My interest began my sophomore year of high school when a presentation was given in our spanish class about an organization by the name of Amigos de las Americas. This organization worked to send high school students on trips abroad to less fortunate areas of various SouthAmerican countries during the summer to live as a part of their host family and help improve the community through leading volunteer projects. I Attended a meeting regarding this program but then shortly shied away from it when I didn't see too much enthusiasm from my mom.
But i just wasn't satisfied, i had to study abroad some way or another. As my year progressed i heard rumors of a friend studying abroad in Chile. A few nights later i was on the phone with her asking her what program she was studying with and all the details she knew. As i listened to her describe it, I knew it was the one i wanted to be a part of. It was in my price range, it was a full year long and a couple friends were already doing it! She told me it went by the name of Rotary International Youth Exchange. She gave me the website and that night i was already telling my parents all about it.
Of course the reaction i got from my parents was an immediate no. They wouldn't let me be gone for so long, they said it was to expensive. Right away i jumped on it, i called the program found out more information, got the application going and planned a meeting with a district chair (to help convince my parents). With a little help from my parents i was able to whip together the intensive application in no time, the meeting proved to be great. (I later became good friends and have a close connection with the district chair, Judy Levine)
I soon heard i was accepted and that i would be a part of their program. At this point you could still opt out and I hadn't locked my parents in yet. So i Just kept going and before you knew it I had my country assignment of Mexico. Now I had to make the decision if I was going to do it or not, and luckily my long hours or nagging my parents about it payed off, I was in! We payed the initial fee and officially said we wanted to take part in Rotary Youth Exchange.
Conferences started, and more paper work came our way. I started meeting with my sponsoring club and then one day in my inbox i found an email from Sinai Banco-Vargas, who's family i quickly learned would be hosting me in the city of Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico.
by this time school was out and my mind couldn't go anywhere but my future trip abroad. more work to be done and things to be figured trickled our way and we dealt with them as they came. Another conference in Michigan came and went with unbelievable memories and new friendships.
Everything began to fall into place, because i had made it, i was now and for ever a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.
I thought it was to expensive, I thought it was too much work, I thought I couldn't handle another language, I thought I couldn't leave for that long, I thought my parents wouldn't let me. I thought a lot of things, but I never thought I'd be leaving in a few weeks to live in another country for an entire year.