Most people know that Rotary Clubs are key contributors in their communities but many don’t know they also foster international relationships in their Youth Exchange Program.
Tuesday, two of those youth told WIlliston Rotary Club members about their summer of awareness thanks to Rotary Club International.
Caleb Smith of Trenton spent three weeks in Germany this summer with the family of Johannes Schockenhoff.
His mother, Christine, said she wanted her son to experience Europe as one who lives there rather than as a tourist.
While living with the Schockenhoffs, Caleb was able to see France and actually live in a monastery for several days. “We pretty much did what the monks did,” he said.
Johannes was still in school for a portion of the time, and Caleb was able to bike and take the train to see southern Germany.
“The biggest difference,” he said, “is age. Everything is so much older there.” He also noted that Germans tend to eat less meat, more bread and have the best chocolate.
Johannes is ending his three-week exchange to Florida this week. His first observations were how hot it is here and he understands why Americans have air conditioning in their cars.
He concurred when asked that Americans seem to do everything on a grander scale than Europeans and said he was surprised how little spare time American teenagers have. The school day is a little more than four hours in his town and extracurricular activities don’t overwhelm many students.
Eating out is rare, he said, adding that he has enjoyed discovering American burgers because they are better than back home.