Rowan Somerville and Andrea Janse Van Rensburg

Rotary offers Nanaimo students cultural experience abroad

NANAIMO – Teens between 16 and 18 have chance to travel abroad and experience new cultures with Rotary Youth Exchange.

Teenagers between 16 and 18 years of age have an opportunity to travel abroad and experience different cultures through Rotary Youth Exchange.

Paul Geneau, Nanaimo Rotary Youth Exchange joint committee chairman, says the program is administered by local Rotary clubs and sees youths living in foreign countries. Applicants needn’t be related to Rotary club members, he said.

Rowan Somerville and Andrea Janse Van Rensburg, Grade 12 students at Dover Bay Secondary School, took part in the exchange between August 2015 to July 2016 and said their time in Germany was one of the best experiences of their lives.

Janse Van Rensburg, who lived in Ratingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, said it was big step out of her comfort zone, but she has become more independent and self-sufficient.

German public transit allows younger people to go anywhere without the need of a car. It makes independence among younger people the norm, Janse Van Rensburg said.

“That was something that made me feel more independent because I was able to, for example, go into the city and go shopping without having to ask my host parent to go take me shopping, or I was able to go book my own dentist/doctor’s appointment by myself because I could get there,” said Janse Van Rensburg.

Being from Canada, Somerville noticed cultural differences. The German attitude tends to be more liberal toward drinking, he said.

“Even from a young age, they’re introduced to alcohol, but you’re introduced to it in a way that you’re always drinking alcohol as a social thing … you’re drinking a beer not to be intoxicated, like I think a lot of younger people especially do here.

“It’s just drinking to enjoy it because I think there’s not this stigma around drinking, which kind of makes people more open about it and I think because of that, people drink a lot more responsibly and it’s a lot more social,” said Somerville.

Geneau said Nanaimo families will be expected to provide room and board and act as surrogate parents.

“This is not a guest in your home, but somebody that you want to make part of your family, so they become very close … it becomes a very rich experience, a very rich relationship that exchange students have with their host families,” said Geneau.

An exchange information session will be held Wednesday (Sept. 21) at Beban Park social centre at 7 p.m.

For more information, please contact Geneau at pgeneau@hotmail.com or go to www.rye5020.org.

Just Posted

B.C. Ferries vessel breaks down right before long weekend

Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route impacted most, two Departure Bay sailings cancelled

Nanaimo man gets jail time for posting explicit photos of ex-girlfriends

Man’s name cannot be revealed to protect victims’ identities

Olympic skier from Nanaimo suing Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Learn to build a telescope with Nanaimo Astronomy Society

Learn how to build or improve a telescope at the society’s meeting Thursday, June 27

Nanaimo police dog’s bark puts a stop to chainsaw theft

Suspect decides bite might be worse than bark when confronted by RCMP service dog Monday

SUV rolls over in crash in north Nanaimo

Accident happened on Rutherford Road on Wednesday afternoon

Readers vote for Nanaimo’s Best of the City

Complete results of the Nanaimo News Bulletin’s 2019 survey

Air North starts up non-stop flights from Nanaimo to Kelowna

Company running charter flights to Watson Lake, Yukon, including stops in Kelowna and Prince George

Nanaimo RCMP issue warning about counterfeit $100 bills

Fake $100 bill successfully passed at pharmacy on Bowen Road this month

Man appealing conviction for drive-by shooting attempt in Nanaimo

Armaan Singh Chandi was sentenced to nine years in jail in B.C. Supreme Court last month

Pirates hang on to beat neighbouring Royals

Nanaimo beats Parksville 2-0 in B.C. Premier Baseball League action

Pedestrian struck by vehicle in Stz’uminus dies from injuries

A male pedestrian was struck in the early morning of June 25

Foot ferry service in Nanaimo won’t happen this summer

Island Ferries says it still needs to secure funding

Every situation is different, jurors hear at coroners inquest into Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Pediatrician says involuntary treatment necessary following overdose, opioid use

Most Read