Rotary Club of Gibsons

 
 
 

Jim Pringle Shares His Experience

 
As a young high school student, Jim Pringle discovered how rewarding it was to volunteer your time. Volunteering is something he continues to enjoy, to this day.
 
While in high school, he heard about the Rotary Exchange Student Program, and since he also wanted to travel, he decided to look into it.  The interview process was quite formal and serious. During his interview, he mentioned that he wanted to experience something very different from what he already knew. With his acceptance into the Program, and a desire for something very different, he was assigned to a Rotary family in Turkey.
 
His new Rotary family was not located in a big city, but a fair distance into the country-side. It was not only a culture shock for Jim, but also for the community he was now living in. Of the 500,000 people living in his area, there were only 4 resident foreigners. And, he brought the first North American culture to that region.
 
The father of his Rotary family, was a lawyer, and the mother was a doctor. Jim kept in touch with them for a long time, something that has now become easier with social media.
 
One of the things Jim missed most in his new environment, was green space. There was no grass, or trees, only brown dirt/soil - everywhere.
 
Jim attended high school while in Turkey. It was difficult making friends, but finally found success when he joined sports groups. Eventually he learned to speak Turkish and would often surprise people in Turkey, who didn’t realize he understood their language.  Jim, as a North American, was a bit of an oddity in this region of Turkey. Everyone was very curious about him. He was experiencing what it was like to be a visible minority.
 
With the Rotary Club in Turkey, he was able to take trips throughout Turkey, and along the Mediterranean. His visits to archeological sites have remained with him, and he will always appreciate the experience that Rotary provided; Jim considers that his Rotary experiences, shaped his life.
 
In appreciation for his talk, Lynne Geikie thanked Jim, and presented him with a certificate showing that a Hippo-Roller had been donated in his name.