Two young visitors Oliwia and Carlotta, came to the Club on Wednesday 9 July 2014. They are taking part in one of Rotary’s Short Term Exchange Programmes being run in London. Rotary runs four different Youth Exchange programmes that are available to young people in and around Harrow.
The first programme is the Short Term Exchange Programme (STEP) which provides a short experience living with a family in a foreign country. Firstly the young person (15-19 years old) travels to the partner’s country for a 3 week stay (or longer), and then both return to the other country for 3 weeks (or longer!). Parents of both young persons do NOT have to be Rotarians!
Next is the Long Term Exchange Programme (LTEP) which provides a year attending school in another country. The young person (16 to 18½ years old) lives with a carefully selected host family for a year and continues their education, often in a foreign language. A significant amount of work is involved in setting up these exchanges if the exchange is not with an EU country. Again, parents do NOT have to be Rotarians.
Third is New Generations Service Exchange (NGSE) which provides an opportunity to sample a vocation in another country and another culture. This programme is open to 18 – 30 year old people, and as the name suggests there is a Rotary Service Project goal attached to the exchange. These exchanges are usually for a month or so.
Fourth and the final programme is the Youth Exchange Camps and Tours programme. This provides a multinational short holiday environment (typically 10-14 days) under the supervision of Rotarians. Normally there is only one person from a country in the group taking part, so there is a good introduction to the international aspects of life in the 21st century. The holiday has both vocational and cultural experiences, and the youngsters often stay with Rotary Families.
Oliwia is in school in North West London and is looking forward to moving to a Sixth Form College in the near future. Her Exchange Partner, Carlotta, is studying foreign languages and comes from North West Italy.
After the exchange, we are hoping that Oliwia will come back and tell us all about her experiences in Italy!