Searching for students to study abroad

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October 28, 2014 9:04 AM

The Rotary Clubs of Lloydminster are once again looking for high school student candidates to send overseas for a year of study.

The program, dubbed the Rotary Youth Exchange, will see one Lloydminster and area student switching off with a foreign student in a year-long cross-cultural learning experience; however, the Rotary Clubs of Lloydminster are having trouble securing a candidate this year.

“If we don’t find someone, this will be the first year in many years that we haven’t sent someone out,” said Candace Odishaw, president of the Border City Rotary Club. “We’re actually having difficult this year, finding a candidate.”

In consequence, the Rotary Clubs are reaching to Lloydminster and its surrounding communities for an academically successful student.

“Unfortunately, students with very low marks aren’t going to be strong candidates,” said Odinshaw.

The age requirement for the trip is 15, but the candidate must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1998, putting them in Grade 10 or 11.

“That makes them fairly young now, but they don’t go until next year. So they have a year process of training and mentoring themselves,” she said.

As for the selection of countries to visit, the Rotary Club has about 20 lined up as options for the successful candidate. As part of the application process, students will send in a top-10 list of countries they’d like to visit and the Rotary Clubs will accommodate them according to their preferences; however, the Rotary Clubs will ultimately choose which country the student will visit.

With that, however, Odishaw said that she’s “never had a student in all my years of doing this that has been disappointed with the country that they’ve gone to.”

“We will interview the applicants and choose our nominee. Then that nominee must proceed to complete a detailed application for the (Rotary Club) district.”

Then come August 2015, the student will board a plane and enjoy a year of study abroad. They will return at the end of their school year in 2016. “All students that go are just thrilled with the experience,” said Odishaw.

Leading up to and throughout the trip, support will be given by the Rotary Clubs in Lloydminster. Half of the trip will be covered by the Rotary Clubs, and a weekly allowance will be given to the successful candidate. The rest of the costs are left to the parents of the student.

“It’s not like we’re just pushing them off into the world and saying, ‘OK, good luck,’” said Odishaw. “Every month, we are in constant contact. And then there are lots of opportunities for them to travel, depending on the country they go to. So you have further opportunity within in the opportunity.”

Requirements for the application include the student’s most recent transcript, as of June. In order to apply, contact Odishaw through the Rotary Club’s website at portal.clubrunner.ca/473, or over the phone at (780) 522-7241. An application can also be filled out through the website.

It should be noted, however, that the year taken to study abroad will not count toward the chosen student’s high school diploma, and therefore, when the student comes back to Canada, they must complete the year they missed.

“It’s difficult for students to realize that they have to redo their year when they get back from the exchange,” said Odishaw.

“But when will you have this opportunity again?”

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