Bend Belluno Sister Cities Cultural Exchange

BEN ARRIVATA                   DI                       EVENTI                       SCAMBI                   METTE IN EVIDENZA              CONTATTO


Laurel and Jesse


“I always think of the time on the exchange as a really beautiful time in my life.”  
“Time of growth as well as learning to have faith in myself and what I could do.  My host sister was Haley and my host parents are Eric and Karen Tobiason and I continue to enjoy talking with Haley and her family.
“The exchange program taught me to have patience even in difficult situations because it is not easy to get along always” (particularly when you don’t speak the same language and you are in a different culture!)   
“Currently I’m studying philosophy in Venice, a city with many tourists.  The thing about our exchange program is that it could make people realize there is another way of having a journey and another way to travel the world; which is not taking pictures and going to as many places as fast as possible; there is another way, it is about meeting the locals, it's getting to know a the city and its culture.”


“I had the opportunity to spend 2 months in Bend as part of the summer exchange.  I was first hosted by Jenn and Mark Roberts and my host sister was Mallory.  Then I stayed and waas host hosted by Ryan and Sandy Shaffer and their son Alex.  During this time I had the opportunity to spend much time with Anna Pollino.  Anna took us to San Francisco and Portland.”
“It was really a beautiful experience opening my mind to opportunities and realizing how many things we have in common and also the many things I didn’t know about Bend and America.” 
“When Mallory came to Belluno for 3 weeks and we did many fun things going to Venice, for the day the lakes and Dolomites and activities with other kids and had a good time getting to know each other.  Mallory and I had a really great time together and we are in contact even now.   
“I’m currently at University of Trento and this Rotary experience has opened up opportunities for international travel experiences.” 
“A very rich experience.”


​Belluno, Italy and Bend, Oregon USA


When I got to BendI I was welcomed by the Wilkinson’s who had 2 girls about my age.  Staying with Wilkinson’s was fun as they were super friendly and nice and we continue to keep in touch.   They come to Italy often so I get to enjoy my exchange family when the Wilkinsons stay in Belluno.”
“The exchange was amazing in that in less than a month I was thinking of Wilkinsons as a second family and to know that, you will always be able to have a home on the other side of the world.  It was Impossible for me to say goodbye.”
These experiences opened up the mind even more.  Even as Bend and Belluno are similar, amazing landscapes, mountains, water, rivers at the same time such different food, culture and lifestyle.  As a host I got  to know Belluno, my home city as a different city, I now see Belluno with different eyes.”


As a host for two exchange students Laurel has learned “it is the things you don’t plan for in life that work out the best, that was the case with our hosting.  The second time we hosted, the host family in Bend wasn’t able to complete their obligation to host.  So that year with just a couple of days notice we had an unplanned experience, but this is the family we stay in touch with.  Matteo had a most meaningful and memorable experience in Bend.  We got to enjoy the experience getting to know Belluno through our guest and we were able to share our culture.”


Exchange was partially meaningful for Jesse first on a personal level, “as an only child I got to have a brother. Still some of my fondest memories are the two of us going out to explore our communities, not always high adventure, or white water rafting or hiking the Dolomites but just the little things like a lazy morning breakfast at home.”
“It's an experience I’d do a million times.  Belluno is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and I got to experience it in so many ways.  I could recommend it highly and am looking forward to going back once I’m out of university.  And echoing my mom, the things you don’t plan for can have the most lasting memory.”


“After the Bend-Belluno summer exchange program I won’t settle for just taking pictures of major tourist spots but rather want to meet the people where I travel.  Having this experience so young in my life was amazing.  The experiences I had in Italy opened me up to so much.  Growth and a wider understanding of the world, which I got by being deeply involved in Belluno.”
“Rotary’s summer Short Term Exchange program is probably the best shining example of Rotary’s commitment to International understanding and goodwill.”
“The time I spent with my exchange sister and her family in Italy were some of the best adventures imaginable, her dad was so great about taking us places.”
“Beyond the Bend-Belluno exchange I’ve been involved with Interact and RYLA.  I was able to attend a Rotary Peace conference and was involved with Rotary while a student at University of Oregon.”