The second briefing weekend for Rotary District 9710’s youth exchange program was recently held in Murrumbateman. This weekend was the second opportunity for all the inbound and outbound exchange students in our District to gather together and discuss all aspects of Rotary Youth Exchange, and to prepare the outbounds for our impending departure.
Similar to the first briefing weekend, the outbound students continued learning and absorbing important information. We discussed our obligations to Rotary International, as well as the duty of care they are required to show exchange students. We also studied both the positive and negative impacts exchange may have on us as students, and the people around us.
At this weekend each outbound prepared a presentation about ourselves, our aspirations, and the places in which we live. We also prepared a short introductory talk in our respective foreign languages, which we presented to our corresponding inbound students.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of the Australian Rotary Youth Exchange blazers to all the outbound students. Each student was individually presented with their own blazer by our RYE district chairman. There was even a video prepared for us, outlining our life in Australia and where we will soon be travelling to overseas.
Upon receiving my blazer, I experienced a sense of fulfilment. The blazer is the official uniform of a Rotary exchange student and is a symbol recognisable across the globe. I am now a fully-fledged Rotary Youth exchange student, ready to depart for a foreign land.
This ceremony was particularly significant for my Dad and I. My Dad wore his RYE blazer to the evening, and afterwards we posed for many photos together. The Australian blazers have changed colour since 1989, the year my Dad travelled to Finland, and have been converted to a bottle green instead of bright blue. The blazer presentation made for a special family moment between my Dad and I.
As well as being informative, the 2nd and final briefing weekend was a chance for the Rotary District 9710 exchange students and parents to gather together as a community. Both the inbound and outbound student groups have bonded together in just a matter of days. We really are one big family.