Rotary Youth Exchange
The Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) program fosters world understanding through intercultural exchange. Exchanges last an academic year in the host country, during which the student lives with two to three host families and attends school. High school students are placed in 45 countries around the world where they are fully immersed in their host country's culture and language. The Rotary Youth Exchange motto is: "If every 17 year old in the world went on exchange, there would be no more wars."
Allison Poston, a junior at Attica High School, has been selected to represent Rotary District 6560 and our local Attica-Williamsport Rotary Club as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student to Bolivia for the 2010 - 2011 school year. She will be attending school in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, South America. Allison is experiencing the difference between living in a rural town (population 3,500) to an urban city of Santa Cruz with 1.5 million people.
Allison with club president, Nancy Riley. Allison presented a program to the club discussing her upcoming experience as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.
Allison with her father, Steve Poston, at the airport on the day she left for Bolivia
Allison took part in a trip to Chiquitania, Concepcion,
y San Javier. It is a remote area in Bolivia where Jesuit priests settled in the
1700's. It is a World Heritage Site. The trip was sponsored by Santa Cruz Rotary
Allison is on a scooter bike. They are taxis that take everyone to the different locations in Chiquitania.
The following are excerpts from Allison's blog:
December 26, 2010
Well this Christmas is one I will definitely never forget! Basically, "Christmas" is on the 24th. So Christmas Eve, which is called Nochebuena here, they have their huge feast with all of the family for dinner. I'm not a huge pig eater but even I'll admit that the chancho we had was pretty good. My sister and I also made our own dessert. We combined flan and chocolate pudding. Unfortunately not everyone liked it, but oh well we tried. They plan the meal so that as soon as everyone's done eating, it's just before midnight. And at midnight, madness! The whole block starts setting off fireworks and everyone starts hugging each other and saying "Felicidades" and "Feliz Navidad." When things finally calm down, everyone starts passing out the presents right then and we all open them. I got some really good smelling perfume, a cute purse and some lotion. So actually, Christmas Day, the 25th, isn't all that special. We had leftovers for lunch and then my sister and I went to the Cine Center for the afternoon. It's just weird it being hot for Christmas.
January 6, 2011
You know that feeling where it's summer in an exotic country; where you really have no worries, no school, or jobs to fuss over; where you're making new friends every day? That feeling you get when you are finally catching on to that crazy language you hear around you? Have you felt what it's like to leave your awesome life behind, only to find another one that's new and exciting and maybe just as good? How about that feeling when you're just owning it at tennis and feel like you're on top of the world? Do you know that feeling of having the best family in the world support and love you from thousands of miles away? Well, I do. And let me tell you, it feels good.
January 18, 2011
New Years was fun, a really big party, lots of dancing. Tennis is still great. It's kind of rainy here for the past few days which is nice because it cools everything down, but bad because I can't play tennis. I am PUMPED because this Saturday, all the exchange students are going on the big trip around all of Bolivia! We're going to LaPaz, Cochabamba, Sucre, and a few other places. I am soooo excited!! Unfortunately, school starts again the 1st of February, so right after I get back from the trip, I head straight to school. I sort of want to go back so I can see my friends every day, but then again I actually have to attempt to do the homework this time.
Just a quick Rotary update. Well, I now actually understand most of the meetings. The meals are fabulous and some of the speakers have been interesting. A famous Bolivian author spoke to the club about writing her books and being an author. There was a big presentation of all the things that the club had done in 2010. Their big project was donating lots of books to orphanages, churches, and schools. The club really wants to promote reading for the younger generation to increase the literacy rate for Bolivia. Another thing I've noticed about Rotary is that Rotarians are very, very highly respected. I'm in a club that is predominately made of high class business men and a few women.
New Years Eve Party
Allison entered the following
reports about her trip around Bolivia in February:
Allison with two other Rotary Scholars
Donkeys in the town of Sucre
Art works of the founders of Bolivia