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2023 06 20 | Rotary Youth Exchange Student Maria's Canadian Experience Presentation

Our morning was filled with both laughter and tears as we listened to our international exchange student, Maria, share her experiences of the past year with us. Laughter came from our shared-joy in seeing and hearing Maria's joy for the experience; tears as we shared in her pain that while she is excited to get home to her family in Brazil she is sad to leave her new family in Canada. Maria had a jam-packed year experiencing most of what Canada and the Okanagan has to offer, and she continually indicated how pleasantly surprised she was by all there was to do in a community of only 40,000 people.

In addition to making life-long friends from both the greater Vernon area and other exchange students from around the world, she had a number of "firsts" in her life while here. Feeling real snow, carving a pumpkin & trick-or-treating, skiing, sailing, kayaking, snow-shoeing, zip-lining, attending what we call football games, and curling were only a few of the memories she made while here. She had the opportunity to experience home-life with several different Members as hosts, try different foods, and see what school is like for a teenager in Canada.

Maria was an active participant in Rotary events while here, volunteering at many different community activities. Many members found warmth when she stated that Rotary BBQs were her favorite Rotary activity; "To see and feel how helping others makes me feel good was really great," she said. A true Rotarian at heart.

Maria, it has been an honor to have you be a part of Vernon Silver Star Rotary. You have represented the the ethos of Rotary - Service Above Self - in all you do, and we know you will go into your future forever changed but knowing you are a force for good.

You are forever welcome back in Vernon at any of our homes, meetings, or Club events. And we hope to cross paths again in the near future.