Renae Anders admits she is “beyond excited” as she prepares to fly to Germany next week to begin her year as a Rotary Youth Exchange Program (YEP) student.
The 17-year-old from Childers was selected as a successful YEP applicant in May last year and since that time has attended various Rotary orientation camps in preparation for her 12 months overseas.
“Travelling across the world on my own has always been a goal of mine. I am sure the experience will provide future opportunities for me as well as allowing me to become more independent,” she said.
Selecting Germany as her destination of choice was an easy task for Renae as she boasts German ancestry.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with my heritage and to learn more about German life and culture and to become proficient with the language,” said Renae.
“I will be staying with host families in a beautiful area in the Rhineland in a town called Staufenberg. It has a population of around 8500.”
Rotary youth exchange program
Renae is the latest student from Childers to participate in a Rotary exchange program with another student, Natasha How, just back from 12 months in Taiwan.
Childers Rotary president Kerry Smythe said the Rotary YEP was very popular in Childers and the Rotary Club of Childers is currently hosting an exchange student from France.
“Sidonie Sourice has been with us since July last year and has been enjoying her time in the district.
“She celebrated her 16th birthday in December and also had a memorable Christmas and New Year,” said Kerry.
“Rotary ensures students selected to participate in the program are given a thorough grounding on what to expect during their exchange. The orientation camps bring together the current outbound students and those that have arrived from overseas.
“The sharing of information, especially from those who have been on exchange for around 6 months, is invaluable to people like Renae who are heading out.”
“Saying goodbye to family and friends, combatting the inevitable homesickness they all feel and fitting in with host families are all experiences shared with those students who are heading out,” said Kerry.
Renae expressed her gratitude to the Rotary Club of Childers for sponsoring her exchange. “It’s a great opportunity and I can’t believe I will actually be on my way next week.”
Anyone interested in the YEP can find information on the program by contacting their nearest Rotary Club or email the District 9570 YEP chair at email@example.com.