Rotary Sunrise Club seeking adventurous youth for exchange student program

The Rotary Club of Dawson Creek Sunrise is looking for an exchange student to study abroad starting next August, and will be hosting an information session for interested students and their parents on Oct. 6 at the South Peace Secondary Campus of Dawson Creek Secondary School. Students must be between the ages of 15 and 17.5 when they leave in August, 2012, and also must demonstrate leadership abilities and a willingness to experience new things.

“It takes a certain kind of kid to move away from home and live in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language for an entire year,” said Katie Bull, outbound youth exchange counselor for the Rotary Clubs. “You have to be adventurous and you have to like to try new things – there is going to be different types of food and different experiences – and in order for a kid to really get the most out of an exchange, they need to be able to jump right in with both feet and enjoy all of that.”

Students will be given a list of participating countries and will rank them in the order in which they would most like to visit, and then a selection committee will match the student up with a country based on those selections and some personality traits as well. Bull said the exchange with countries where the primary language is not English, and that has included nations all over Europe, Asia, and South and Central America. She said students don’t necessarily need to know another language right now, but once a student and a country is selected, that student will be encouraged to learn as much about that country’s language as possible before they leave.

She said Rotary covers the cost of travel and basic living expenses, but any additional expenses during the exchange will have to be covered by that student’s family.

The application process begins with the information session next week, which begins at 7 p.m. in the North Court at the high school. Bull said there is no commitment necessary at that point, but interested students and their parents should attend to find out more about the program and if it will work for them. For more information, Katie Bull can be reached at 250-782-4858 or 250-219-6652.

The Rotary exchange student program is currently supporting local student Jarred Sutherland as he studies abroad in Samsun, Turkey, this school year, as well as hosting Katrine Paredis, an exchange student from Belgium.