Mary Lundstrom returned from Vigo Spain about 1-1/2 months ago.  She had 2 host families while there.  Vigo is a city just north of Portugal, known as a fishing port.  The city is famous for its display of Christmas lights, and some of her slide photos showed us that.  For chosen holiday to prepare a meal, Mary picked Thanksgiving, which was a partial success.  Mary made several trips to Madrid, including a year-end trip with her class.  Trips included a part of the famous Camino di Santiago.  At the end of year her exchange student group had a “Eurotour” of 10 countries including 11 cities. 
She felt good about her Spanish, particularly since she had no “school Spanish” going in.  But Mary said that she also had to deal with a local language called Galician.  Cultural changes of note include the differences in mealtimes, the noontime break, and how open and friendly everyone is.
Adler Howe spoke to the club just before he leaves next week for The Czech Republic, which has recently renamed itself as Czechia (the things one learns at Rotary meetings!).  Adler said that he has never been out of the US, even to Canada.   He told us that he will live in a small town about 1 hour from Prague, which gives him opportunity to benefit from what Prague has to offer.  He is becoming more confident about the language differences he’ll face.  Using technology to his advantage, Adler has been watching Netflix movies in the Czech language.    
Last fall, Adler’s family hosted Max Goll.  With that experience generating his interest in the idea of exchange, Adler chose to do a whole year as opposed to the short-term experience.  Going to country fair led to a top 5 list, with Czech as one of the 5 along with Germany and several Nordic countries.  Northstar Youth Exchange provided training on what to expect.  Has also spoken with his first host family and has very good impression.  They have signed him up for some activities when he arrives.  Adler has also used a Pimsler language program that Northstar provides.
Adler has also had phone contacts with Max when he has had cell service.  In response to a question, Adler said that he has set a goal of getting more involved in volunteer work.