Whilst in staying in Melbourne over the Christmas/New Year period, two of the Rotary Club of Hall’s past International Youth Exchange students met our current student, Monami.

Pictured above: Monami and Gerardas having breakfast with President Janine and Chris in Melbourne. Gerardas is about to commence his second year of study at RMIT.

Monami on Brighton Beach
Monami wrapped in the Japanese and Aussie flags on Brighton Beach

The club has hosted five Youth Exchange Students in recent years. Each student is hosted by the club for 12 months whilst they attend year 11 and 12 at one of the local Canberra Colleges. It is a fabulous experience hosting as students form a family bond with their host parents and their families.

In 2012-13, we hosted Jessica from Brazil, then we hosted Martina from Switzerland in 2014-15. Martina was followed by Gerardas from Norway in 2015-16 and then Martta from Finland in 2016-17. Our current student is Monami from Japan.

Martta on Brighton Beach
Catching up with our Finnish exchange student Martta who was visiting Melbourne with her family on New Years Eve 2018

Keeping in touch

The Rotary Youth Exchange program aims to help connect the world by giving young people an opportunity to get a first-hand understanding of different cultures. But, the program benefits many more than just the students who get the overseas experience. Rotarians and host parents are the big winners too.

Many host parents develop strong bonds with their students and their families through regular correspondence. In this way, we all help to develop greater cultural understanding.

Martta's family visit the clubroom
Our Finnish Exchange student Martta visits the club rooms with her family in the first week of 2019.

After Melbourne, Martta and her family stayed with Janine and Chris in Canberra and spent a couple of days doing the tourist thing. Martta was keen to show her family the place she called home for her year in Australia.