A Rotary Exchange year in Brazil in 1992-93, changed her life, Tabatha Williams told Breakfast Rotary on February 20.

Tabitha grew up poor and moved a lot.  When her mother got her first job at Rayovac, they moved to Madison and lived for the first time in a white neighborhood. While in high school, the West Town Middleton Rotary Club offered her the exchange program and she went to Brazil, where she stayed with four host families.  She is fluent in Spanish, but can carry on a conversation in Portuguese.  In Brazil, Tabitha learned to look at people differently.  She met other exchange students and learned how big the world is.  After meeting the other students from Australia, Texas, New York, Spain, and France, she became more kind and caring and wanted to see the world. She met people who had no ulterior motives and people who retained their African traditions in the Afro-Brazilian culture.  She also saw a lot of poor people in Brazil.  When she returned she saw the world differently and her prospects as limitless.

After starting a family, Tabitha graduated from nursing school with an RN.  In June, she graduated from UW Medical School, and is now enrolled in a Masters in Public Health program.  She is currently waiting for matching day for her placement as a resident physician.  Without the Rotary program, Tabitha says she would have been the same immature kid with a chip on her shoulder.