Bend Plaque Celebration
Photos by R. Todd Cary
Belluno-Bend Exchange 2017
Maria Costan Davara
our local delicacies and our traditions, letting them become part of our daily lives; in the second part we flew to our mates' homeland and we ourselves became visitors in their places. We spent some time all together, with the activities the Rotary Clubs of Bend organized for us, yet above all we shared with our exchange mate and our host family the various moments of everyday life, being treated as part of an extended family.
During the long time we spent with each other there were obviously ups and downs, however the moments of struggling turned out to be crucial to everyone's growth path, both on a personal and cultural level. Being immersed in a completely different culture, having to face daily new obstacles, such as the language, and unfamiliar situations represented a major challenge for each of us. As Morgan (a guy from Bend I had the luck to meet during the program, now exchange student in Spain) said during our program at the Rotary meeting, “the challenge consists in getting out of our comfort zone to discover a whole world of opportunities waiting to be catched”.
I consider myself very lucky to have taken part to this experience which I'll never forget because I had the chance to travel not as a tourist, but feeling as a real citizen of the world. This is, in my opinion, what a cultural exchange consists in: leaving behind prejudices and expectations and making room for new perspectives. If you're brave enough to welcome them, they can even change your life. Many times when you get home from a trip you find yourself with lots of new pictures but the same old mentality: the real journey is the one that changes you, that makes you grow and revaluate what you've believed in till then. I personally believe our trip to Bend was one of them.
I really appreciated the activities organised by the Rotary, in Belluno and in Bend.
I particularly enjoyed the rafting trip and in this regard I want to thank you very much the Rotary Club of Greater Bend for paying for all of us, we appreciated very much!
I also appreciated the decision to not have every single moment organized, but instead the will to let us live our families' daily routine and get in close contact with them.
I only have one regret: I wish I had more time! That's why I think it would be nice for the future exchange students to spend one whole month together instead of just three weeks in each country.
Finally I'd like to thank you all members of Rotary for giving us this amazing opportunity to grow and become more open-minded people in a world that totally needs it.
Thank you, we'll never forget this experience.
A warm greeting from all of us
2017 Youth Exchange
Last summer I and other six kids from Belluno took part in cultural exchange with seven peers from Bend, Oregon. The experience was divided in two different parts: during the first one which took place in Belluno we had the chance to introduce our mates to our wonderful Dolomiti landscapes,
Ciao For Now - in Bend
Tyler, Gio and Judi
The Summer Vacation - That Lasts a Life Time
From Judi, Tyler's mom host mom for Gio, recalling last summer's exchange.
We had so much fun while our Italian exchange student, Gio was here!! We did a few family trips (Portland, Oregon Coast, and Seattle) to show Gio the different cities and a few professional games….and the boys did a lot on their own as well. They did a lot of day trips to different areas around Bend (hiking, swimming, golfing, etc). The group also got together a few times (rafting trip, BBQ’s, swimming). So it
Ciao For Now - in Belluno
BELLUNO ACTIVITIES AND HIGHLIGHTS
Trip to the Dolomites
BEND ACTIVITIES AND HIGHLIGHTS
White water Rafting on the Deschutes River
Belluno Plaque Celebration
BEN ARRIVATA DI EVENTI SCAMBI METTE IN EVIDENZA CONTATTO
Maria Costan Davara, from Belluno who was part of this years cross cultural exchange writes, "The experience was divided in two different parts: during the first one which took place in Belluno we had the chance to introduce our mates to our wonderful Dolomiti landscapes, our local delicacies and our traditions, letting them become part of our daily lives; in the second part we flew to our mates' homeland and we ourselves became visitors in their places. Where . . . . we shared with our exchange
went by really fast! I tried to plan as much as we could as a family, but really most of it was the kids planning that morning what they wanted to do (teenagers are not good at planning ahead…haha!). We stuck to our normal schedule and Gio went with the flow on activities, meal times, what we ate - we LOVED introducing him to new foods he had never had….peanut butter was his favorite!!
I can’t say enough good things about this experience and the program!!
Bend-Belluno short term cross-cultural exchange has been successful in introducing high school juniors to a different culture and a “wider world view”. Over the past four years, 35 students have participated in this unique cross-cultural exchange that has at its center a reciprocal and equal relationship.
mate and our host family the various moments of everyday life, being treated as part of an extended family."
Maria continues " "During the long time we spent with each other there were obviously ups and downs, however the moments of struggling turned out to be crucial to everyone's growth path, both on a personal and cultural level". We encourage you to read Maria full report at the bottom of this page.
One direct benefit, that we see every year is the friendship and new cultural knowledge that the students have gained with their six week shared summer experience. And a strong indirect benefit is the relationship that the host parents quickly develop and maintain with the exchange student. We are seeing that students have developed lifelong friendships often with their matched student but sometimes even stronger with host parents, brothers/sisters.
The Bend-Belluno short term cross-cultural exchange is a collaborative effort between the Bella Bend Beautiful Belluno sister city organizations and the Rotary Clubs of Bend and Belluno.
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