Exchange students unlock their true potential to: 

• Develop lifelong leadership skills 

• Learn a new language and culture 

• Build lasting friendships with young people from around the world 

• Become a global citizen 

 

In 1982, Katherine went to Sweden as a Rotary Exchange Student and stayed with the Nilbrink family. Shortly after arriving, Anders left for the United States to begin his student exchange year. He had hoped to be sent to New York, California or Florida but wound up in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, a town just 24 miles from there Katherine’s family lived. 

When Katherine arrived in Sweden, she did not speak a word of Swedish but learned bit by bit by listening and watching tv with sub-titles. She attended Rotary meetings every week. Since, at the time, women were not allowed in Rotary, she was in the company of 50 “old men”. 

Language was not as big a problem with Anders since, in Sweden, students are taught English beginning in the 3rd grade. 

 

Katherine became very close to Ander’s family and visited them every year. His parents even attended her first wedding. Anders would also travel to the US on a regular basis and they would always get together. In 2003, after Katherine’s first marriage ended in divorce, Anders confessed that he had always been in love with her. (Sounds like a romance novel, doesn’t it?) She wound up moving to Sweden and they were married 6 months later. In 2006, they moved to the United States and in 2016, Anders became a citizen. 

Anders & Katherine believe that Rotary Youth Exchange inspires young leaders to serve as cata-lysts for peace and social justice in their local communities and throughout the world. They be-lieve it is because of their experience with the exchange program that they have continued to be involved in programs to help people at home and around the world