Welcome BBQ

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                                            

                                                                                                  Belluno, Italy
                                                                                                  September 2017

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,

Tyler, Gio and Judi

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


Bend Belluno Sister Cities Cultural 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!!

 The  Summer Vacation - That Lasts a Life Time

2017 Youth Exchange

Ciao For Now - in Bend

BEN ARRIVATA                   DI                       EVENTI                       SCAMBI                   METTE IN EVIDENZA              CONTATTO

Welcome Pizza

Trip to the Dolomites

Belluno Plaque Celebration


White water Rafting on the Deschutes River