The Rotary Club of Dunwoody welcomed as special guest July 26 local resident Emily O’Day, who has just returned from her year as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Vicosa, Brazil. Emily attended high school and lived with local Brazilian families. She was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Dunwoody.
While in Brazil, Emily participated in many service projects sponsored by her high school’s Interact Club (a Rotary program for middle and high school students). She taught English and helped one of her host “moms” complete her English language requirement for her literature degree. Emily joined other Rotary Youth Exchange students in traveling along Brazil’s East Coast and in a one-week journey on the Amazon that gave her a new appreciation for “how important it is to protect the amazing world we live in.”
“The Rotary Youth Exchange program really changes lives,” Emily said. “It offered me an opportunity to learn about cultures outside the U.S. and gave me time to grow and learn more about myself.”
When asked about what she found most different, Emily said “people and relationships. People get together and spend hours talking and enjoying each other; they’re not as caught up in social media as we are. I came away from my experience determined than ever to spend more time getting to know and understand people and their perspectives.”
A 2018 graduate of Dunwoody High School, Emily will begin classes this month at Georgia Tech, where she is majoring in global economics. She hopes to do part of her studies abroad.
Rotary Youth Exchange has been providing intercultural exchange opportunities for secondary school students ages 15-19 around the world since the 1920s. Students become cultural ambassadors for up to a full academic year, and the host families can help build peace and international understanding, serving one of Rotary’s six areas of focus.
Individuals who want to learn more about Rotary Youth Exchange opportunities — either as a student traveling overseas or as a host parent for a student traveling to the Atlanta Metro area — can attend an information session at Emory University on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 from 6-7:30 p.m. The session will be held at 1599 Clifton Road NE, Room 1432, Atlanta, GA 30322.