Each year, Rotary International Districts send over 9,000 students worldwide for the experience of a lifetime. Our district has been fortunate with our many students, and we believe this year will be no exception. We currently have one student, Oliver, from Australia, who will be with us until Christmas as his stay is from December through November. A complete list of all Inbound Students is below:
Mervyn Aufret, France, hosted by Saugatuck-Douglas
Emilia Chiapetti, Brazil, hosted by Kalamazoo
Aleksandra Yanushko, Russia, St. Joseph – Benton Harbor
Renan Lopez, Brazil, Charlotte
Diana Lopez, Mexico, Grand Ledge
Victoria Majois, Belgium, Lakeshore
Sana Nakalime, Japan, Mason
Bernadi Santosa, Indonesia, Niles-Buchana
Tina Stuzke, Germany, Union city
Roosa Takala, Finland, Benton Harbor Sunrise
Oliver Schier, Australia, Dowagiac
Meet the Students: Class of 15-16 YE Students
It takes quite a lot of paperwork to get students from one country to another on a school visa. However, Rotary has been doing this for decades and is quite familiar with what needs be done. They are constantly upgrading their program, and indeed, the new YEAH program is a wonderful tool to help facilitate the many pages of an application. District Inbound Coordinators will have access to this program.
Shortly after all inbound students arrive, they will travel to an Orientation Training for 2.5 days at Camp Algonquin, 2455 Iroquois Trail, Hastings, MI. This orientation is the most important event the will have this year. This is where they will establish a bond from all of them being exchange students. This is where they will play a series of games, etc. to establish trust with one another and with the leaders. They will learn the rules of the Youth Exchange program, including the four “D’s” NO DRINKING, NO DATING, NO DRIVING, NO DRUGS. Break one of these rules just one time, and they may very easily find themselves on a plane back home in the next 24 hours. On Sunday, the host families will come to orientation so they can find out what the kids were taught.
There will be other activities for the kids to be together and continue the bonding while making lifelong friends. This is what the program is about: goodwill ambassadors for the different countries. One wise man said, It’s hard to have a war against a friend”. The rest of the time, the kids are home with their host families learning about the American way of life, while happily eating the American Hamburger and sipping a Chocolate Milk Shake.