In just a few short weeks our family will say “good bye” to the first foreign exchange student we have welcomed into our family. Our story is one of “firsts”, as Bella Ramirez is also Hutchinson Rotary’s first foreign exchange student. Before this year, the Rotary club in Hutchinson had not participated in the student exchange program. Thanks to Juanita Estrada’s determination, all the paperwork and preparations were done in time to receive Bella at the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year.
Isabella, or Bella as she likes to be called, is from Brazil. She is a 17 year old senior at Hutchinson High School and has been a wonderful ambassador for Brazil, Rotary, and foreign exchange programs alike. Bella’s enthusiasm for family, school, music, and extracurricular activities has been amazing. Because Rotary’s exchange program is a little different from other programs, Bella will have the opportunity to experience three different host families during her stay.
We were Bella’s second host family, and it has been an awesome experience for us and our young children. We were lucky to get to share our holiday traditions with Bella, as well as bring her to walk on her first “frozen lake” and see her first buffalo. She often states that the snow is very pretty, even though the rest of us can’t muster as much enthusiasm about the miserable winter byproduct….. She has shared her traditions with us too, cooking us Brazilian foods and helping us close a gap between two very different cultures.
If you are considering hosting a foreign exchange student or are interested in learning more about Rotary’s program, please contact Steve at email@example.com.