Rotary Youth Exchange is an awesome Rotary project that Southtowne participates in. Every year, our club hosts one student from another country and coordinates their year long stay here, and we also recruit, vett, and arrange the sending for several other students from the Eugene area abroad.

During their youth exchange, students learn a new language and culture. They are 15 to 19 years old and over 100 countries participate in this program. Rotary believes that these programs are key to developing global citizens with lifelong leadership skills who will work toward peace.

Our sponsored student from Boliiva arrived last week and is settling in and today we heard from one of last year’s outbound students about her experience, highlighted below.

Casey Sauter spent a year in Torrelavega, Spain. Casey brought a very complimentary letter & banner from the President of the club she attended there. Here are some highlights from her presentation:

  • Torrelavega has 55,000 citizens and is on the northern coast with a climate similar to Oregon.
  • Casey’s first host family was the Bercedos family, a family of 5.
  • Casey didn’t connect as much with the Bercedos family as she would like which made the transition a bit more difficult. They were dealing with an ill family member which caused stress and Casey had to move earlier than expected to an interim family.
  • Casey loved her second host family, the Trugedas, who were very affectionate and warm. They taught Casey how to cook Spanish food. This was a short stay but really helped Casey to transition.
  • The third family, the Chaperos, were also very welcoming and friendly. A family of 5, they lived in a beach town and signed Casey up for surf school.
  • One of the most important parts of Casey’s time in Spain was track and field and teammates were very warm and friendly and her coach went above and beyond to help Casey. This also allowed her to see other parts of Spain through competition.
  • Casey attended IES Marques de Santillana, a high school, where she essentially retook her senior year. She was overwhelmed and lost often in science classes, especially. But by the end of the year, she caught on and excelled in her studies.
  • After the first week of school, Casey met girls in the IB program and became fast friends.
  • Getting together with fellow exchange students from the US helped Casey a lot and she is very close with those she met who were also exchange students in Spain and who went on an end of the year European tour with Casey (organized by Rotary).
  • Casey’s club was very involved with Casey’s exchange and her counselor helped her a lot.
  • Casey thanks Southtowne and Rotary for this experience, an invaluable contribution to her life.