Rio – Rio de Janeiro” and had quite a lot of fun. We wish them well in whatever endeavours they follow. Australian Rotary Youth Exchange hosts with over 30 countries around the world.

The program is open to high school students aged from 15 to 19 years. Students can learn a new language, discover another culture, and truly become global citizens.

Exchange students unlock their true potential to:

• develop lifelong leadership skills;

• learn a new language and culture;

• build lasting friendships with young people from around the world; and

• become a global citizen.

Our host Patch Roycroft

Bribie Rotary Club stalwarts Mary Grant and Bernie and John Wilson have been members of the District Youth Exchange Committee for many years. Mary and Bernie are very experienced Councillors with both Inbound and Outbound students. Bernie and John take the Inbound Exchange students on “The Sunshine Safari” each year. District Inbound students (usually around 20) go on the safari which takes in highlights of our beautiful region.

While Rotary does meet many of the program costs, other costs (eg spending money) are borne by the participants. If you are interested or know someone who would be interested in our Youth Exchange Program, please see https://www.ryea.org.au or contact Mary Grant on 0421 529 824, who will explain how it all works and the actual costs involved.

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