Rotary Exchange Students arrive in Morinville

Paula Garzo of Bolivia wase invited to the Morinville Rotary Club breakfast meeting held on Wednesday at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre (MCCC) where Garzo made a presentation on Bolivia. – Lucie Roy Photo

by Lucie Roy
Morinville News Correspondent

Denisa Rajska of Prague, the capital of Czech Republic, and Paula Garzo of Bolivia were invited to the Morinville Rotary Club breakfast meeting held on Wednesday at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre (MCCC) where Garzo made a presentation on Bolivia.

The Rotary Youth Exchange is about youth and opportunities. Every year more than 8,000 students take the opportunity to experience another country. Each year Rotary Clubs around the world sponsor students to go from their clubs to another country and accept a student from another country, more commonly known as outbound and inbound students. Each student lives with host families throughout the year they are away. They become part of the community they are residing in, attend school and events and meet regularly with other inbound/outbound students of the Rotary District that they are in to get to know students from all over the world. By sharing their culture and embracing a new one, the students help foster global understanding and learn a great deal about themselves and their home country in the process.

Rajska is the Morinville Rotary Club’s new inbound exchange student. She arrived in August and is attending Sturgeon Composite High School. Rajska is the youngest daughter. She has a sister who is two years older than her. She enjoys going out with friends, reading, writing and one day would like to be a writer or journalist. Her native language is Czech, but she speaks English and a bit of Spanish and German.

Garzo, an inbound exchange student from Bolivia, is sponsored by the Vegreville Rotary Club. Garzo said she is an only child, has a pet dog, is in Grade 11 and likes reading, music, and sports.

Sandra Welsh of Sturgeon County hosted Garzo for a few days at her home. Sandra’s daughter Hanna is currently the Morinville Rotary Club Outbound Exchange student in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and currently living with Garzo’s family. Garzo is Hanna Welsh’s host sister, and they met each other in Bolivia before Garzo left for Vegreville.

Garzo made a presentation on Bolivia Nov. 16 and said the weather in Bolivia is very tropical. Garzo came to Canada to learn English, meet new people and learn a new culture.

In May and for a few months after that Hanna Welsh was learning Spanish phrases and she received an email from her host family saying all was confirmed and she would be going to Bolivia. Welsh said she was excited about this. Being a small town farm girl, it would be great to bin in a bigger center.

In a monthly reflection report from Hanna Welsh, she said she had made a few public speaking engagements at the host Rotary Club in Santa Cruz. One of the Thanksgiving traditions she shared with her host family was making stuffing. Though it did not turn out exactly as planned, she said her host Mom appreciated it. The school she is at is from Grade 1 to Grade 12 with about 1500 students. She is in Grade 11, and the class has 45 students. All the students are in the same classroom together all day, so everybody knows each other well. Most have been in the same class together since Grade 1.

“I really like that because it feels more like a family than a class,” said.

Welsh has to make a presentation about Canada in Spanish this month. Though worried about her current knowledge of Spanish, she is optimistic.

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