Above: Hanna Welsh and Rotary Club of Morinville President Carol Haley. – Lucie Roy Photo
by Lucie Roy
Sturgeon County resident Hanna Welsh is on her way to Argentina from January 2020 until September 2020 and in Italy from September 2020 to June 2022.
Welsh was a 2016/2017 Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) student who went to Bolivia for one year and attended school in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. She has been in touch and travelling back and forth between two families ever since.
When she returned to Canada, she completed her Grade 11 and 12 at Sturgeon Composite High School and graduated in June 2018.
In late December 2019 Welsh attended a Rotary Club of Morinville meeting and spoke of the small travel agency in Edmonton that caters to mainly American clientele and how much it has taught her about the travel business. She had an opportunity to go on a tour of Israel in November to supervise the trip and assure all of the clients were happy.
Another travel adventure was in June when she flew to New York to attend the graduation of a friend that she met on her exchange in Bolivia. Welsh said this was the first time she had seen her since her own Bolivian graduation in November 2018, and it was a welcome get together.
Welsh will soon be departing for her next adventure, as of 11 January 2020 she is attending University.
She has been accepted into the University of Bologna in Bologna, Italy. Her program of studies is a Bachelor’s Degree in International and Diplomatic Sciences.
“The University of Bologna is actually the oldest University in the western world, established in 1088,” Welsh said. “I think it is amazing that I will be able to study at a university that has been such a big part of history.”
The specific program that she is partaking in is an accelerated program, with eight months in Buenos Aires, Argentina that she leaves for on 11 January. She is back in Canada in September for a few weeks and then off to Italy for two years to finish and graduate from the program by June 2022.
Welsh said the program is perfect because it gives her a chance to polish up her Spanish while in Buenos Aires and then learn Italian in Italy.
She is also looking at the potential of learning another language on an exchange- French, and she is incredibly excited about this. Welsh said it would be bad if she spoke four languages and not even one of them was French.
Through all of her exciting adventures, Welsh said she always has something in her mind; that this is all thanks to all of the members of the Rotary Club of Morinville and Rotary International.
“I cannot stress it enough when I say that my one year exchange in Bolivia completely changed me and my trajectory in life. It made me so much more confident and so much more curious about the world. Slowly, but surely, I’m hoping to get to know it all.”
Welsh thanked especially Rotary Club members Michael Klassen and Bill Santrock for helping her before, during and after her Rotary Youth Exchange.
“I didn’t know how big of an impact it would have on my life when I originally decided to go on exchange, but looking back on it now, it was the best decision I’ve ever made, and could potentially be the best decision I will ever make. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for not just participating in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, or for sponsoring half of my program costs, but for selecting me as your ambassador to go on this exchange. I am hoping that with all that I do, I am and will cotinine to make all of you proud.”