Don’t Miss The Chance

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Tuna Safak

State High students put together puzzles that, when completed, revealed a picture of the country in which the student would be living for the year 2018-2019. Kristen Miller, senior, and Parker Kingshipp, sophomore, were among the students at the Rotary event. Kingshipp said, “Before I knew, I was very nervous and had no idea which country that I would be travelling to. But once I put the puzzle together I was so relieved and excited to see Argentina’s flag. It made me feel even more excited about spending that time in a different country and be able to experience a different culture than my own.”

Tuna Safak, Staff Writer

A day full of fun, interaction and bonding. The Rotary club is more than a well known network of 1.2 million people spread all around the world, the values and experiences they provide is what makes them so special. On Saturday, February 2nd the Rotary Exchange Club held a picnic in the Lutheran church in downtown State College. The Rotary Club was welcoming from the first second and included me right away even though I was not part of the community yet.

We started off with getting to know each other better by doing an inclusive introduction called square dance. At first, a lot of people seemed a bit intimidated, but after seeing other people’s fun learning the new activity, strangers in the room quickly became friends after being there for such a short period of time. Later on, we did a creative activity including every participant of the picnic: host parents, outbound students, inbound students and rotary club members. More fun activities followed.

Later on we created a skit, for which we split into groups. The skip was representing all the experiences of the exchange student including the struggles and difficulties. We also portrayed the people impacted by the exchange. Laughter, creativity and inspiration followed. Future exchange students found out about the country their new chapter of life will start in.

Every single person receives an envelope with the the outlines of their country colored with the flag colors in a puzzle shape. It is a challenge, but just like how their experience in a new country will help them develop and try out new things, it was beneficial. Ahead of time they can make a preference choice of five countries all around the world and could be placed anywhere. But the moment they heard the final decision was on Saturday, the waiting came to an end.

Exchange is not just about receiving: it is about teaching each other, experiencing together, influencing the people around you.  An exchange student from Switzerland expressed that “joining Rotary has been the best decision [of] my entire life, because it shaped me [into] the person that I will be forever.”

Really noticable were the exchange students wearing a blazer fully covered with unique buttons from all countries. These buttons are really great souvenirs and represent the international relationship between students, a relationship that hopefully remains with them their whole lives. Doing an exchange year is a once lifetime opportunity. Going to high school, experiencing the culture, living your dream and finally getting to know yourself with all your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t miss the chance.

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