Dir Greg, Student Exchange co-ordinator for our club told member that our very popular student Thomas Houden was leaving to go back to Denmark this week
 

Exchange Student Chair John Cooper told members of the success of the Exchange program in Bermuda but that all clubs need to work hard to provide host families in order for the program to continue. Rtn Captain Gilbert Hallam who has been hosting Thomas for the last few months spoke movingly of a young man who was a credit to himself and his country and it had been a pleasure hosting him.  He was studious and well mannered and was the sort of young man that anyone would be happy to have in their family.  He knew his grandaughters would miss him as much as he would and wished his wife had been alive to share the experience.  This was followed by many accolades to a visibly moved and embarrassed Thomas, by Pres Tee, IPP Barrett and ADG Keith who also reiterated Exchange Chair John's words about addressing the need for Host Families or this very successful  program would be no more.  Dir Greg then presented Thomas with a beautiful photograph of Bermuda by noted Bermudian phographer David Skinner, the funds being raised by members of the club.

Thomas thanked members for their friendship and support during his "amazing experience" in Bermuda. When Thomas was first selected to be a part of the exchange program he had the choice of going to New Zealand, Australia, United States or Bermuda which he had never heard of.  He was so glad he made the decision to come to Bermuda the friends, warmth of the people and experience was something he will never forget.  While in Bermuda Thomas attended Saltus Grammer school where he did very well making the honours list. During his stay he also visited the United States with Rtn Gilbert and his family for Christmas, went open-sea diving  and had the incredible experience of crewing on the Spirit of Bermuda. Thomas is hoping to return to Bermuda with his family next year.  

Next Year our Student will be 16 year old Caio Cintra Bottura from Vinhedo in Brazil. Vinhedo is a small town just inland from the largest city in Brazil, Sao Paulo.  Caio is a great reader is interested in the arts, he draws and plays piano, popular and classical and loves sports especially volleyball.

 

The Long-Term Student Exchange Program

Ideal Youth Exchange candidates are young, open-minded individuals who demonstrate leadership qualities that will enable them to become excellent cultural ambassadors for their country and the Rotary club or district that supports them. Applicants are not required to be involved with Rotary in any way before applying. Children of Rotarians are welcome to participate but are not given any preference. Students with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  This exchange is open to students ages 15-19 and usually lasts 10-12 months. Most students are 16-18 years old during their exchange year. The student lives with more than one family in the host country and is required to attend school. Long-term exchanges may be extended to include part or all of the holiday/vacation periods immediately before or after the academic year. Students reap many rewards from an exchange experience, including:

 Serving as an ambassador for their country and community

 Benefiting from immersion in another culture while adapting to a new way of life

 Making lifelong friends, not only within the host country but also with other students from

   around the world

 Learning about the practices and accomplishments of people in other countries

 Returning home with a greater sense of the world and a deeper understanding of themselves

   and their culture

 Assuming leadership roles shaped by lessons from the experience

 Building memories that will be with them forever.